The first thing that comes to mind when you think about traveling to Africa is the abundant wildlife in their natural habitats. And that’s true. The continent boasts an incredible selection of animals, including some of the rarest species on earth. What’s more, something interesting happens every year – millions of wildebeests and thousands of zebras move from Kenya to Tanzania across the Mara River. The move, commonly referred to as the Great Migration, is a pure world spectacle that you would never want to miss.
The Great Migration is one of the most highly sought-after travel experiences in the world; it is a unique chance to witness the power of nature at work, plus a firsthand view of Earth’s most beautiful wildlife.
Best spots to see the migration
The migration happens across the ecosystem that includes the Serengeti plains in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya, and takes place annually in a circular procession of thundering herds. As the migration is a natural process that depends on the environmental factors, weather, timing, the animals themselves, and route (from Serengeti via the Western Corridor to the Masai Mara and back), the roadmap is more of estimation than a fact.
The time of year that you choose to witness the Migration will largely dictate the kind of experience you will have, as at different times throughout the journey there are exciting milestones and dramatic river crossings and mass births of thousands of calves within days of each other.
Best times to go
If you are traveling from December to April, the best place to view the animals is in the southern Serengeti, around the Ngorongoro Conservation and Ndutu area. If you visit in February, you will also see mother wildebeests giving birth.
When the eastern plains of the Serengeti dry out between May and June, these animals will start to move north and west. Some will pass through the Western Corridor (and across the Grumeti River) before heading north, while others proceed via Seronera Area or through Loliondo Area into Lobo.
July to November is perhaps the best time to see the migration. The wildebeest migrate into Masai Mara between July and August, crossing the Mara River. In fact, this is one of the highlights of the Great Migration. Between October and November, the animals start heading back to Tanzania.
Other things to do
Other than witnessing the Great Migration, an African safari will give you the chance to meet the local Masai naturalists as well as the members of the Hadza tribe. This is a perfect time to interact with the locals and get to learn a thing or two about their culture.