The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania

The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania : The Great Migration also known as The Annual Wildebeest Migration is the annual migration of wildebeests along with other grazers such as Zebras and gazelles, each year these animals migrate from the Ndutu region of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania through Great Plains of the Serengeti national park to the Maasai Mara national reserve in Southern Kenya.

 Over 2 million wildebeests and hundred thousands of zebras and gazelles make the earth tremble as they migrate through Tanzania’s lands in search for fresh green pasture and water.

Opposed to what many people this, you are able to see the great migration in Tanzania year round, there are however a few months where many of the animals of the migration are scattered throughout Serengeti national park making it less spectacular than seeing them all together.


 The Great Migration is famous and known for two specific events, these same events make Tanzania one of the most popular safari destination / countries in the world is why it is visited by thousands of safari lovers, wildlife – enthusiasts, scientists and Television Channels such as Animal Planet and National Geographic travelling to Tanzania each year to experience these unique sightings.

 The River Crossing of The Wildebeest – Northern Serengeti

The river crossing is the most known event of the Great Migration happening at The Mara River in northern Serengeti, the wildebeests along with other grazers risk their lives and battle with the fierce crocodiles which are patiently waiting to feast on them in the river’s waters. The wildebeests and other herds taking part in the Great Migration have to cross the river as a way to further their journey from fresh food and is often considered of the nature’s most spectacular events.

The river crossing usually happens between July and October, however it greatly depends on rainfall and the availability of fresh food sources.

Calving season in Southern Serengeti – Ndutu

Around February, all the big herds come together and go southwards in the Ndutu area which is often called Southern – Serengeti, during the calving season. The Great Migration makes a small pause to give birth, thousands of babies are born each day. During this makes it a beautiful and memorable event to witness. As opposed to the River Crossing which is a time of death and action, the calving season is a time of life. However predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs are always on a lookout to feast on the freshly born babies.

The Great Migration Calving season is the only time of the year that you are almost guaranteed to see the big herds together, since the migration is in the South, it is cheaper and takes significantly less time to visit the Great Migration. This makes it an easier and more affordable option than the famous river crossing.

The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania
The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania


The Great Migration can be witnessed in different period throughout the year as they migrate through Serengeti on an annual base, here is the list of the periods of the year showing where the Great Migration can be found and witnessed. Below are the pro’s and con’s of visiting the migration in this period.

July – October

Pro’s – Around this time of the year, wildebeest migration is around the northern plains of Serengeti national park. In this period you have a chance to experience the famous Mara – River crossing. This is often considered the most spectacular event of the Great Migration and is undisputed highlight of a Tanzania safari.

Con’s – the negative side of visiting to this period is that the Great Migration up North brings the necessary costs. Due to the great distances in Tanzania and off-road roads, it takes up to 3-4 days to only travel in Serengeti making the whole trip about 7 days from Arusha. This can be quite expensive, so visiting the northern parts of Serengeti certainly takes away from your time and budget, The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania

 The actual river crossing is quite unreliable and you could end up being let down, even after spending all the time and money.

December – March

Pro’s : within these months, the wildebeest are in the Southern area of Serengeti called the Ndutu area, here the wildebeest take a short break from migrating as calving season is about to start. During this season, thousands of babies are born which grantees some heartwarming moments.

February is the most reliable time of the year to visit the Great Migration and almost always guarantees a sight of the big herds.

Compared to the river crossing, it is relatively cheap to experience as you will only need 1-2 days to reach the Ndutu and get a decent amount of the safari.

Cons: though it might not be the safari – enthusiasts’ first choice and it can get quite crowded as it is easier to reach, so many people gather around the same area.

November, April & May (rain season)

Pro’s: In these months the migration is either going north or south. They travel trough beautiful, green surroundings while happy, young wildebeest jump around in the tall grasses. Due to the rain season there are few tourists and you often get the experience all to yourself!

Con’s: The herds are more dispersed than in other months, due to the plentiness of fresh food sources. Meaning actually finding the Great Migration might not be as spectacular as in other months. Also, there’s quite a bit of rain, which can lead to some difficulties.

Don’t be disappointed if your travel date doesn’t exactly fit with the Great Migration! There are plenty of animals to see. People often ask us; ‘If I don’t come at the right time of year, will I not be able to see any wildlife’? Don’t think you won’t be able to find wildebeest or lions, if you can’t find the migration. Wildebeest, along with zebras and other members of the Great Migration can be found throughout the Serengeti, many of these animals are not part of the migration and can be found in any area throughout the year. There is no need to worry.


To keep the answer very simple: They are in search for fresh food. The wildebeest migrate the way they do, because they follow the rainfall. The rains greatly influence the availability of fresh grasses and other food sources, so the wildebeest follow.

If the rain season is unpredictable, the Great Migration might be just as unpredictable. They go in between Ndutu and the Northern parts of Serengeti, wherever the grass is greener.

More rain can cause the migration to migrate slower, while a drought might cause the migration to reach the sountern Ndutu or the Mara river faster.

Because of the plentiness of rainfall these last years, not all wildebeest decide to cross the Mara River, risking their lives. So some of them stay behind as there’s enough fresh food on the other side. Why risk your life if you don’t have to? The Great Migration rarely reaches Kenya’s Masai Mara in its entirety, as the savannah can provide enough food for smaller groups of wildebeest all year round, The Great Migration of Wildebeest – Tanzania


Staying right in the center of the Great Migration of wildebeest and seeing them from your camp is every safari-enthousiast’s dream. With our professional advice, we can make that happen.

Serengeti offers several mobile camps who change their location according to the wereabouts of the Great Migration, making sure you’re always close to the action. Camps like these will give you the best chance of finding yourself amidst of the Great Migration.

Arusha Trips has close relationships with many of these camps, making us an excellent choice for your Great Migration safari in every price-range. Our professional safari-experts create completely tailor-made experiences, ensuring you with the best chance of experiencing the migration. We base our advice on years of experience and data of the whereabouts of the migration from the past years.

Do you need professional advice on your Great Migration safari? Let us make a tailor-made proposal for you or check out some of our great migration safaris.

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