The Great Migration

One of the Seven New Wonders of the World.

The Great Migration is one of the world’s most incredible natural occurrences. Every year, nearly 1.5 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra make the long trek North from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains to Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

The Grumeti Crossing

You won’t fail to be awestruck by the sight of hundreds of animals gathering on the plains or crowding to cross the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya, braving the crocodiles who lie in wait.

Predator Heaven

These huge herds are followed by Africa’s most impressive hunters – lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs – who eagerly watch for the right moment to pick off the young, old, weak and tired.

Best Time

The Migration is always moving. In August to October the animals can be found in Kenya, while for the rest of the year the excitement takes place in Tanzania. Our favourite time to visit is June/July.

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Seeing a wildebeest river crossing during the migration is a once in a lifetime experience for most of us, and you want to get it right. You want to be in the right place at the right time, staying at the right camp.

Ben Nelson

THE MONTHLY MIGRATORY PATTERNS

Due to varying weather conditions and other such factors, the Migration can differ in its location at any time of the year. However a general prediction for the Migratory pattern month-by-month can be summarised as follows:

  • In January herds of the wildebeest are to be found in the southern Serengeti on the short-grass plains.
  • In February the Migration has spread out across the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti.
  • In March the Migration is now spread across southern Serengeti, Loliondo and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • In April the migrating herds start moving north through the areas of the Moru Kopjes and Seronera.
  • In May the Migration heads north through Seronera towards the Western Corridor.
  • In June the Migration collects in the area of the western corridor before crossing the Grumeti River.
Did you know?

Half a million wildebeest calves are born each year in the Southern Serengeti.

The biggest

The Great Migration is the longest and largest overland migration in the world.

Swarm intelligence

While having the appearance of a confused frenzy, recent research has shown a herd of wildebeest possesses what is known as ‘swarm intelligence’, where the animals systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one.

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  • In July the Migration continues to cross the Grumeti and across the Grumeti Reserve.
  • In August the Migration continues up into the far north-west of the Serengeti National Park.
  • In September wildebeest herds in the north of Serengeti National Park and in the Maasai Mara.
  • In October wildebeest grazing in the far north of the Serengeti - and across in the Mara.
  • In November the Migration starts its first trek south through Loliondo and via the eastern extremities of the Serengeti National Park.
  • In December the Migration arrives at the short-grass plains, in time for the rains.
Not all make it

The migration kills off around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra every year. This is the result of predation by carnivores, but also thirst, hunger, exhaustion as well as crushes and drownings in stampedes of nervous animals.

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Ben Nelson
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