Great Wildebeest Migration Tanzania
The great wildebeest migration is one of the most spectacular occurrences in the animal kingdom as millions of wildebeest, thousands of zebras, gazelles, and elands participate in a what is regarded all-year-round movement in search of water and green pasture and this is heavily attributed to the rain patterns in the greater Serengeti and Masai Mara eco-system.
The animals participate in two migration patterns across the Mara River and the Grumeti River.
Though there has been a lot of miss-conception regarding the migration our specialist Guides at Safari vacation and Travel services have drawn a Guide to the annual migration which can help clients to understand the potential time of the year where, when, and why the wildebeest will be and what to expect and this is done on the findings from the past few years as this has become a routine for the wildlife.
Guide to the Annual Wildebeest Migration
The guide to annual wildebeest migration is a summary of where the wildebeest are most likely to congregate in the either Masai Mara or Serengeti national park.
April-June (wildebeest rutting season)
April is usually a very slow month in the Serengeti as the wildebeest are coming off the calving season and the cows are busy looking after their calves as there is a high tension from the predators that are always targeting the young wildebeest as they are usually easy to kill compared to the Adults.
May the wildebeest cows go into oestrus forcing the bulls to start matting with them hence causing a very big fight among the bulls this can be an exciting time of the year to see the action-packed Serengeti and at the same time the wildebeest leave southern Serengeti and start making their journey towards Lake Ndutu and towards Grumeti river via the western corridor
June the wildebeest are still marching to the endless plains of the Serengeti as the water holes dry up and all the green grass is being mulched up and the short rains are in Masai mara and the wildebeest aim higher to cross via the Mara River.
July- October (The River crossing)
July is quite a tricky month during the circle of the wildebeest migration, this means that depending on the rains the wildebeest may start crossing early or late in July from Serengeti to Masai Mara.
August is an epic month during the wildebeest migration as the Serengeti plains are extremely dry and the herds aim for the green grass in the mara side and this is one of the best months to witness the migration however clients are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointments as the properties around the Mara river are fully booked.
In September the few more animals make their final journey to the Masai mara and they start to feed on the green grass in the mara plains before starting the second circle of the migration.
October (Survivors celebrate their success and the Non-survivors perish in the brown waters).
Usually, this is a happy ending period for the wildebeest that makes it during the Mara river crossing and the Masai Mara national reserve is spectacular for game viewing and usually, the area receives a good number of tourists please book I advance for the best safari experience.
November (Journey back to the Serengeti starts for the green grass)
In a ‘normal year’ the short rains have begun, propelling the wildebeest to leave the over mulched grasslands of the Masai Mara and back into the rejuvenated Serengeti and during this period the cows now start to approach the end of their gestation period and getting ready for the calving season. Bear in mind that the rain can be late or early, which is also unpredictable however you can ask our specialist on the state of the river crossing based on the information provided by the hard tracker.
December (the cows prepare for the calving season)
Fresh grazing sees the wildebeest clustered in the north-eastern Serengeti (around Lobo in particular), as well as the southern Serengeti. Calving begins again, the predators move in again, and the cycle of life begins all over again.
January (The pregnant cows are seen in southern Serengeti)
This month will see the wildebeest cows start to gather around the open plains of Sothern Serengeti as they are preparing for the calving season.
February-March (wildebeest calving season).
This is one of the most spectacular times of the year to be in Serengeti as an estimated 7000 calves are born daily and at least half a million calves are born within a 3-4 weeks period and this is not the only scene witnessed but a large number of predators are attracted in the same time and this is the time of the year where you can see the biggest concentration of predators and wildebeest in the world in a same given area.
When to book a Wildebeest Migration Safari
The annual migration usually takes place at the same time as the summer holidays and this can attract large numbers of tourists to both Serengeti and the Masai Mara so travelers are advised to book the safari at least one year in Advance in order to secure the best places to stay.
Why book a Wildebeest Migration Safari
Being regarded as one of the spectacles on earth, the great wildebeest migration is one of the most popular safari attractions in east Africa alongside gorilla tracking in Rwanda and Uganda and you can easily combine the two for more information please speak to our expert safari consultants to assist you in planning the safari.
Tips to planning a Wildebeest Migration safari
- July and August are very hot and dusty in the Serengeti please ensures you bring sun blog and some drinks to mix in order to avoid dehydration.
- Video cameras and long lens cameras may come handy during the river crossing.
- If possible hire a private car for extra comfort if you’re staying at the migration camps that usually do schedule game drives.
- August would be your best bet to see the river crossing.
- Balloon safaris are spectacular in the Serengeti.
- Always make sure you have enough drinking water and snacks in the car during the game drives.
The Best time to see the wildebeest migration
The best time to witness the wildebeest migration is the month of August and September and those wanting to see the wildebeest calving season may look out for mid-February and March.
How to get to Serengeti for National park
By Car — Most visitors traveling by road enter the Serengeti through Naabi Hill Gate, which lies in the south-eastern part of the park. Were you to drive straight through from Arusha (not recommended), the 325km (202-mile) drive would take 7 to 8 hours; the flight takes just more than an hour. Naabi Gate is about 2 hours from Ngorongoro, 4 hours from Lake Manyara, and 6 1/2 hours from Tarangire.
By Plane — There are airstrips throughout the park, allowing visitors to fly within easy reach of whichever camp or lodge they have booked. Kusini and Ndutu airstrips are located in the south; Seronera airstrip is in the center; Lobo, Kleins, and Kogatende serve the north; and Grumeti and Sasakwa airstrips serve the Western Corridor.
Where to stay during the wildebeest migration
There are many places to stay in Serengeti but here some of the comfortable places to stay while on safari in the Serengeti
- Salas camp
- Serengeti Simba Lodge
- Lemala Nanyukie lodge
- Sayari camp