great wildebeast migration


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The Great Wildebeest Migration is the largest mammal migration in the world and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It’s a true spectacle of nature, with millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles thundering across the endless plains of the Serengeti throughout the year in search of fresh grazing and higher-quality water. For many travellers, the epic crossing of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers is the ultimate highlight!

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this unforgettable experience is one of the primary reasons for tourists flooding Tanzania every year. If the wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park is also on top of your to-see-list, it’s important to know where the herds are.

That’s why we want to tell you

  • when and where the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs month-by-month,
  • the best time to watch the migration,
  • the best place to see the migration and
  • tips for the most intense experience.

Countless wildebeest running over the Tanzanian plains during the Great Wildebeest Migration


  • The Great Wildebeest Migration is the largest animal migration in the world, with almost two million animals crossing the Tanzanian plains each year.
  • Although named after wildebeests, which make the majority of animals, the migrating herds also include zebras, topi, gazelles, and other animals.
  • The migration typically begins in December and lasts until November, although its beginning depends on the start of the rainy season in Tanzania.
  • The herds cover approximately 1,000 kilometres during the migration cycle.
  • Around 500,000 calves are born during the calving season in February, with about 8,000 calves born daily.
  • The migration’s beginnings date back to the 1960s.
  • Up to 250,000 wildebeests are killed by predators during the migration.
  • Migrating wildebeests divide into herds of hundreds of thousands of animals.


Here’s the trick – the exact timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration depends upon the rainfall patterns each year. This makes predicting where and when the migration begins. It’s something not even wildebeests know!

Due to climate changes, the rainy seasons haven’t been occurring regularly, nor are they easily predictable. That’s also why the migration has been thrown out of synch in recent years.

However, thanks to our experienced Tanzania Specialist guides, we are able to make a fairly accurate prediction. This is one of the main reasons why our Tanzania safaris are so popular for everyone who wants to see this spectacle with their own eyes.

A herd of wildbeest in the water during the Great Wildebeest Migration

December to April

The migration typically begins in late November or early December, when migrating herds arrive in the southern parts of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in the Ndutu area. 

When in Serengeti, the animals are free to move wherever they want. It’s a truly magnificent sight of almost two million wildebeests and zebras dispersed throughout Tanzania’s plains, enjoying fresh and nutritious grasses. 

In February, the calving season begins, with half a million calves born on these southern plains. You can also see a lot of predators at this time, who are all waiting for easy prey. 

Around April, the herds head for the central and western part of the Serengeti in search of fresh, long grass. The rains start, and the mating season begins.

A herd of wildebeest on grass plains during the Great Wildebeest Migration

May to June

In May and June, the herds of wildebeests and zebras migrate further north to get ready for the dangerous Grumeti River crossing full of giant crocodiles. 

It’s a scary sight as you watch thousands of these magnificent creatures struggle against the forces of nature and predators. Unfortunately, not all animals survive the crossing. 

The survivors continue their journey, with some herds heading through the Grumeti Reserve and Ikorongo while others choose the path piercing through the heart of the Serengeti National Park. 

July to September

From July till September, you’ll find the herds around the Mara River, which they need to cross to get to Kenya. The sights are impressive as well as dramatic around this time. The fast-flowing water and crocodiles make this crossing extremely dangerous for the herds. 

The Mara River crossing is the most serious obstacle during the migration, creating a spectacular yet often hair-raising spectacle of panic and confusion as herds consisting of hundreds of thousands of animals try to get through the gushing river. 

Interestingly, in the last two years, almost two-thirds of the migration did not cross the Mara River since there was enough fresh grass left in the northern Serengeti.

October to December

From October till November, the wildebeest migration leaves the northern Serengeti and makes its way back to the southern part/Ndutu via the central Seronera region. The herds remain there until late November/early December, and the annual cycle starts all over again.


It’s hard to say what the best time is to experience the Great Wildebeest Migration, as it all depends on what you’d like to witness. Also, given how unpredictable the rain seasons have become, pinpointing the exact date is mighty difficult. 

In general, we can divide the migration into five events/seasons:

Approximate Period Event Place
December to January Beginning of the migration Southern Sengereti
February to April Calving & breeding season Southern Serengeti
May to June Grumeti River crossing Western Serengeti
July to September Mara River crossing Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti
October to November The trek south Masai Mara & Northern Serengeti to Southern Serengeti

All in all, most travellers wanting to see the migration plan their safari trip between July and September. That’s mostly because of the Mara River crossing, which is by far the most exciting and spectacular event of the Great Wildebeest Migration.



As with the best time, the best place to see the wildebeest migration depends on what you want to see. For instance, from December to April, it’s best to search for accommodation in the Southern and Central Serengeti. 

This is the period during which herds cover the plains of Southern Serengeti and stay there for the calving and breeding season. The calving season is very popular among tourists who want to witness the dance of life and death as predators try to take advantage of young calves and find easy prey. 

If you’d like to witness the mighty river crossings, though, these occur in the northern parts of Serengeti and the Masai Mara region (Kenya). 

Tanzania Specialist has multiple camps located in key areas that are perfect for witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania in all its glory. 

A herd of wildbeest and in front of a group of elephants on grass plains in Tanzania


Witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration is a magical experience. However, to fully immerse yourself in this mystical adventure, you need to travel to Tanzania with a trusted and experienced safari guide. 

That is something Tanzania Specialist can help you with. We offer multiple safari offers that include the Great Wildebeest Migration, which you can find here.

Each safari offers a unique experience that you can fully customise to your preferences. We want this to be an adventure you won’t forget, providing you with an experience that will last a lifetime and be cherished forever. 


Okay, so you know when, where, and with whom to experience the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania (hint: with us). The one remaining question is how

Well, we won’t lie to you: planning a wildebeest migration safari can take some time, and it’s not something that you should treat trivially. While we can make this adventure even more magical once you’re here, there are still several things you should do before you leave for Tanzania. 

Here are some tips on how to plan the wildebeest migration safari.

Book Early

Planning and booking a safari is not something that you should do on short notice. That rule applies to any safari offer, but is especially important during the peak wildebeest migration season from June to October. 

This is when most tourists flood Tanzania to witness the migration, which means that camps and lodges fill up fast. Therefore, if you want to see the river crossings, be sure to book your trip early, at least a year in advance. 

A herd of wildebeest in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania

Know When to Go

As said, there’s no shortage of tourists in Tanzania during the peak season, especially in the Serengeti National Park, where most of the migration occurs. 

If you’d like to avoid the crowds, it might be better to consider another time of the year to experience the migration on your own terms, without the hoards of tourists fighting for the best spots. 

One of the key advantages of booking a migration safari through Tanzania Specialist is that our camps are located a bit further away from the hot spots. This allows you to enjoy your safari in a more tranquil environment, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience. 

Diversify Your Experience

Although witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration is amazing on its own, there are multiple ways to intensify your safari experience. At Tanzania Specialist, each safari we offer comes with a list of additional activities you can book to make your trip even more personal.

For more safari planning tips, refer to our complete guide on how to plan your first safari. It will provide you with a better overview of key considerations to keep in mind when planning your safari adventure in Tanzania. 


Included in the list of the Seven New Wonders of the World, the Great Wildebeest Migration is not something to avoid when planning your trip to Tanzania. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be with you forever, and a spectacle that doesn’t disappoint.

And when looking for a migration safari, look no further than Tanzania Specialist. We have years of experience organising tours and safaris throughout Tanzania, providing our clients with everything Tanzania has to offer. 

If you want to book your migration safari straight away, or if you have more questions, feel free to contact us directly

See you on the Tanzanian plains!


Want to see more ? This video is worth watching.

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