Best Times of Year to Witness the Great Migration

by Sandy Salle on July 23, 2013

Post image for Best Times of Year to Witness the Great Migration

 Image above taken from the Singita blog

Acclaimed as the most spectacular natural spectacle in the world, the wildlife Great Migration throughout Tanzania and part of Kenya is an absolute must on any adventurists’ bucket list.

The migration of hundreds of thousands of zebra and millions of wildebeest (as well as thousands of lurking predators) is actually a loop that passes through parts of the southwestern border of Kenya and the Seregenti plains of Tanzania.  Throughout the year, this massive herd of wildlife follows the rains through the Grumeti Reserve, Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater region, and the Serengeti.

So when is the best time to view the Great Migration? Well, it depends what you want to see!

Below is a breakdown of where the migration is each month and what to expect:

January and February: This is the beginning of calving season for the wildebeest and it’s a real treat to watch the births within the Ngorongoro Crater area. The births typically happen throughout the month of February for a span of two to three weeks. It truly is one of the most amazing and heartwarming experiences to witness the hundreds of thousands of newly born calves (approximately 500,000 each year!) as they discover the world around them.

March: During the month of March (as well as the tail end of February) there is an exceptional amount of predator activity in the Ngorongoro area. As the newly born calves are just gaining their strength, it’s easy for predators, such as lions, to snag them. They are not as strong and large as the adult wildebeests, making it easy for them easy targets for a quick meal.

April and May: As the rains move towards the central Seregenti Plains, so do the wildebeest and their calves. Although there is a great deal of action to see during this time of the year, if you can wait until June, July, or August to travel, that’s when you’ll really see the good stuff . . .

June and July: Arguably the best time of year to witness the migration, June and July is when the wildlife will come face to face with one of the most challenging hurdles: The Grumeti River. Filled with natural predators and obstacles, the Grumeti River is where travelers will witness a great deal of action unfold. The herds will cross over the Grumeti River and many of them will not make it due to drownings, as well as crocodile and lion attacks.

the great migration

Image above taken from the Singita blog

August and September: The wildlife herds make their way up the northern Serengeti and into the Masai Mara region where they cross over the Mara River—another fascinating spectacle to witness, as there are many obstacles that the wildebeest and zebra must face during their strenuous trek.

October: The beginning of October is a beautiful time of year in the Masai Mara where the animals are still grazing. It’s not until late October when many of them beginning moving back down into the northern Serengeti in search of the short grasses.

November and December: The wildebeest end up in the Seronera region where they will celebrate the New Year before making their way back to the Ngorongoro area, which will begin the calving season again!

Some of the best ways to view the Great Migration at close proximity include:

  • Hot air balloon safaris over the Masai Mara
  • Game drives along the Grumeti River
  • Horseback riding safaris throughout the northern Serengeti
  • Staying at camps and lodges that offer a front row seat to the migration


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marti Gillen July 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hi Sandy
Of course Ed and I have to go back to Africa. What caught my eye – since both Ed and I are riders was the horseback riding safaris throughout the northern Serengeti. Do you have information you can send me? It will probably be in a couple more years that we go back but I want to start thinking and dreaming!

Thank you.


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