Great Wildebeest Migration

It is one of the most spectacular and breathtaking events in the world.
A dream for many to witness this incredible natural wonder.

We are referring to the annual Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, which sees hundreds of thousands wild animals on the move to chase the rains in their epic struggle for survival.

The great trek is joined by more than 1 million wildebeests, 200,000 zebras and about 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles. In an endless cycle they migrate clockwise across the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara in Kenya, covering 800 to 1000 kilometers annually. Being tracked by African’s big predators and meeting many obstacles on their way, it is a tough and relentless quest in search for better grass and fresh water.

Zebras and wildebeest graze harmoniously, each eating different parts of the same type of grass. As the wildebeest do not have a natural leader, the migrating herd can split up into smaller groups and covering a big part of the Serengeti. Yet, when there is a dangerous hurdle to cross, they tend to congregate again.

Planning a safari

Planning a safari to witness the Great Migration can sometimes be tricky, as you have to be at the right place in the right time. To get the most out of your trip we have listed down when to go, a Migration Guide month by month, including a clear Serengeti map with the predicted route and recommended areas to stay for the best migration experience.

Also view our sample safaris such as the Safari Serengeti Migration for more inspiration for your private safari.

Are you ready for the most sensational show on earth?

The Migration - when to go?

Every month has its own unique wildlife sightings. From December up till March the herd resides in the south of Serengeti National Park and northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. February is ‘calving month’ with an estimated 8,000 calves being born per day. It is unforgettable to see the vulnerable young ones trying to stand on their feet. At the same time, hungry lions and leopards are never far away as they prey on an easy meal.

Around April and May, as the southern plains dry out, the herds of wildebeest begin to move. You will be able to find them flooding through Moru Kopjes and west of Seronera as they begin their journey to the north to chaise the rains. The wildebeest will be joined by many zebras and Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles. It is also in the western part where they encounter their first river crossings: the Mbalageti River and Grumeti River.

July and August are generally the best months to witness the dramatic river crossing at the Mara, in the far north. The migration remains in northern Serengeti and Masai Mara National Reserve till the end of October or November and then moves again to the south, making the circle complete.

However, even when the big herd is found in the north, wildlife remains abundant in other parts as there are many ‘resident’ animals who prefer to stay where they are, instead of to follow the migration.


Credit: Carel Verhoef, Great Migration Camps

Fast Facts about the Migration

  • The Great Migration is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet
  • Although the migrating animals cross borders, most of the movement takes place in Tanzania
  • Over 1.4 million wildebeest migrate
  • 200,000 zebras join the migration
  • And 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles take part in the journey as well
  • Over 500,000 tiny wildebeest dot the plains in February
  • During the calving season 8,000 young ones are being born every day
  • Wildebeest are born to run; the newborn ones are able to run with the herd just 5 minutes after birth
  • Each animal covers about 800-1000 kilometers in a circular trek
  • Wildebeest have an incredible sense of smell for water and can easily find a water source
  • Zebras help the wildebeest to remember the course of the migration and to watch out for hungry predators
  • Every year almost 300,000 wildebeest and zebras don’t survive the migration due to being attacked by carnivores but also because of thirst, hunger or exhaustion

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