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The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

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    Every single year, millions of wildebeests circulate throughout Tanzania during the Great Wildebeest Migration, following the rainclouds to greener grass plains. This annual migration is a natural phenomenon that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Tanzania!

    This event is so spectacular to witness, that you will dream endlessly of grassy plains and majestic wildebeest herds. It is officially the 8th Wonder of the World and it’s so powerful, giving a full representation of the circle of life, and we at Easy Travel are here to break it down for you.

    So buckle up for the most incredible safari experience, with hungry crocodiles, dramatic river crossings, calving season, and thousands of animals throughout Tanzania. This is The Great Migration, the greatest show on Earth.

    The great wildebeest migration: The greatest show on earth

    great wildebeest migration
    Tanzania - Why does the great wildebeest migration happen - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    The annual movement of the great wildebeest migration herds is believed to be a result of the change in weather seasons, although there is no scientific proof of this claim. Tanzania has two main seasons: the wet season and the dry season. 

    The rainy season comes with more rain than words could describe, resulting in lush green grass that herbivorous animals use as fresh grazing. Once the seasons begin to change, the rainclouds follow suit, resulting in a continuous movement of animals throughout Tanzania. 

    It does not take long for the great wildebeest migration herds to begin their search for fresh grazing lands before the cyclic season brings them back to greener pastures.

    When does the great wildebeest migration start

    great wildebeest migration

    Thousands of wildebeest herds resume their migration patterns roughly after March, soon after mating season and calving season have taken place. Remember, there are only major migration routes, not necessarily starting points. These are natural events and cannot be tracked perfectly. We give a month-to-month breakdown below.

    What month is the great migration in Tanzania

    Tanzania - What month is the Great Migration in Tanzania - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Well, that depends on what you’re after. This fluid and continuous, year-long journey is packed with a wide range of annual events, with popular river crossings through a crocodile-infested river to peaceful grazing times where nearly 8000 new calves are born each day.

    What is the best time to see the migration in Tanzania?

    Tanzania - What is the best time to see the migration in Tanzania - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Well, that’s dependant on what you’re wanting to see. June to July is an excellent time to see the migratory herds cross the Grumeti River, infested with crocodiles, whereas the beginning of the year offers a front-row seat to the calving season. Let’s take a look at a month-to-month breakdown!

    Month-to-month breakdown

    Tanzania - Month to Month Breakdown - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    So you are looking to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration? The good news is that it’s an easily accessible spectacle that can be enjoyed by travellers of all budgets and fitness levels. The bad news is that it’s a constantly moving event, making it hard to predict exactly where the herds will be at any given time.

    This guide provides a month-by-month breakdown of the Wildebeest Migration, so you can plan your trip accordingly. Keep in mind that these are generalisations only – for up-to-date information, it’s best to speak to a local safari operator.

    January – February – March

    Tanzania - January February – March - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    At around this time of the year, the migratory herd completes its revolution, moving into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area from Serengeti’s short-grass plains. Because of the nutritious grass in Ndutu, the massive herds of wildebeest begin their calving season. The newborn wildebeests are raised around the availability of grazing, and these months provide the best conditions. Nearly 400 000 new calves are born during this period, and so marks a good beginning point for the migratory circuit to begin once again.

    While the herds raise their newborns, predators (such as prides of lions) begin their hunt for food. Consider these months a great time to witness the cycle of birth and death – the circle of life – in full spectrum.

    April – May

    Tanzania - April – May - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Toward the end of March, the rainclouds begin to move towards Serengeti National Park, and so the herds begin to move to new plains in search of fresh food and water.

    On this route in search of fresh grass, columns of wildebeest stretch along the migration path for several kilometers, making these magnificent beasts look like a moving ocean on the surface of African plains.

    As May comes to an end, mating season begins, followed by thunderous battles between male wildebeest. If you come during May, you will be the spectator of this massive movement alongside zebras, gazelle, and the hungry crocodiles that await the herd at Grumeti River.

    June – July

    Tanzania - June – July - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    June marks the beginning of the dry season in Tanzania. The migration of wildebeest sends the herds marching alongside the south banks of the Grumeti River, preparing themselves to cross deadly waters that are teeming with crocodiles.

    As the end of June approaches, the herds move to the Northern reaches of Serengeti, slowly approaching the Mara River in Serengeti. The Mara river is the most dangerous crossing that these beautiful beasts will undertake, and perhaps the most humbling experience to witness on a safari. With the river in full flow and hungry crocodiles waiting patiently for their prey, the herds will face their most deadly challenge. The wildebeests overcome this massive challenge with what scientists are calling swarm intelligence: facing an obstacle as one massive entity.

    By July, the herds are found in Northern Serengeti, moving towards Masai Mara in Kenya.

    August – September – October

    Tanzania - August September – October - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    The deadly Mara River crossing will be approaching its end by this point. Crocodiles will have had their annual influx of prey, and the herds will be moving East.

    Short rains begin in October, and the migration of wildebeest marches on.

    November -December

    Tanzania - November – December - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    By this point, the wildebeest begin to circle back from Kenya and back into Eastern Serengeti. When December falls, the herds are stretched out all along the South and Eastern reaches.

    As the new year approaches, the heavy rainfall brings the green grass back to where it all started, and the cycle of the annual migration of wildebeest starts over.

    Let’s review the annual migration pattern of wildebeest:

    Tanzania - Lets Review The Annual Migration Pattern of Wildebeest - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari
    Event Date
    Calving Season January – February
    Breeding Season March – April – May
    Grumeti River Crossing May  – June
    Mara River Crossing July – August – September – October
    Moving Migration November – December
     

    Where are the best migration safaris?

    Migration Safari

    Easy Travel has been leading migration safaris for decades, and we have perfected our safari range to ensure that you witness the massive migration of wildebeest. We offer a variety of safaris which you can read about down below, and each one has a carefully crafted program designed to give you the experience of a lifetime. Let’s take a walk to explore some of the various safari options that are available throughout the year.

    Wildebeest calving season safari: 7 days

    Tanzania - Wildebeest Calving Season Safari 7 Days - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Available Dates: (Late) December, January, February, March

    As the long-distance migrations come to a standstill, the great female wildebeests begin giving birth. During this time, the rain falls over Serengeti, providing the herds with lush grass. When you come for the Wildebeest Calving Season Safari, you will witness one of the most profound events of birth, where nearly 8000 new calves are born every single day.
    The Safari Plan: You will arrive in Arusha where our professional safari guide picks you up to take you to your beautiful accommodation. The following day, you will spend two nights in Ndutu. From there, we embark on our journey into Central Serengeti for two nights and slowly end off in the Ngorongoro Crater for one night. Then, we head back to Arusha to catch your flight.

    Click here for more information on this safari package

    The average price for two people sharing the safari experience: $ 3500 per person.

    Migration safari: 6 days

    Tanzania - Migration Safari 6 Days - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Available Dates: April, May

    By this time of the year, the wildebeests are in Central Serengeti. If you want to witness the great and powerful Serengeti while the migration of wildebeest passes through, then this package is for you. Serengeti is the wildlife capital of the world, which encompasses a plethora of animals, including the Big Five of Africa.

    The Safari Plan: Our professional driver collects you in Arusha and takes you to our hotel. Then, on the following day, we begin our journey into Central Serengeti with an afternoon game drive. You’ll spend a total of 3 nights here in Serengeti, ending off the excursion with one night in Ngorongoro Crater.

    Click here for more information on this safari package

    The average price for two people sharing the safari experience: $ 2500 per person.

    Grumeti river crossing safari: 7 days

    Tanzania - Grumeti River Crossing Safari 7 Days - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Available Dates: (Late) May, June

    The wildebeest will be arriving in Western Serengeti by now. This is another fantastic package for a Serengeti Experience. You will be taken on multiple game drives throughout Western Serengeti, and one game drives through Central Serengeti. On this safari, you can expect to witness nature at its peak, with pride of lions on the horizon and marching elephants finding their way to a waterhole. While wildebeest river crossings are not scientifically predictable, you may be in for the show of a lifetime as many wildebeest will be attempting to cross the Grumeti River during June.

    The Safari Plan: You will be collected by our professional driver who will take you to your hotel in Arusha. Then, we fly to Western Serengeti where you will embark on a game drive to witness Africa’s beautiful wildlife. You’ll spend two nights in Western Serengeti and then two nights in Central Serengeti, followed by a night in Ngorongoro Crater.

    Click here for more information on this safari package

    The average price for two people sharing the safari experience: $ 3700 per person.

    Migration river crossing safari: 8 days

    Tanzania - Migration River Crossing Safari 8 Days - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Available Dates: (Early) July

    The migratory herds of wildebeest will be stretched between West, Central, and Northern Serengeti. This is the perfect time to come and witness Serengeti in its entirety, with the migration taking place before your very eyes. The herds will be encountering many dangerous rivers during this time, as well as other prey (lions, cheetahs, etc). This is the perfect safari to feel the breath of Africa.

    The Safari Plan: Because the herds are stretched from Northern Serengeti all the way through to Western Serengeti, we plan to take you to both. This way, you are ensured to witness the herds on the move, as well as the powerful Serengeti in all its might.

    Click here for more information on this safari package

    The average price for two people sharing the safari experience: $ 5000 per person.

    Mara river crossing safari: 7 days

    Tanzania - Mara River Crossing Safari 7 Days - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Available Dates: July, August, September, October

    The herds have finally arrived in Northern Serengeti where the deadly Mara River awaits, teeming with hungry crocodiles and deadly currents. The migrating wildebeest will attempt the most deadly challenge of the year at this river, where many thousands will perish. This is perhaps the most sought-after migration event of the year due to its vicious toll on the wildebeest herds.

    The Safari Plan: Our professional driver collects you in Arusha to take you to your hotel. Then, we fly to Northern Serengeti for two nights, followed by two nights in Central Serengeti and a final night in the Ngorongoro Crater.

    Click here for more information on this safari package.

    The average price for two people sharing the safari experience: $ 4200 per person

    There are so many different ways to experience the migration of wildebeest in Tanzania. If you would like to add any other national parks to your migration itinerary or create your own list of things to do, Easy Travel can help you craft the exact safari experience that you’re looking for. Contact us today to find out more about every option available.

    How far do wildebeest migrate?

    Tanzania - How far do Wildebeest Migrate - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    The entire migration loop is about 2000 kilometers long. The journey takes an entire year to complete and is an annual event. The migratory movements of the wildebeest are only predictable, not concrete, as they are following the most primal and powerful guidance: their instincts.

    During the course of their migration, 250 000 of them are killed by predators (such as lions, crocodiles, and cheetahs) along the way.

    Do the wildebeest migrate alone?

    Tanzania - Do The Wildebeest Migrate Alone - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    While there are millions of migrating wildebeests, they are accompanied by at least 250 000 zebra. The two animals travel together in harmony, following the rains for fresh grass and water.

    Why do wildebeests travel in herds?

    Tanzania - Why Do Wildebeests travel in herds - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Wildebeests travel in herds to protect one another from predators. Each herd is comprised of around 8 females, their respective calves, and a dominant male bull to protect them.

    The herds travel together, alongside zebras, because they protect one another. Zebras can see farther than wildebeests, who alert the herd when they spot danger. WIldebeests on the other hand can smell

    How powerful are wildebeests?

    Tanzania - How Powerful Are Wildebeests - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Wildebeests are said to be twice as powerful as a regular car engine. They can travel nearly 100 kilometers without drinking water and have massive muscle fibers. Their food-to-energy conversion is extremely efficient too, with two-thirds of their energy being used for endurance while one-third is used in omitting heat.

    Some final tips for planning your migration safari

    Tanzania - Some Final Tips For Planning Your Migration Safari - The Great Wildebeest Migration: A complete guide to a migration safari

    Book in advance

    It would be wise to book at least a year in advance for your safari. This ensures you have a variety of different options for lodges, itineraries, and other activities.

    Go without the masses

    We aren’t saying you need to be a hipster. What we are saying is that when you travel in small numbers, you will have more freedom to steer your safari and connect with our professional guides.

    End far far away

    After a tiresome yet mind-blasting week, you’ll need to deflate and recollect your senses. We recommend finding a reclusive type of accommodation as you end your trip.

    Getting you there

    The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most amazing natural wonders in Africa, a truly magical spectacle that Easy Travel has been a part of for over 35 years and counting.

    Our expert driver guides continue to master the tracking of the migration and will educate you every single step of the way as they follow the action as it happens, in a truly National Geographic moment that will leave you in awe at the sheer volume of wildebeest sailing across the Serengeti plains. 

    With a number of Migration tours available, and experienced booking specialists that can help you plan the best time to visit, we have you covered. 

    So what are you waiting for? Contact us today and start planning your experience of a lifetime.