Everything you need to know about the Great Wildebeest Migration
When to see the Great Migration
When to see the migration
There is no single ‘migration season’ as the Great Migration is, in fact, an eternal annual cycle from place to place, year in and year out. However, depending on either the aspect of the Great Migration you want to witness (such as river crossings) or the time of year that you would like to travel, your safari can be tailored to give you the best chance of seeing what you desire.
Whether the great herds are calving in the south or on the move north in search of greener pastures – and then back again – So, there is a huge variety of astounding scenes unfolding before you.
Migration Seasons Enquire Now and start planning your ultimate safari holiday .
January – March: The Calving Continues The herds congregate on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and westernmost regions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. So, akjn estimated 500 000 calves are born during a two- to three-week window in February. This mass calving draws a staggering number of predators eager to prey on the vulnerable newborns.
- 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 into 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 to mid-June: The Trek North and The Rut As the rains come to an end and the ground dries, the herds start making their way north into the central Serengeti where the grass is still fresh and they can graze and tend their young. Moving slowly, they graze as they go, making the most of the fresh grass. Mating season begins and the male wildebeest do fierce battle for a mate. Throughout the rut, the journey continues as some herds head west into the Western Corridor and cross the Grumeti River.
- April – The wildebeest begin their long trek north, through the central area of the park. So, 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.
- The 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.
Mid-June to November: River Crossings The herds head towards the north of the Serengeti. The river crossings, considered by some to be the most exciting events of the Great Migration, usually start in July, but timing all depends on the rains. The herds are in the Northern Serengeti as well as in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Daily river crossings we see at the Mara and Talek rivers – both often central to highly dramatic scenes. Later, the herds usually cross back to the Serengeti from the Mara and head towards the now fertile southern Serengeti. Moreover, the herds travel fast and cover long distances in a single day. By the beginning of December, Ndutu starts seeing the herds return to the calve, and the whole process begins again.
- July – Furthermore, 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 concentrates in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the northernmost range of the trek, but many still remain in the Serengeti.
- October – Furthermore, 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.
December: The Calving Begins The herds congregate on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and northernmost regions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. An estimated 500 000 calves are born during a two- to the three-week window in February. This mass calving draws a staggering number of predators eager to prey on the vulnerable newborns.
- Dec / Jan – The Southern Plains are so, lush with fresh sweet grasses for the wildebeest to graze on. Furthermore, 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.
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