Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth – The Serengeti Migration Safari!
The Great Migration is an overwhelming, humbling and quite simply amazing wildlife experience, and the stunning landscapes of the Serengeti national park and the Masai Mara national park form dramatic backdrops to the event.
Every year over 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 gazelles gather on the vast plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to begin their remarkable pilgrimage towards greener grazing lands.
Following the rains, they trek north towards Kenya’s Masai Mara before about-turning and heading south again. It’s an expedition totalling over 1,800 miles and the journey is incredibly tough. An estimated 250,000 wildebeest don’t make it – only the strong survive.
Witnessing this astonishing feat of nature is a real life experience. The sight of thousands and thousands of wildebeest dotted across the savanna as far as the eye can see is something that will stay within your mind forever. It’s one of the definitive safari experiences, and words just can’t describe the feeling of being there in the flesh.
Charting the date and course of the Serengeti migration is far from an exact science. The exact route and timing of the migration will vary from year-to-year depending on the rainfall and grazing conditions, and it is impossible to predict where the herds will be on any given day when you are planning a holiday many months in advance.
Yet, we can use our safari experience to help put you in the areas where you are most likely to see the great Serengeti migration during your holiday time. Broadly speaking, here’s a description of the route that this extraordinary race for life takes each year to help you get your planning off the ground.
The Start of the Great Serengeti Migration in Tanzania
The story begins with the wildebeest calving season in the Ndutu region of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Southern Serengeti plains, where the wildebeest begin to congregate together from December.
This is just after the ‘short’ rainy season, so the grass here is rich and ideal to support the young. Amazingly, it’s estimated that 500,000 calves are born here during a tiny 4-6 week window across February-March. The mass calving season attracts all kinds of predators to the area, all eager to snag themselves newborn, wobbly-legged calves.
The Serengeti migration Herds are on the Move
As the plains start to dry up and the grass becomes rapidly depleted, the herds start moving around April time, heading for greener grasslands and more reliable water sources.
Pounding the earth with millions of hooves, they travel in a general clockwise direction towards the Central Seronera Serengeti plains, leaving their now arid breeding ground behind.
The migrating herds do not move together in one solid formation however – they will split up and as such can been seen across a vast area of the Serengeti national park, and by May time, the herds are normally spread out across the Moru Kopjes and Central Seronera Valley area.
May is also the mating season for the wildebeest, and the competition is fierce as the male wildebeest rut and battle to win female attention and stamp their territory. These strapping contests of manhood are staggering to behold.
The herds also don’t always follow the same migration route. Due to weather patterns, some of the herds will continue from the Central Plains straight up the Serengeti on a more direct route towards the Northern Plains, and others will veer off to the left and find themselves heading towards the Western Corridor and the Grumeti River.
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PLANNING SERENGETI MIGRATION SAFARIS?
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We look forward to sharing the fascinating world of safari with you!