Embark on an extraordinary journey as we delve into the mesmerizing phenomenon that is “The Great Migration of Wildebeests” in the renowned Serengeti National Park. This awe-inspiring natural spectacle, often dubbed the “Greatest Show on Earth,” captivates wildlife enthusiasts from around the globe. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of this annual migration, exploring its impact on the Serengeti ecosystem and the sheer grandeur it bestows upon the Tanzanian wilderness.

The Great Migration: What Is It?

The planet’s largest animal herd movement is called the Great Migration. In fact, one can see the massive columns of wildebeest from orbit, with up to 1,000 animals per km².

The numbers are staggering: in pursuit of nourishing grass and water, approximately 1.2 million wildebeest, 300,000 zebra, topi, and other gazelles travel across the Serengeti-Mara environment in a continuous cycle. Every wildebeest, driven by survival instinct, will travel between 800 and 1,000 miles on its own, following well-established migratory patterns. In what is referred to as “the greatest show on Earth,” predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and crocs hunt out the weaker animals and ensure that only the strongest survive.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area provides the wildlife for the circuit, while not

The three groups of migratory grazers consume grass in different ways. After one group finishes eating the top of the tallest grass, the next group begins to consume some of the medium-height grass, and so on, until the grass is nearly gone and the herds move on. That is, there is minimal overlap in the distributions of each group, indicating that each stays true to its own kind. In addition to being high in calcium, the plains’ grasses contain the highest protein level in the entire Serengeti.

Although it is unknown how the wildebeest choose which direction to travel, it is generally accepted that their route is mostly determined by how they react to the weather—they follow the growth of new grass and the arrival of rain. Even though there isn’t

The Great Migration of Wildebeests

How the Great Migration progresses year-round

All through the year, the migration is in constant motion, whether it is because the wildebeest are trying to cross rivers without getting attacked or are dropping their babies. Continue reading to find out when the Great Migration usually occurs, or select a month from the list below to jump to that migration season:
January through March; April through May; June through July; August through September and October; November through December

The Great Migration in January, February and March

Every year in January, the migration completes its journey southward and enters the Ngorongoro Conservation Area by traveling along the eastern edge of the Serengeti. The grass on these plains is very nutrient-rich, giving the herds the ideal environment in which to raise their young calves.

With the exception of birth and death, there is no true beginning or end to this migratory cycle; yet, it would seem appropriate to refer to the wildebeests’ mating season as the commencement of the migration. The herds move onto the short-grass plains around Olduvai Gorge and the lower northern slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater highlands in late January or early February. In a span of two to three weeks, around 400,000 calves are born here, which equates to almost 8,000 newborns per day.

Because there are so many newborn calves that are easily preyed upon by the surrounding predators, the sheer quantity of wildebeest makes hunting them easy. Olakira, Kimondo, and Ubuntu are Asilia’s migratory camps in the southern Serengeti, and they offer direct access for those interested in seeing calving and the drama of big predators on the hunt 

The Great Migration of Wildebeests

The Great April and May Migration

Following their February and March births, the wildebeest herds start to move northwest in April, attracting smaller groups of antelope and hundreds of zebra as they head toward the middle Serengeti’s fresher grass. In May, hundreds of kilometers of columns of wildebeest form near Dunia Camp, one of the few sites in the Serengeti that provides a view of the migration during this season, as the animals begin to gather by the Moru Kopjes. Male wildebeest engage in head-to-head combat during mating season, which starts at the end of May. During ‘the rut,’ the zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest travel at a leisurely pace while feeding

The wildebeest in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti begin to assemble as the journey gains pace. In order to track the migration and enable access to see the wildebeest cross the Grumeti River, Ubuntu Migration Camp will have moved by this time of year. Along the river’s channels and pools, where they must pass to continue their trek, the herds congregate in large numbers. While not as impressive as the well-known Mara crossings, there are still plenty of wildebeest here to feed the Grumeti crocs to feast. It is important to remember that May is Ubuntu’s low season. Due to the very low number of tourists in the Serengeti during this time of year, safaris provide excellent value; yet, the

The Great June and July Migration

Large herds of wildebeest in the Western Serengeti and along the southern banks of the Grumeti River herald the beginning of the dry season in June. The first of many difficult and stressful river encounters for every migrating animal is traversing the crocodile-infested river.

The Mara River, which lies to the north of the Serengeti, presents an even more dangerous barrier for the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra that continue to migrate north along the park’s western perimeter as June turns into July. Undoubtedly, these river crossings rank among the world’s most thrilling wildlife experiences. They normally start in July, at the start of high season, but the exact time is determined by the elements.

Usually, the herds can be located in the Northern Serengeti in

The Great Migration in September, October, and August

After overcoming the difficulty of crossing the Mara River in August, the herds are dispersed throughout the northern Masai Mara, with a large number of them still in the northern Serengeti. The fear and confusion at the crossings, coupled with lurking predators and rushing currents, can result in a significant death toll during years when the river is at its highest. Even in years when the water flows rather slowly, the crocs still cause damage, in addition to the lions and other large predators who watch the banks and wait to ambush any wildebeest that manage to cross. There isn’t just one crossing point; in certain places, there are only a few people, while in other places, a large number of animals are migrating for hours at a time.

The Great Migration in November and December

The wildebeest migrate from Kenya into the eastern Serengeti beyond the Namiri Plains, a region noted for exceptional cheetah sightings, following the East African brief rains in late October and early November. They have dispersed over the eastern and southern regions by December.

The far south of the Serengeti has lush, rain-filled grasses in the early months of the year. This attracts hundreds of thousands of zebra and other plains animals as well as herds of wildebeest. The calving season begins again, and the cycle continues.

The Great Migration of Wildebeests