Our Family-Friendly Guide to The Annual Wildebeest Migration

On the prowl for the most memorable family safari, ever? It MUST include a stay in the world famous Masai Mara (Kenya) or Serengeti (Tanzania), homes to the greatest annual migration on earth!

What is the Annual Wildebeest Migration?

The annual wildebeest migration is the movement of over 1.5m wildebeest, 500,000 zebra, 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle and 18,000 eland across the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve & surrounding conservancies, Kenya. This movement offers the viewer unbelievable experiences, both incredibly beautiful & brutal.  The migration follows the rainfall (the animals follow the green grass), therefore is weather dependent, but we thought you might find our general explanation helpful.  

First & foremost, we would like to inform you that the wildlife viewing in the Serengeti or the Maasai Mara is excellent all year round, so any time is a good time to travel to either places, you just need to know where to base yourselves (Please feel free to contact safaris@thesafaricoltd.com about this)!! Please use this only as a guideline when planning your East African safari as it is indeed weather dependent…. We’ve had double migrations before, early ones and late ones of course! 

Map of Annual Wildebeest Migration Route

When & Where to view the Great Migration

    • January to March – The big herds are often in the South / South East Serengeti  (mainly Ndutu & Kusini). Calving often takes place in Jan / Feb, therefore there are loads of young, lots of predators and great visibility. A great time to travel here.
    • April & May – The herds are now generally moving towards central Serengeti (Seronera).  This is typically the time of the long rains in East Africa; generally rain appears in short bursts leaving dramatic skies and beautiful sunsets and game viewing is still excellent. NB. There are some great discounts available at lodges and camps throughout Kenya & Tanzania, and at The SAFARI Company, we love this time of year for photographers! 
    • June – The large herds of wildebeest are generally in central Serengeti (Seronera) as well as western Serengeti (Grumeti) in June.  We love this time of year, the grass is usually greet, lots of young, beautiful skies and low volumes of visitors.
    • July & AugustThey start to head north towards the Mara River (the river in between the Serengeti & the Maasai Mara). July is usually when the annual wildebeest migration all kicks off. River crossings may be seen in both the Western Corridor (Grumeti area) and the North (Mara River) within the Serengeti… as well as the northern Maasai Mara, The Mara Triangle and Musiara area.
    • September & OctoberThe herds have indeed filled up the Maasai Mara plains at this time of year as they move north and then east through the Masai Mara (from The Triangle, they move through Musiara, through Mara North Conservancy, Olare Orok Conservancy, Naboisho Conservancy and the Talek area, Siana and Olderkesi, starting to cross back to Tanzania in October / November.

Though the serengeti is amazing, in our opinion, the Masai Mara is the premier game viewing reserve in the world (as its little!!). Quite simply nowhere else compares for wildlife viewing! Book a stay at one of our favourite Family- Friendly lodges on the reserve here.

Read about one of our most memorable family trips to the Masai Mara here!


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