Experience The Great Migration

A year round adventure for man and animal

You heard about it; The Great Migration! But what is it? When does it happen, why does the great migration happen and where does it happen? In this article we will tell everything you need to know about one of the most stunning things nature on this planet has to offer you, as millions of animals travel the great plains of Tanzania in search of food and water and trying to reach places to calf their children. 
A long and dangerous road where they have to deal with large predators like lions, hyena’s, cheetahs and nile crocodiles.

The Great Migration – every year – all year

The Great Migration is one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena, driven primarily by the need for fresh grazing and water. Each year, over 1.5 million wildebeest, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, embark on an epic journey that spans the plains of Tanzania and Kenya.
This continuous cycle of movement is intricately tied to the region’s wet and dry seasons, ensuring that the herds can find the resources they need to survive.

The migration begins in the southern Serengeti, where the short-grass plains provide nutritious grazing for lactating mothers and their newborn calves during the calving season from January to March. The abundance of food and relative safety in numbers help the young survive the critical early weeks of their lives.

As the long rains begin in April and May, the herds move northward, searching for new grass and water. This journey takes them through the central Serengeti and into the western corridor, where they face the treacherous Grumeti River. Here, the wildebeest encounter crocodiles lying in wait, adding a perilous dimension to their trek. By June and July, the dry season intensifies, and the migration moves towards the northern Serengeti. The climax of the migration occurs from August to October when the herds must cross the Mara River into Kenya’s Maasai Mara. These crossings are dramatic and fraught with danger, but the lush pastures of the Mara beckon, offering the sustenance the herds desperately need.

November brings the short rains, and the herds begin their journey back south. The Serengeti’s grasslands are replenished, providing fresh grazing that draws the animals back. This cyclical pattern ensures that the herds can continuously access the resources necessary for their survival, while also promoting the ecological health of the region. The movement of such large numbers of herbivores plays a crucial role in the regeneration of grasslands, supports a diverse array of predators, and distributes nutrients across the plains.

The Great Migration is not just a journey of survival but a testament to the resilience and interconnectedness of the natural world. Witnessing this event is a powerful reminder of the delicate balance that sustains these ecosystems. The sight of thousands of wildebeest braving river crossings, the sound of hooves pounding the earth, and the thrill of predator-prey encounters create an unforgettable spectacle that underscores the raw beauty and profound challenges of life in the wild.

The best months for witnessing various aspects of the migration

January to March: Calving Season in the Southern Serengeti
  • Location: Southern Serengeti and Ndutu plains.
  • Highlights: This is the calving season, when over 500,000 wildebeest calves are born. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas are also very active during this time, taking advantage of the abundance of vulnerable newborns.
  • Best for: Witnessing the birth of calves and predator-prey interactions.
April to May: The Long Rains
  • Location: Moving from southern to central Serengeti.
  • Highlights: The herds start moving northward as the rains begin. This is a quieter tourist season, providing a more solitary safari experience, though travel can be more challenging due to rain.
  • Best for: Viewing large herds and enjoying lush green landscapes with fewer tourists.
June to July: Grumeti River Crossings
  • Location: Western Serengeti and Grumeti Reserves.
  • Highlights: The herds encounter the Grumeti River, where they face another set of dangerous crossings, with crocodiles lying in wait. The landscape is stunning and the weather is generally good.
  • Best for: Witnessing river crossings and seeing the herds in the western corridor of the Serengeti.
August to October: Mara River Crossings
  • Location: Northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara.
  • Highlights: This is the prime time to witness the dramatic Mara River crossings as the herds move into the Maasai Mara. These crossings are some of the most spectacular events of the migration.
  • Best for: Witnessing the iconic Mara River crossings and experiencing the peak of the migration.
November to December: The animals return South
  • Location: Moving from the Maasai Mara back to the Serengeti.
  • Highlights: The herds begin their journey back south towards the Serengeti, following the rains. This period is great for seeing the migration spread out across the plains.
  • Best for: Seeing the herds on the move and enjoying less crowded safari experiences.
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