With some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle making the annual round trip, no wonder the Great Migration from Tanzania’s Serengeti to the Maasai Mara in Kenya is nature’s greatest spectacle. The herds make the 1,200-mile oval circuit with two things in mind: food and water and along the way many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.
The Great Migration’s mind-boggling scope and raw beauty are on full display throughout the year beginning in Tanzania with the wildebeest tending to congregate in February where the birth of some 300,000 calves takes place. When the grass dries up the herds start to migrate North towards the Grumeti and Serengeti National Parks then culminate in the explosive river crossings as the migration hits the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in August or September. These are completely unpredictable so you will either need loads of patience or if you’re lucky, you may witness three or four high-drama crossings in one day with the feast-or-famine crocs licking their chops for four months of the year. The herds then turn the corner and head back toward the Serengeti, as the rainy season starts in Tanzania between October and December.
While often unpredictable and not a perfect science, the typical movements of the herds are illustrated in this interactive map, which also shows the locations of camps in each area.
Experience the migration from the heart of the iconic Serengeti or in your own luxury mobile camp situated deep inside the Massai Mara Game Reserve. Float above it in an early morning hot air balloon safari or driving through the centre of herds of wildebeest, some thousands strong, in your own private 4×4 vehicle. Whichever way you choose to experience it, add the migration to your bucket list, it is not to be missed.
Great Wildebeest Migration – A Guide