Information for your Safari
This everlasting loop of movement normally starts in February / March in the southern part of the Serengeti (close to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area). This is the time of the year where the Wildebeest are giving birth to approximately 500,000 calves within a very short period of about 3 weeks. When the rainy season ends in May, the animals start moving northwest into the areas around the Grumeti and Mara River. At the beginning of July, the herds begin with their river crossings – this is where the very famous pictures of countless documentary movies are being shot. Vast amounts of animals trying to reach the other side of the river safely through a narrow crossing with crocodiles and other predators waiting for their fair share of the huge feast.
In July/August the grazers arrive in the northern part of this approximately 30,000 km² ecosystem known as the Masai Mara. In this Kenyan part of the Serengeti, the herds stay until the end of the dry season. With the start of the short rains in early November, they move southwards to arrive in time for the calving season to start this never-ending circle again.
More than 250.000 wildebeests die during this annual migration, either from exhaustion, hunger, thirst or because of predators. As a keystone species, these animals are extremely vital to the whole ecosystem. Not only do they provide a steady flow of fresh food for plenty of famous predators like i.e. lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena, and the ‘environment police or cleanup crews’, carrion eaters and scavengers like the African White-Backed Vulture, with their excrement they also spread nitrogenous fertilizers that are vital for next year’s green pastures.
This ‘World Cup of wildlife’ attracts over a million travelers every year. For most of our clients experiencing this migration, firsthand is a truly remarkable and unique experience. It is the combination of the view, the smell, the sounds and the ground vibration that will raise your adrenaline level, touch all the senses and appreciate the magnificence of this savage nature.
- Wildebeest have no designated leaders and therefore the grazers often spilled up and travel in different directions. Sometimes some herds tend to stay longer in certain areas than others.
- Because of the unpredictability of the rains the annual ‘migration timetable’ can change dramatically. Therefore the provided animated map can only be considered to be for basic reference.
- One must be aware that migration is a much more static affair than many people realize. It is not possible to “follow” the herds, driving along with them or even booking lodges, tented camps or campsites wherever they happen to be at any given moment because all accommodations in the bush must be booked in advance.
- The famous crossing of the rivers Mara and Grumeti is extremely difficult to predict. It takes 1-2 weeks for the wildebeest to cross, and this can take place any time within almost two months. If this is very important for your Safari, we recommend to book for July and stay as far north as possible in the Serengeti. However one must remember that game viewing in Tanzania is excellent all year round -not only because there are many resident herds- but also because exciting game drives depend first and foremost on the experience and knowledge of your Safari guide. We are very proud to say that we have some of the best guides in the business – please see our testimonials to confirm for yourself.