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Serengeti Migration Safari

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Tanzania’s renowned Serengeti National Park provides an amazing experience for travelers on the Serengeti Migration Safari. This yearly event, which features millions of zebras, wildebeest, and other herbivores, is recognized as one of the biggest wildlife migrations on the planet. The movement is driven by the desire for more fertile pastures and water sources, and it crosses enormous geographical expanses.

While on this safari, guests are in for an amazing show of the magnificence of nature, with herds of cattle rushing across wide-open plains, traversing perilous rivers, and coming across ferocious predators like lions and crocodiles. The Serengeti Migration Safari is a must-see for both nature lovers and wildlife aficionados since it offers a rare chance to observe the circle of life in the animal kingdom.

For those lucky enough to experience this amazing safari journey, the unspoiled beauty of the Serengeti combined with the breathtaking spectacle of the migration produces an experience that will never be forgotten.

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The Great Serengeti Migration in detail

When planning your Serengeti safari you probably want to include seeing the Great Migration. So how do you ensure to be there when it happens? The long and short of it is that you can’t. It is important to realize that the decision of when to visit the Serengeti always involves an element of risk. We have detailed the Great Migration below, and this is what usually happens, but keep in mind that there are no guarantees.

The annual migration of two million ungulates, wildebeest but also enormous groups of zebra and Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle and eland, through Serengeti National Park is the greatest wildlife spectacle of its type in Africa, and perhaps the world. Although variations occur from year to year, the Serengeti migration follows a reasonably predictable annual cycle, dictated by local rainfall patterns. The Great Migration cycle breaks up into the following periods:

DECEMBER – APRIL

We can find the main calving grounds in the area southeast of Seronera: typical Serengeti plains stretch all the way to the Ndutu area near Ngorongoro. Triggering their move to this area are the short rains in November and December. The wildebeest stick around this area until the end of the long rains, end of April, early May. The delightful news is that this section of Serengeti National Park is easily accessible and that in this period the landscape becomes lush.

February is usually calving season in the Ndutu area and the southeastern plains: the very best time to visit this area. As wildebeest, zebra and other ungulates are so many, and give birth to so many calves, the spectacle works as a magnet for predators. As early as March or April the herd may move again in search of greener pastures. Seeing the actual migration in this period is more difficult, but chances are that you will encounter very large herds on the move.

MAY – JULY

This is the period that the wildebeest, after having feasted on the short green grasses of the southeastern Serengeti and after having giving birth to their offspring, start getting ready for their 800-kilometer-long trek. The actual starting date may be anytime between late April and early June. This is the time to you may have the privilege to see one of the greatest natural phenomena in the world: more than a million marching animals in a column up to 40 kilometers long.

During the migration, the herd will move towards the Western Corridor, where they will face the first major obstacle: crossing the Grumeti River. Many animals don’t survive the crossing as they are being awaited by the area’s population of oversized crocodiles ready to feast. The herd may congregate on the southern bank of the river and stay there for up to two weeks before crossing the river.

AUGUST – SEPTEMBER

When the Grumeti River obstacle has been taken, the herd moves further north and starts crossing the next big hurdle, the Mara River, in July or August. The Mara River crossing is where so many iconic Great Migration photos have been taken. After this crossing the herd flocks to the northwest plains and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The August – September period is considered being a bad time to visit Serengeti National Park and see the Great Migration as the herd moves into the Masai Mara in Kenya.

However, migration patterns show that about half of the herd stays on the Tanzanian side, in the Mara Serengeti area. In this period, smaller herds of wildebeest (well consider small… herds may count up to between 500 and thousands of individuals) frequently cross the Mara River, back and forth, for no apparent reason. This is an excellent time to stay at one of the Serengeti Mara camps.

OCTOBER – NOVEMBER

Crossing the Mara River northbound means that, at one point, the herd needs to cross the river one more time before commencing the trek back in a southerly direction. This usually happens in October, but sometimes earlier. In this period the herd will cross the northern plains and Lobo area. This section of Serengeti National Park is little-visited, so if you are looking to see the migration in relative quietness, this would be the time. The wildebeest return to the short- grass plains and calving ground around Ndutu in late November. And from here, the Great Migration starts all over again.

Conclusion on Best time to Visit

It is a matter of choice whether you would like to plan your Serengeti safari around the Great Migration. We have mentioned earlier that the Serengeti is a year-round destination as it covers a vast area and offers unparalleled wildlife viewing. Chances that you will be at the exact spot of the Great Migration herd crossing a river (either at the Grumeti or Mara River) are very slim. Also, the timing of herd movements cannot be guaranteed. However, if you choose the right part of the Serengeti: the southeast and Ndutu from December through to May, the Western Corridor from May to July, the Serengeti Mara area from July trough to October, and the northern Serengeti and Lobo area in October and November, large herds of wildebeest and their entourage should be easily located.

Trip Inspiration

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what’s possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

5 Days Tanzania Big-5 Safari
$1870
Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater
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4.63 by 8 reviews
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4.63 /5
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4 Days Tanzania Splendor Safari
$1200
Tarangire, Ngorongoro & Lake Manyara
4 days
4.63 by 8 reviews
  • Location4.63
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  • Rooms4.63
4.63 /5
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6 Days Tanzania Perfect Safari
$1930
Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater
6 days
4.63 by 8 reviews
  • Location4.63
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  • Price4.63
  • Rooms4.63
4.63 /5
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7 Days Classic Lion Safari
$2100
Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater
7 days
4.63 by 8 reviews
  • Location4.63
  • Amenities4.63
  • Services4.63
  • Price4.63
  • Rooms4.63
4.63 /5
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See What Our Clients, Have to Say

We have been receiving reviews from our served clients and Nyamera Treks & Safaris is rated 5/5 by customers. This honor is given to us by customers because we always remain committed to all our customers to do whatever is needed by them to make their safari fully satisfied.

Janni
Janni
February 22, 2023
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Kilimanjaro Trip via Marangu Route I hiked Kilimanjaro in December 2022 and it was an awesome experience thanks to the good organization of the trip from George! I had the best Crew and guide with me, helping to reach the Uhuru peak! I will never forget this adventure. Also the day trip to the Materuni waterfalls included in my package was very nice and I really enjoyed. I can recommend to visit Materuni villages and see how coffee is locally produced!
jdolan33
jdolan33
October 3, 2022
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Kilimanjaro ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ First trip to Kilimanjaro. This was a Dream Team???????? From arrival to departure we were amazed at our experience from local markets, waterfalls, coffee plantations, local celebration meals and a glorious trek and summit made by our entire team. My contact was #badassadventures in the states and having George and his team in Kili was memorable. Don’t hesitate plan an epic adventure with them!
Charles B
Charles B
September 28, 2022
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Amazing Experience with Nyamera Treks and Safaris!!! I had the pleasure of climbing Kilimanjaro with Nyamera Treks and Safaris a few weeks ago. George and his team are true professionals. They ensured we were moving at an appropriate pace to make the summit. George's guides and porters were amazing. Their attentiveness made our experience even more special. I would definitely book a trip with Nyamera again!
Gilberto
Gilberto
February 11, 2022
Verified
An unforgettable experience We did this January the Lemosho route with Nyamera treks and safari. It was a thrilling adventure. Even so my partner had no experience in mountain climbing we made it up to the top. A big thanks goes to our guides and you're team, Makashi & Sanga,and the good organisation by George. Wouldn’t have make it without your help!

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