Movements of the Migration
Understanding when and where to see the herds
During the annual migration, millions of wildebeest and zebra follow the rains circulating around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya to the North, seeking fresh grazing pasture. At various points they must make perilous river crossings to continue on their journey (when safety in numbers is popular) and one of the highlights for many avid safari goers planning to visit East Africa is to witness this sight. These can be surprisingly illusive, but the best chance to see this spectacle generally occurs between late June and August, making this the peak season for visiting. During this time, it therefore makes best sense to book lodge accommodation either near the Grumeti or Mara Rivers – tented accommodation will often move with the migration (a few times a year, not daily!).
However, if a river crossing is not your priority (as it can be hectic as they take on steep river entries / exits and crocodiles lurk) and you are keen on just seeing the herds in their masses, there are other more cost-effective months in which you can travel. See below our month-by-month summary of Movements of the Migration. However please note every year brings slight changes to patterns due to the increasingly unpredictable timings of the rain.
The herds are usually within the Southern Plains region of the Serengeti, known as the Ndutu region. However this is subject to the rains not being delayed or coming to early. The vast open area is home to the numbers as they graze before welcoming the births of thousands of calves usually due mid February.
The main month of calving for the Wildebeest and Zebra – which offers some unique opportunities to actually witness a birth. The harsh reality is that the predators are fully aware too – so ever the opportunist – they take full advantage to prey on the young and vulnerable making for a unique circle of life experience.
The herds are still within the Southern Plains whilst families settle with the new arrivals, gaining strength in grazing the short grasses before they begin to move.
The herds now begin to move west towards the Seronera regions of the Serengeti.
By this month the herds start to move north, seeking fresh grazing and water, moving in to the Western Corridor.
Most of the game is now within the West of the Serengeti, bar a few stragglers who may still be making their way across. By late June you should be able to see larger herds forming as they get ready to cross the Grumeti River.
The herds continue to cross the Grumeti River and spread out into both into the Northern Serengeti Region and Grumeti Reserve.
The herds are now within the most Northern Regions of the Serengeti, as they come together again before crossing the Mara River and into Kenya.
Most of the wildebeest and zebra can now be found within the Masai Mara National Park, however a few thousand can still be seen within the Northern regions of the Serengeti.
The animals are generally fairly static this month, whilst they enjoy grazing within the Masai Mara National Park.
The herds begin to move again and they start to head South along the Eastern borders of the Serengeti– once again following the rains.
The herds are fairly spread out between the Central and Southern regions of the East side of the Serengeti and they continue to graze South.
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