The Great Wildebeest Migration


One of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the Great Migration is the ever-moving circular migration of over a million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. The constant movement of columns of wildebeest, joined by a host of companions, follow an age-old route in search of grazing and water. After calving in the southern part of Tanzania’s Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the animals journey through the Serengeti up and around in a clockwise direction towards the Masai Mara in Kenya, before returning once again near the end of the year. Along the way, high drama is always present, as thousands of animals are taken by predators and thousands more are born, replenishing the numbers and sustaining the circle of life.


Form the bulk of the migration, being numerous. They prefer short grasses but they do eat tall grasses, especially after these have been “trimmed” by Zebra and Buffalo. They thrive on the new shoots of grasses.

The Great Migration Seasons

You can see the Great Migration at any time of year. It is possible to look at historic migration patterns to predict where the herds will be at a particular time, but ultimately these are wild animals and the annual rainfall they rely on to stimulate grass growth is becoming more unpredictable. Safari camps that lie all along the migration route, proving our guests with the best opportunity to see the migration up close when on safari.

  • Dec / Jan :– The Southern Plains are lush with fresh, sweet grasses for the wildebeest to graze on. The areas around Ndutu and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area are where the herds will spend some time enjoying the abundant grazing in preparation for the birth of the new calves.
  • February :– Between late January and mid-March over 80% of fertile female wildebeest drop their calves within a few weeks of each other. Over 500,000 tiny wildebeest dot the plains and the predators swoop in to feast on the easy prey.
  • March :– At this time, the wildebeest are still occupying the southern area of the Park but preparing to move north as the plains dry out.
  • April :– The wildebeest begin their long trek north, through the central area of the park. The herds move at leisure, grazing as they go along.
  • May :– The impressive columns of wildebeest up to several kilometers long can be seen flooding the Moru Kopjes in the central area of the park.
  • First half of June :– Large concentrations of wildebeest can be seen on the southern banks of the Grumeti River in the Western Serengeti, ready to face their first challenge of crossing the crocodile infested river.
  • July :– The migration gathers momentum and huge herds of wildebeest can be seen spread out across the Western corridor as they continue the journey north. The first herds will begin to arrive in the North in early July.
  • August – As the dry season approaches, the wildebeest face the second challenge of their trek: the Great Mara River. Many will perish but the thousands of calves that are born more than make up the numbers.
  • September – The herds are mostly concentrated in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the northernmost range of the trek, but many still remain in the Serengeti.
  • October – The wildebeest face the swollen waters of the Mara River for the second time as they cross on their journey back south.
  • November – The short rains arrive, propelling the wildebeest down south to the rejuvenated grasses of the Serengeti.

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