Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti
Best Time to Visit
The endless plains, serenity, infinite views and stunning wildlife in the Serengeti, make for an experience of a lifetime. The Serengeti is one of the few places in Africa where game viewing is spectacular year round. Of course, the Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the major attractions of the Serengeti, when millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle thunder across the savannah in search of fresh grass. If this Great Migration is the reason for your trip, it’s important to know where the herds are at which time of the year.
“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.”
December to March
The Southern Serengeti is the place to be at this time of the year. Between late January and March, half a million calves are born on the southern plains. It’s a chance to see a new beginning for the herd before they make their long journey to Maasai Mara. An amazing spectacle, but dramatic at the same time as predators wait for an opportunity to strike a weak prey. This is also a great time for bird lovers since many birds migrated from Europe to East Africa.
April to May
The herds head for the long grass plains of the central and western Serengeti. The long rains have started and the mating season begins. The wildebeest bulls become very noisy, territorial and active. They are in prime condition after months of eating nutrient-rich grass.
June to August
This is the beginning of the long dry season. The herds concentrate on the few remaining green areas of the savannah, reform and head further north. After four long months trekking, these animals are in desperate need of water to drink and grass to graze. The herds get ready for the toughest part of their journey: the river crossings. The wildebeest and zebra tend to grow into a mega-herd before crossing the Grumeti River. Although not quite as dramatic as the northern crossings, there’s plenty of drama in store as the river is full of crocodiles. The survivors continue to the northern Serengeti where an even worse challenge is in store – the Mara River. The herds must outsmart the huge Nile crocodiles and fast flowing water before facing predators waiting on the other side. It is an impressive and dramatic display of the food chain at work.
August to September
Depending on rainfall, the annual crossings of the Mara River can begin as early as June or as late as August. After the river crossings herds break up into smaller groups. Part of the group remains in the northern Serengeti while others will make their way to Kenya’s Masai Mara.
October to November
Most of the herds will begin making their way back south through the Serengeti in their search for juicy new grasses, as the rains begin to fall. To watch the wildebeest, head to the eastern side of the Serengeti and the central Seronera region.
Note. The Serengeti is one of the few places in Africa where game viewing is spectacular year round. Vast herds of grazers are ever present and predator numbers are high, with almost 3.500 lion in the area. The Big Five of Africa are also found in plenty here.