kilimanjaro local guides

8 - Day Wildebeest Migration in serengeti

Tour Starts & Ends

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)

No. Persons Limit

Minimum 2 passengers to operate. Maximum 7 passengers in each group.

Departure Dates

On request (the tour starts at any time if the participants are ready)

Cost of Addtional Services

Extra cost such as tips, oxygen tanks, foods in hotels  $ $ $

Wildebeest Migration in serengeti

The Wildebeest Migration in serengeti is Africa’s great migration and happens every year where by large numbers of wildebeests(over 2 million) and other animals like the grant’s gazelles, impalas, zebras(over 200,000), elands, and Thomson’s gazelles migrate from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. They move clockwise over 1,800 miles annually which makes their migration easy to predict. They mainly migrate in search for better water quality and new grazing grasslands. The annual migration safari of over a million wildebeest occurs every year in 2 prominent parks, Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

Animals In The Great Wildebeest Migration in serengeti

The wildebeest migration is one of the most amazing events one should never miss out, nothing is thrilling like watching the these animals in big numbers running up and down in the grasslands and crossing rivers, it gives an unforgettable experience in the wild.

Book Masai Mara Migration Safaris Kenya

Below are the animals that take part in this migration:

  • Wildebeests : Wildebeests are mammals and belong to the antelope family, and it is estimated that there are about one and a half million (1.5 million) wildebeests that take part in this migration. They are classified into different species of which all of them are native to Africa; they include the Western-bearded wildebeest these are the ones that migrate within the Serengeti and Masai Mara, the Eastern white-bearded wildebeests found in Tanzania and Kenya in the East of Gregory rift and the Blue or brindled wildebeests found in the south of River Zambezi. The other name to refer to wildebeest is “Gnu”; they are herbivorous animals and basically live in the open woodlands and savannah grasslands which is where they get what to eat.

In most cases over 250,000 wildebeests die during the migration from Serengeti to Masai Mara, as they cover a large distance so some end up losing their lives due to exhaustion, hunger, thirst, also others are eaten by predators.

  • Zebras And Other Antelopes : It is estimated that there are 250,000 Burchell’s zebras in addition to about 300,000 various types of antelopes among which are the Thomson’s gazelles, impalas, Grant’s gazelles and elands that take part in this migration.
  • Predators : The great migrating herd offers plenty of prey for the different predators living within the areas that this herd matches through among which are big cats like lions, leopards and cheetahs; hyenas and crocodiles targeting the river crossings.

The wildebeest migration is one of the most amazing events one should never miss out, nothing is thrilling like watching the these animals in big numbers running up and down in the grasslands and crossing rivers, it gives an unforgettable experience in the wild.

How the annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti works

The wildebeest migration is often punted as the “greatest show on earth”.  Also known as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It doesn’t have a simple start or end, just a dynamic cycle of wild movement through the year. It’s never the same each year either. Not very predictable but easy enough to witness if you plan around some key points. People usually refer to this as the serengeti migration, but you can also see it on the Masai Mara in Kenya.

Where to watch the migration on safari

  • View all our migration safaris here
  • The serengeti migration safari trip
  • The Masai Mara safari includes the wildebeest migration
  • Watch the serengeti migration on Tanzania’s Northern Circuit

What’s the best time to see the wildebeest migration in Serengeti

The best times to see the wildebeest migration are between December and March or between May and November.

The migration is largely driven by the rains. Just remember that the rains are unpredictable so the wildebeest migration doesn’t operate on a set schedule. It also doesn’t follow a set route. Nor do the animals all go the same way. This is part of what makes the migration sightings so spectacular. Hundreds of thousands of animals following different routes to the same destination spread across the vast plains as far as the eye can see.

The migration leaves the Mara. It moves quickly down the Loliondo boundary. Rains have started. Fresh grass covers the plains.

Settled in the short grass lands on the southern plains. Game moves into the Ngorongoro Crater. Zebra are foaling.

Over 2 million wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, eland and predators are in the Serengeti plains. Wildebeest are dropping foals.

The heavy rains are approaching and the short grass plains are starting to take strain.

The migration starts moving slowly through woodlands towards the western corridor as the long or heavy rains set in.

The migration follows the Mbalageti river towards the Grumeti. Long grass plains and woodlands provide food.

Rains are ending as the dry season approaches. The Grumeti crocodiles enjoy their annual feast.

The migration moves north east through the Grumeti towards the Ikorongo . Some move towards the Lobo area.

Most of the migration is in the Ikorongo area where the Mara is crossed.

The migration moves into the Mara in search of water and fresh grazing.

The Serengeti is near the end of the dry season, water is available in the Masai Mara.

The wildebeest migration starts moving south as the new seasons rains start.

The migration itself involves around 1.5 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra, always on the move. Generally in a great clockwise sweep around the larger Serengeti ecosystem. Resident game (predators and other mammals) are generally fixed to territorial areas. Predators don’t follow the great herds much beyond their home ranges.

If you’re interested in seeing specific resident game species (eg, elephant, wild dog, leopard, etc) then destinations other than the Mara or Serengeti could be better.


When the wildebeest migration is “on”during high season, you’ll find that the best space gets sold out quickly, so book early to get the best availability and reasonable prices.


January-February-March (The Calving Season)

During this time many herds of wildebeests and zebras are around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and in the Southern plains of the Serengeti, the grass there is short and rich, so most pregnant wildebeest find there stay here. The calving season starts at the end of January to mid March; around 600,000 calves are born in this time. Them being born in large numbers it is easier to survive predators than those born few and earlier.

During this time from January to March, these wildebeest migration can be viewed comfortably at a mobile camp, though most mobile camps are faced with the issue of flies so clients who are in for camping are advised to go in for Lake Masek Tented camp, then also midrange travelers can opt for Ndutu lodge as they observe the migration. Those who are into the luxury basis can go for Mwiba lodge, which is located a few kilometers away from Ndutu area so private vehicles can be offered by the lodge to take you to the area to observe the migration.


By the end of March to early May, this is considered an off season for observing wildebeests and other animals at large because there are heavy rains in Tanzania by this time. The grass during this time grows so tall and also roads become hard to pass through since the soils are slippery.

At the start of May the grass is already reduced since the population of the animals is a lot, so they choose to migrate looking for more grass. Most of the wildebeests and zebras move to the North via Seronera and the West near Lake Victoria and Serengeti’s western corridor, by this time these areas have enough water and longer grass.

In April, there is a possibility of observing the migration and the better place to stay would be Kusini Camp but there are many tsetse flies so the other option would be Ndutu Safari lodge. Other facilities include; Serengeti Kati Kati camp, Osupuko tented camp, Serengeti Serena safari lodge, Serengeti wildlife lodge

We generally don’t advise you to travel during April and May.


Early June the wildebeests start to move westwards because there is no enough food where they were. They tend to move to River Grumeti, which is surrounded by a forest and in this forest there are lots of elephants, buffaloes and in the river are a number of hippos and big-starving crocodiles that are ready to eat the wildebeests that come to drink water from the river.

There are different places where one can stay and catch the migration. They range from luxurious lodges such as Sasakwa Hill Lodge, Faru Faru River Lodge and Sabora Plains Tented camp; while here you not only watch the migration but also can have drives off the road, wildlife viewing walks and night drives. Other accommodation facilities where to see the migration include; Kirarwa and Grumeti River camp but while here you cannot do night drives or off road drives.


By this time, the water and grass has totally reduced in Grumeti and in the Western Corridor so wildebeests start moving to look for more grassland. So there are chances of watching migration around the Singita Grumeti reserve in July but these chances reduce as the month ends.

At the end of July to mid October, the herds of wildebeests divide themselves into smaller groups residing in the North of Serengeti and in the Masai Mara, during this time if it’s a dry season the wildebeests gather around water bodies particular the Masai River, whereby this river also has hungry crocodiles ready to prey on those that come to drink water.

In mid to late October there are short rains; because of this the wildebeests start moving south of the Masai Mara in Kenya. So by this time the best place to view the migration is the Masai Mara though this reserve is smaller than the Serengeti. So while here, you will not only observe the migration but also you could visit the nearby Maasai communities that have been there for very many years.

During this period, you can observe the migration while staying at different lodges and Camps. Staying in northern Serengeti is advisable since most herds are there and also are in the Masai Mara. For those in need of a luxurious treat the Singita’s Mara River Tented Camp can work for you, another is Sayari camp which is a few minutes away from the wildebeest herds. Other accommodation facilities include; Nomad’s Lamai Camp, Lemala Kuria Hills, Olakira, Serian, Kimondo, and Governor’s Camp (found in the Mara) among others.


The rains continue throughout November so the wildebeests continue to move south and east. By December they start moving back to Southern Serengeti to the rich and short grasses. Most herds arrive by the end of December towards beginning of January which marks the end of that cycle.

Other areas in the Serengeti have tall grass growing at a fast rate hence making it difficult for wildlife viewing. So you are advised not to travel at this time of the year especially if you are interested in game safaris.

If you choose to travel during this time of the year, you can catch the migration while staying at Namiri Camp, staying in this area is an added advantage because it has different animals such as the cheetahs and lions. Nonetheless, it worth mentioning that because of these predators there are not many herds of wildebeests seen in this place. Also Klein’s camp could be better for viewing the migration but it has some tsetse flies.

After this cycle, the migration cycle begins again when the female wildebeests give birth to very many calves.

How the wildebeest migration works

Let’s start the annual cycle with the “short” and light rains in November and December (sometimes as early as October).

  • The rains fall on fertile volcanic soils which are remnant of the volcanoes in the southern Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • The result is short sweet grass which draws the migration rapidly south from Kenya’s Masai Mara. The migration moves down the eastern side of Tanzania’s Serengeti into these sweet short-grass plains.
  • The wildebeest settle in the southern plains between January and April as there’s lots of food.
  • In late March or April and May the “long” or heavy rains set in. The depleted southern plains are less attractive than the long grass plains up in the western corridor. As a result the wildebeest migration moves north westerly.
  • Large river crossings on the Grumeti and Mara Rivers occur as the migration heads back north towards the Mara. The season dries out and fresh grazing and water can be found in the far north. The Mara is usually at its best in August, September and October especially when it’s very dry.
  • Fresh rains start building around October into November. The migration gets restless as it anticipates the change in season. It moves north and south and back again. This is when we usually get the best river crossing action.
  • The cycle starts again when the short rains break and result in fresh sweet grass in the southern Serengeti plains. The wildebeest migration moves rapidly south.

How the wildebeest migration really works!

The theory is simple. Seasonal rains and the availability of grazing determines the “clockwise” movement of the migration. The larger eco-system includes Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. A few physical barriers like the Simiti and Lobo hills, the Grumeti and Mara rivers hinder and alter this “circular” path. Well in reality it’s not quite that simple!

For us to get a clear picture of what the wildebeest migration will be about, we are going to look at the birthing process and how the wildebeests come to life to start the long trek across the plains. The birthing process takes place between January and February with an estimate of over 300,000 to 400,000 calves born within a short interval of the other. The birthing of these calves mostly takes place on the slopes of the Ngorongoro crater mountain, the vast plains around Olduvai Gorge and Serengeti.

The birthing of the many calves bring about the prescience of the many predators like lions, leopards that mostly come out to hunt for the young ones who can hardly fend for themselves and they end up killing many especially those that don’t have the older animals protecting them. Much as many are killed during infancy, others grow and they become one of those that join in the great migration year after year.

These animals are believed to be moving towards a certain direction because they follow the weather and the March begins at the end of the month of March when the dry season starts in Serengeti National Park heading out to Masai Mara where the rains are abundant and the grass is enough for all the animals and these animals always stick together when they are traveling.

The animals walk miles and miles during this wildebeest migration and by visiting the two parks where the migration takes place, you get a clear view although you need to book early so that you get a clearer view since the place can be very crowded. During the migration you can also get to see other animals and bird species that are located in the area. The animals in the Serengeti national park can travel for more than 26000 square kilometers as they move from Serengeti to Masai Mara and then back to Serengeti.

Since the great wildebeest migration starts from Serengeti, we are going to be looking at the migration takes place and progresses month per month.

Arrival In Serengeti

The herds start arriving in Serengeti around November and December due to the start of the rains during this period. They settled around Ndutu area the North of Ngorongoro and the Seronera part which is south of Serengeti. The animals stay in this area through January to March and then spread throughout the Serengeti Park. Towards April, they start moving towards the Northern part of the park.

The animals start moving North in May while some of them move West wards in search of water and pasture. Tourists can easily see herds of animals in large columns moving to the Moru Kopjes and the North of Seronera.

The Rutting Season

When the rains start, many of the herds are seen heading to koppies and Simba. Between May and June, this is known to be the rutting season and many of the animals are mated in this period and they can be seen in the Serengeti western corridor and the shores of Lake Victoria. When the animals leave the western corridor, they head out to the Masai Mara in Kenya. In June the herds can be seen moving to the Western corridor near the Grumeti River. 

The herd congregates near the River for sometime in the south as they wait for others that were left behind. Once they are all in there, they cross the River in large numbers. The Grumeti River is famous for the numerous crocodiles that keep on feasting on the animals as they cross and the different channels that it has but still this does not stop the animals from crossing the Grumeti River and continue North wards.

The Wildebeest migration then continues to the North after crossing the Grumeti River in the months of July and August. During these months the herds separate as some of them head to the central part of Serengeti National Park while others head to Ikorongo and the Grumeti Reserve. While crossing the river, many animals lose their lives due to the predators that are found in the River and the wild currents.

The Mara River Crossing

In September, the herds cross over to the Northern part of the Serengeti National Park up to the Mara River. This is one of the hardest Rivers to cross and some animals can be seen struggling to cross the gushing Waters in the Mara River. This is a very spectacular view that you should not miss once you visit the Serengeti National park. And these animals can be seen crossing back to the south just after a few days.

Seemingly vicious fighting between dominant or territorial males takes place during the rut, though there is generally little actual violence or serious injury. And in spite of these energetic duels, the males have little say over their choice of mates, for it is the females who do the actual choosing.

Arrival In Masai Mara National Reserve

From the western part of Serengeti, the herds head north to Masai Mara in Kenya. The Wildebeests cross the Mara River and Grumeti Rivers before they reach the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The rivers at times are easy to cross but there are times when they become violent and end up killing many wildebeests. The Rivers mostly the Grumeti has crocodiles which await the animals as they cross the River leading to the loss of many of the wildebeests. 

The rivers have a lot of thick vegetation which may hide predators and yet the animals cannot change their course when it comes to trekking and therefore end up using the rivers even if they have the terror for water and predators. But despite all this, the crossing of these rivers is quite a sight that one cannot miss it.

When the animals reach the Mara River, they gather as they wait for the herds to increase and then cross at the same time. The crossing points for the animals differ every year and this may cause them to choose a suicidal place where hundreds of animals will drown.

Closing Of The Migration Cycle

In October, the Wildebeest migrate to the south, move throughout the southern part of Loliondo to the Lobo area in the Serengeti Park before returning to Serengeti in November and then the great migration begins all over again.

The wildebeest migration is a repeated cycle by the different animals that trek and it is done every year. When planning a safari, this is one place that you should not miss. The animals move according to weather and they have the routes that they use in their instincts because it is hard to find when they have changed the routes.

Where’s the best place to see the wildebeest migration? Kenya or Tanzania?

  • Each destination is good at completely different times of the year. The wildebeest migration is usually active in the Tanzania’s Serengeti for 9 months. It’s most active in Kenya’s Masai Mara for 3 months during August/September/October.
  • If you’re planning a migration safari then decide on either Kenya or Tanzania. Don’t think of combining or switching at the last moment on the cheap. Logistically it’s best to handle the Serengeti from Arusha and the Mara from Nairobi. This will help with decisions on beach breaks on the Kenyan coast or Zanzibar. Or other safaris into southern Tanzania or elsewhere in Kenya.

How to deal with the crowds

  • With the exception of a short period during the “long rains” around April/May visitors are always busy looking for the migration.
  • As a result of bad advice many people end up looking for the wildebeest migration in the completely wrong areas. There’s one spot in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor that’s on the migration path for about a week each year. That’s “maybe” around June. The area has poor resident game, has a lousy road network, is a 2 hour bone-jarring drive from the Seronera circuits but enjoys a 9 month “high season”. It’s practically full for 10 months of the year. (How crazy is that?!)
  • So when the migration is “on”, the right space is at a premium, prices are relatively high and advance bookings are essential.
  • If you’re too late to get the right space when you originally intended it’s better to postpone your safari plans to get the right space. Even if that means a delay for a year.
  • The Mara and Seronera areas have some big hotels and lodges so crowd density can be a problem. These hotels and lodges are generally full even when the migration is happening in a completely different area.
  • The really great thing about these big outfits is that they work to a formula. Same circuits, same timetables to ensure that their tourists “see the migration” then the tourists get fed, watered and to bed in time for the next day’s action. They do it all at the same time too.
  • The trick is to work with smaller outfits with the flexibility and real interest to get out into the bush before the hordes arrive. They’re happy to hold breakfast under a tree when the minibuses are doing their rounds. Then they spend time looking for quieter spots to catch the afternoons and early evenings without crowds.
  • The smaller outfits are a far better bet in both the Serengeti and Mara. Sometimes more expensive but definitely better value for money.

What are some interesting Wildebeest Facts?

Here are some interesting facts about Wildebeest: 

  • The name ‘wildebeest’ comes from the Dutch word meaning ‘wild beast’.
  • Thanks to the sound it makes, another name for a wildebeest is a Gnu.
  • An adult male wildebeest weighs 180kg (400lbs) and a female – 155kg (340lbs).
  • Wildebeest live around 20 years.
  • Females are pregnant for 250-260 days.
  • Calves can walk and run minutes after birth.
  • Calves can eat grass after 10 days but will drink milk for 6 months.
  • Wildebeest can reach a speed of 80km/50mph.
  • Wildebeest are often hunted by humans for their pelts and the meat is eaten, often in a dried and cured form called biltong.

Choose To Have A Combined Tour

The wildebeest migration is an amazing and an unforgettable experience for every traveler but you could choose to add a standard safari to the viewing of the Great migration. This involves various activities such as night game drives in the Serengeti, cultural encounters by visiting the Maasai communities, Serengeti hot air balloon rides, visiting the beautiful coastal sand beaches near the ocean, and many more things. Plan your safari with us! I addition this safari can be combined with other popular safari destinations both in Kenya and Tanzania among which are: the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park and even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Where To Stay For The Great Wildebeest Migration In Tanzania

While on a Tanzania Safari to see the Great wildebeest Migration that includes close to 2 million animals the most recommended type of accommodation is staying in any of the Serengeti mobile camps. during the year, these mobile camps have particular locations (which may be 2 or 3) where they are pitched or set up depending on the movement and location of the migrating herd to offer guests the best views of these animals. The advantage of staying at the mobile camps is that you will get a chance to stay very close to the animals and follow the herd. Some of the most prominent mobile camps in the Serengeti are the &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas and the Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp.

between July and November as well as from December to March, other mobile camps such as Kimondo Camp, Alex Walker’s Serian, Ubuntu migration camp and the Olakira Migration Camp also offer great accommodation however you should keep in mind that in the months of April, May and June these camps are normally closed so keep this in mind while booking your safari. Nonetheless, for the less adventurous travelers, you can choose to stay at any of the permanent lodges found in the Serengeti which will also give you a chance to see the great herd.

Wildebeest Migration Safari Cost

The matter of how much will it cost to see the great Serengeti wildebeest migration will depend on the number of days you plan to spend on your safari, which additional destinations you will be visiting as well as the type of accommodation you will use on your safari. 

In the table below are estimated prices for two (2) people highlighting the number of days on safari, destinations visited and cost of safari.

Safari Duration Safari Destinations Accommodation Safari Cost per person
8 Day Migration Safari Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Arusha National Park Mid Range lodges $7600 – $5400
8-Day Camping Serengeti Migration Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Highlands & Crater, Tarangire NP, Arusha Camping & budget Lodge $4,500 – $3,250
7 Day Tanzania Migration Safari southern Serengeti, Arusha & Serengeti National Park Luxury tented camps $7,200 – $5,150
6 Days Wildebeest Migration Northern Serengeti, Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha Mid Range Lodges $4,750- $4,150
5 Days Tanzania Migration Safari Lake Manyara NP, Serengeti NP, Ngorongoro Highlands & Crater, Arusha Luxury Lodges $4,500 – $3,250



Migration Timetable

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration:The Complete Guide

we are often asked lots of questions about the Serengeti wildebeest migration including “where is the best place to view, when is the best time of year and what is exactly is the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Tanzania?” So what is all the talk about the world’s greatest migration of mammals? Each destination is good at completely different times of the year. The migration is usually active in the Tanzania’s Serengeti for 9 months. It’s most active in Kenya’s Masai Mara for 3 months during August/September/October. If you’re planning a migration safari then decide on either Kenya or Tanzania. Don’t think of combining or switching at the last moment on the cheap. Logistically it’s best to handle the Serengeti from Arusha and the Mara from Nairobi. This will help with decisions on beach breaks on the Kenyan coast or Zanzibar. Or other safaris into southern Tanzania or elsewhere in Kenya.

Brief itinerary


8 Day Wildebeest Migration in serengeti Safari  by road –  $ 7,600 per person.

All about the Awesome 8 Days of the Africa Great Migration Adventure Safari.

8 days  Wildebeest migration adventure is an outstanding 7 nights 8 days Tanzania safari. It is a remarkable Tanzania wildlife expedition to explore Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater – the top destinations in the Northern tourist circuit. The main highlights of this enchanting Tanzania migration experience include observing millions of wildebeest, game drives to see the big five, bird sightings, and more.

Brief itinerary


8 Day Wildebeest Migration in serengeti luxury Safari –  $9,625 per person

Serengeti provides us with the stage for all our adventures on this wildlife extravaganza as we cover Tanzania’s most iconic national park in eight days. From Arusha, we depart first for the Western Corridor, an area fed by the Grumeti and Mbalageti rivers whose waters guarantee a constant presence of animals. After exploring with a series of enthralling game-drives, we move on to Central Serengeti, which could justifiably claim to be the ‘hub’ of the Serengeti’s wildlife-watching action. It will be hard to drag ourselves away, but our final destination, the Northern Serengeti, with a boundary to its north by the Mara river and then Kenya, will never disappoint.

Brief itinerary


7 day – Wildebeest Migration in serengeti

Discover wildlife in the Ngorongoro Region and the legendary great migration of wildebeest and zebra of the Serengeti. These are Tanzania’s most reputed game and sight-seeing locations. The Tanzania great migration safari is an incredible bush experience. The safari package takes in the following destinations.

Ngorongoro Region

Central Serengeti

7 days/6 nights

Highlights of the safari

Stay at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge in a great park location, between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater. Spend two nights in one of the well equipped cottages in the lush landscaped gardens. Central to the lodge is the swimming pool…  a great place to sit and relax before dinner.

Moving on to the Wild Frontier Serengeti Wilderness camp for 4 nights. Based in the Central Serengeti in the most spectacular park location with easy access to a dense concentration of wildlife. The camp has just 12 tents and offers a traditional ‘Out of Africa’ camping experience – chill and sip sundowners as the sun sets over the plains.

Ngorongoro Crater with an abundance of wildlife on the crater floor including wildebeest, black rhino, zebra, eland and lion (typically larger than the average lion due the prolific amount of game in the area),

excellent birding with 500 + bird species,

Big Five plus crocodile, hippo, leopard, and cheetah,

The Ngorongoro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Serengeti wildebeest migration,

visiting a local Maasai village,

excellent guides throughout the trip,

optional balloon drive over the Serengeti (booked and paid for locally). Taking off at sunrise, float above the magnificent Serengeti plains for aerial views of the wildebeest migration, with a glass of sparkling wine and fabulous amazing bush breakfast to follow.