Story of the great wildebeest migration

What is Great wildebeest Migration?

During the great wildebeest migration, millions of wildebeest cross the Serengeti Masai Mara ecosystem every year together with hundreds of thousands of zebras. They do this in search for the best food and water due to the changing seasons. Whenever a term migration is mentioned, what comes to mind of a safari enthusiast is millions of wildebeests crossing the Mara River infested with the giant-hungry Nile crocodiles. It’s always a spectacular marvel that has always been happening for hundreds of years.

When does the great wildebeest migration happen?

The migration is a yearly cycle which starts in January all the way to December when the cycle starts all over again in January. The migration begins in southern Serengeti.

Where and when is the best time to go during the great wildebeest Migration?

January – March

Calving Season: Starting on Mid December or January all the way to March. This is the time wildebeest give birth. It’s is estimated 8000 births per day. The southern Serengeti experiences its first rains which makes it a better time for mothers to give birth since the rates if survival is higher.

Why do wildebeest prefer giving birth in south Serengeti? Well south Serengeti is enriched with high levels of calcium and magnesium which assist in milk production. Also, the grass is fresh and short which makes it easy for the mothers to spot any potential danger from predators.

Place to be: Southern Serengeti in Tanzania

Is this good time to go? Yes. Calving season happening in Southern Serengeti is a wonderful experience. The sheer numbers of the wildebeest as well as predators hunting this creatures gives you far more exciting experience.

Accommodation Choices from our Experts for the Great wildebeest migration from January – March:

      Lake Ndutu Luxury Tented Lodge (Serengeti)

  • Eco friendly luxury lodge
  • 20 well-appointed tents sitting beneath the giant Acacia trees
  • Excellent views of Lake Ndutu

     Kusini Camp (Serengeti)

  • A permanent camp
  • Stunning open plan en suite tents with private verandas
  • Overlook the grassy plains ideal to see the calving season right on its doorstep.

     Kati Kati Tented Camp (Serengeti)

  • An intimate camp with10 classic en suite safari tents
  • Meals served in the gorgeous ‘Mess Tent’
  • Camp fire.
  • Only 2 hour safari drive to the famous Olduvai Gorge Museum

April – May

Long-rains onset and Mating Season: Due to lack of rains, wildebeest herds start moving to the central part of the Serengeti looking for fresh grass. They split up in big groups with some heading to the Western Corridor near Lake Victoria as others are left in the Central and North Central Serengeti nearby the Seronera River. During this time, the wildebeest start to mate again. A wildebeest has a gestation period of up to 9 months.

Places to be: Western Corridor , Central and North Central Serengeti in Tanzania

Is this good time to go? Not really. There are many hindrances such as long grass which makes game viewing difficult. Animals are scattered. However the positive for traveling during this time is it’s cheaper because there are no many travelers and accommodation rates are low.

Accommodation Choices from our Experts for the Great wildebeest migration from April – May:

Serengeti Serena Lodge (Serengeti)

  • Sits adjacent to the Western Corridor and Grumeti River
  • Natural landscape
  • A sparkling pool that looks out across the Serengeti plains

Serengeti Sopa Lodge (Serengeti)

  • Located in the South-western Serengeti
  • Local furnishings adorn the 69 rooms
  • Private verandas
  • Perfect game viewing site

Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp (Serengeti)

  • Has 16 spacious luxury tents
  • Located in Western Serengeti
  • Offers a more intimate safari experience

June – mid July

Grumeti River crossing: The migratory herds are now split. Majority of the herds are in Western Corridor of the Serengeti near the Grumeti River, while some cross the crocodile infested river. The crossing gives you an amazing view.

Some of the large herds can be found in the North Central Serengeti en-route to Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara. You can see long lines of millions of the wildebeest heading towards the north.

Places to be:  Grumeti River and North Central Serengeti

Is this good time to go? Absolutely! Mostly you should visit the north of the Serengeti. The herds spend the last few weeks here before taking an odyssey north to Kenya.

Accommodation Choices from our Experts for the Great wildebeest migration from June – mid-July

Grumeti River Camp (Serengeti)

  • 10 luxurious tented rooms
  • Set on raised wooden platforms
  • Spacious tents
  • Quiet private terraces looking out onto the Grumeti River
  • Home to many resident hippos!

Ikoma Bush Camp (Serengeti)

  • Located near the boundary of the Serengeti
  • Perfectly placed in the path of the migrating wildebeests
  • Made of 35 traditional Meru tents
  • Comfortable accommodation with large camp fire making it a perfect place to unwind at the end of the day and enjoy a bia baridi (cool beer

Migration Camp (Serengeti)

  • Nestled among rocky outcrops
  • 20 beautiful elevated tents each with 360-degree verandahs
  • Located on the banks of the Grumeti River
  • Has a split-level lounge, outdoor swimming pool and restaurant.

Mid July – October

The Mara crossing: Some small herds will cross to Masai Mara by late June or early July. The large herds take a little bit and cross to Masai Mara in August. The wildebeest crosses the Mara river from Serengeti to Masai Mara to feed on the lush grass. The herds take various crossing points of the Mara river. This is not an easy feat for the crossing herds because of the slippery and steep banks as well as the hungry Nile crocodiles. Many die by drowning rather than dying in the jaws of the crocodiles. Despite all these obstacles, majority actually make it unscathed.

Places to be: Masai Mara and North of Serengeti

Is this good time to go? The migration is at its prime. Good time to be at the Mara river. The busiest months to witness the crossing is between August and October.

Accommodation Choices from our Experts for the Great wildebeest migration from mid July – October:

Little Governors Camp (Masai Mara)

  • Intimate yet luxurious
  • 17 beautiful tents encircle a large watering hole crowded with wildlife and birds

Elephant Pepper Camp (Masai Mara)

  • Ultimate luxury eco-lodge
  • Surrounded by pristine wilderness
  • Perfect place for game viewing
  • Just 9 tents adorn this beautiful location

Karen Blixen Camp (Masai Mara)

  • Located in the Oloisuk Concession
  • Eco-friendly camp
  • A perfect luxury retreat for a trip to the Masai Mara
  • Large stylish tents, perfectly placed with remarkable views of the Mara River – where the real migration action happens!

November – December

After spending some time in Masai Mara, the herds of wildebeest accompanied by thousands of zebras head back south to Tanzania. Tanzania areas witness short rains. The circle of life is almost complete as the wildebeest begin to return to the mineral rich short grassed plains of the southern Serengeti where it starts all over with the calving season.

Places to be: South of Serengeti

Is this good time to go? Not really a good time. The grass is long and it’s hard to view the game.

Accommodation Choices from our Experts for the Great wildebeest migration from mid July – October

Kleins Camp (Serengeti

  • Looking out from the Kuka Hills
  • Offers fantastic views across the endless plains of the Serengeti
  • 10 stone thatched cottages make up this stunning camp all with private verandas
  • A refreshing outdoor pool perfect for cooling down in

Seronera Wildlife Lodge(Serengeti)

Located in the heart of the Serengeti

  • Perfect place to witness the migration
  • Rooms are decorated in an authentic African style
  • Delicious meals and a great sundowners bar with magnificent views across the Serengeti.

Ronjo Camp – (Serengeti)

  • Located in the beautiful Banagi Valley
  • 16 permanent tents each with remarkable private views across the Serengeti plains
  • A restaurant, bar and open fire place

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