Natural phenomena occur all over the world, but few can compete with the annual Masai Mara/Serengeti wildebeest migration. The numbers alone are hard to believe: up to two million animals – wildebeest as well as zebra and gazelles – move clockwise around this enormous ecosystem, driven by ancient instincts to find fresh grazing and water.
One of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the Great Migration is the ever-moving circular migration of over a million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. The ever-moving columns of wildebeest, joined by a host of companions, follow an age-old route in search of grazing and water. This journey takes them across the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya, all the way south into Tanzania, through the Serengeti to the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, before circling up and around in a clockwise direction. Along the way, high drama is always present, as thousands of animals are taken by predators, and thousands more are born, replenishing the numbers and sustaining the circle of life.
It’s a drama on a truly epic scale: the migrating herds undergo all manner of challenges and hardships as they move from region to region, and are constantly under attack from predators, none more so than from Africa’s big cats and the notoriously huge crocodiles that lie in wait at various river crossing points.
The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala. These move in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water.
The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year – here we explain how the broad pattern works.
This migration, month by month, is shown on the map below – the moving red represents the main herds.
You’ll need to plan your visit carefully: the wildebeest migration is a fluid, dynamic affair taking place between two countries – Kenya and Tanzania – and subject to the timing of that year’s rains. It’s also an event of different experiences: depending on where you are and at what time, you may see the wildebeest herds giving birth and courting, moving in great dusty columns, or funneling across muddy rivers.
There’s plenty of well-located accommodation both in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti to enable you to experience the migration, and nearly all scheduled tours and safaris to either country include excursions into the two conservation areas.
For a faultless wildebeest migration safari, work with our African Safari Experts to create a tailor-made itinerary based on your requirements. Their knowledge and experience of the migration mean you’ll be in safe hands to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.