The key events in the wildebeest migration are the crossings of the Mara River (take a look at this video) which happen between July and October in the Northern Serengeti and the calving that happens in February on the Southern Plains of the Serengeti. That said there are good reasons to visit the migration at any stage of it's progression around the serengeti eco-system. What's important is knowing where to go and what to expect at each time of year.
If you're interested in getting into the thick of the migration then the best way to do so is using a mobile camp which relocates seasonally to keep abreast of the migration. These vary from luxury seasonal camps to simple light camps. Whichever type of camp you choose, we place a firm emphasis on the quality of your game viewing experience providing a private 4x4 and an expereinced guide as standard. If you'd like to receive a trip proposal from us then do drop us an email or call is and we'll be happy to send you a no-obligation detailed itinerary.
When and where to see the migration
The first thing to understand about the migration is that it's on going, so there isn’t a quick answer to the question of "when is it" (other than "always"). The trick is working out the where AND the when. Over the year the animals move from their wet season range on the southern and eastern plains of the Serengeti, to the dry season habitat in the north of the park both north and south of the Mara River. It involves not only something in the region of 1 million wildebeest (estimates vary considerably year on year) but also an estimated 200,000 zebra and 400,000 gazelles.
While they do their best to look purposeful, the herds don't travel directly, but instead meander in a vaguely clockwise direction moving between the patches of fresh green grass that emerge in response to localised rain showers. It's difficult to predict exactly where the migration will be in a given month because movements depend so much on weather patterns and these can vary by as much as 3 months, which is why we think mobile camps are such a great idea. Very roughly this is how the migration moves:
December - March: Serengeti Southern Plains and Southern Loliondo for the calving (Feb-March)
April - May: Serengeti Southern Plains to the Central Serengeti for the start of the rut.
June - July: Serengeti Central to Serengeti Western Corridor, where they cross the Grumeti River
August to October: Serengeti Western Corridor to Northern Serengeti, where they encounter the Mara River
Posted by: Alex