The Great Migration

Great MigrationClick to enlarge

Most visitors to Tanzania are attracted by the opportunity to witness one of Nature’s most incredible phenomenons – the Great Migration. This is one of our planet’s most spectacular wildlife events and it can be seen in Northern Tanzania and Kenya. 

Here we have put together a guide to the movement of the Great Migration within Tanzania and which locations are best to view it according to the time of year, and which camps / lodges we would recommend.

 

The Great Migration is the largest and longest over-land migration and is one of the Wonders of the Natural World. Over 1.5 million wildebeest - and 200000 zebra and gazelle - move in vast herds in an unending 2000 kilometer cycle within the Serengeti and Maasai Mara ecosystems. Their constant quest for fresh grasses keeps them on this eternal journey of life, chasing the rains over this huge area of open plains and woodland and across obstacles such as fast-flowing rivers.

This profusion of plains game attracts predators such as hyenas and the Big Cats, so game-viewing is particularly rewarding.

 

Where to Stay

We offer a vast range of permanent or mobile camps and lodges in many locations across Tanzania to ensure that our guests are in the heart of the action, whatever time of year they choose to visit.

The mobile tented camps offer an unrivalled wilderness experience and these are located close to the herds at any time of year. For those who prefer luxury over adventure, there are permanent lodges in superb locations for exhilarating game drives.

 

Below we have outlined the general cycle of the Great Migration, and some great camps and lodges (and tours) to consider according to the time of year. Please note that wildebeest and their exact travel plans are unpredictable, they have been known to take unexpected routes and to even turn back on themselves, but this can be used as a general guide.

 

December to March

This time of year sees the wildebeest gather around Lake Ndutu to the south of the Serengeti. Here, half a million calves are born and the herds are spread throughout the vast Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Ngorongoro Crater are highlights of any visit to Tanzania, and visitors are rewarded with remarkable wildlife spectacles as well as interesting archaeological sites at "The Cradle of Mankind".

Great Migration Click to enlargeLion cubs near Lemala Ndutu

Great choices of accommodation at this time include:

Tours that include this area are:

 

April to July

At the start of this period the wildebeest migrate northwards into the grassy plains of the Southern Serengeti . From late May the Migration herds tend to split, some heading West into the Western Corridor and crossing the Grumeti River – this is one of the best locations to witness the herds making a perilous river-crossing through crocodile infested waters.  They then start arriving into the Kogatende area in July. 

The other herds head directly up through Central Serengeti passing Seronera and on to the Bologonja River area near the Loliondo reserve. 

Great choices of accommodation at this time include:

Great Migration Click to enlargeOlakira Safari Camp

Western Corridor (Grumeti):

Central & Southern Serengeti:

Tours that include this area are:

 

August to November

From late July to October, the main herds of over one million wildebeest, and thousands of eland, Thompson’s gazelle and Burchell’s zebra are in the Northern Serengeti as well as across the Kenyan border in the Maasai Mara National Reserve - another world renowned prime location for spectacular sights as they venture across the Mara River.  
 
In late October and November, the herds head south through Central Serengeti, and by early December, they are returning to the fertile Ndutu plains to calve in February and March after which they swing around to head north again.  From here the endless cycle begins once more.
 
The Loita Migration - Masai Mara, Kenya
The Serengeti-Mara migration is not the only chance visitors have of seeing the spectacle of herds of herbivores across the vast savannahs of the Maasai Mara. A migration of between 300,000 and 500,000 zebra and wildebeest arrives in Ol Kinyei Conservancy from the Loita Plains, which is located northeast of the Reserve, between June and July. With predator populations within the conservancies growing, guests are sure to have a true safari experience with fewer crowds and enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes that the conservancies of the Maasai Mara ecosystem have to offer.
 
Great choices of accommodation at this time include:
 

Great Migration Click to enlargeLemala Kuria Hills Lodge

Northern Serengeti:

Tours that include this area are:

Accommodation / tours for the Loita Migration in Masai Mara (Kenya):

 

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