The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland and impala. These move in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water.
The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year – here we explain how the broad pattern works.
This migration, month by month, is shown on the map below – the moving red represents the main herds.
For more information on the Serengeti migration area and the wildebeest migration, read on – see the month-by-month descriptions below, and the video below that.
The short rains begin around early November. A little after this, in late November and December, the herds of the wildebeest migration arrive on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. These are south and east of Seronera, around Ndutu and include the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Dispersed across these plains, wildebeest and zebra are everywhere – feeding on the fresh, nutritious grasses. They stay here through January, February and March, with most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February. Gradually they spread west across these plains, then around April they start their great migration north.
By May the Serengeti’s wildebeest all seem to be moving north, migrating to seek fresh grazing and water. The area around Moru Kopjes and west of Seronera is then hectic with a series of moving columns, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – joined by many zebra, and a scattering of Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles.
Some of the migration then moves due north of Seronera, but most usually moves further west. The wildebeest migration often stops around June on the south side of the Grumeti River, which has several channels that impede or slow its migration to the north. Wildebeest congregate in the Western Corridor, often at high densities before crossing the river. Rivers here are usually a series of pools and channels, but not continuous. The Grumeti River offers an annual feast for its large crocodiles, but these are usually less spectacular than the Mara River that crosses it to the north.
Wildebeest migrations migrate further north in July and August, often spreading over wide fronts. Some travel through Grumeti Reserve and Ikolongo, some travel north through the heart of Serengeti National Park.
In September the herds disperse across the northern Serengeti, with the Mara River presenting the greatest obstacle to movement. The river flows through the northern Serengeti from the Maasai Mara Game Reserve bordering Kenya. Watching a frenzied herd of migratory wildebeest crossing the Mara River is quite spectacular. There are often scenes of great panic and confusion. It is not uncommon for herds to cross the Mara River north in a day and then back south again a few days later.
In October, wildebeest herds move peacefully again. All migrate south, through western Loliondo and the Lobo area of the Serengeti National Park, before returning to green shoots after rains in the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti. in November. Then the Serengeti wildebeest migration begins again…
The endless plains, tranquility, endless scenery and stunning wildlife of the Serengeti make for a once-in-a-lifetime African Safari experience. The Serengeti is one of the few places in Africa with spectacular wildlife viewing around AD. Of course, one of the main attractions of the Serengeti is the wildebeest migration. 4,444 wildebeests, zebras and gazelles roam the savannah in search of fresh grass. If this migration is the reason for his journey, it’s important to know when and where the herd is.
December to March
The southern Serengeti is an ideal location for this time of year. Half a million calves are born on the southern plains from late January to March. It’s your chance to see the herd’s fresh start before they begin ‘s long journey to the Masai Mara. . This is also a great time for bird lovers, as many birds have migrated from Europe to East Africa.
April-May The herd migrates into the long grasslands of central and western Serengeti. Long rains begin and ‘s rutting season begins. Wildebeest bulls can be very noisy, territorial and active. After months of feeding on nutrient-rich weeds, they are in great shape.
June to August
Beginning of the long dry season. The herd concentrates in the few remaining green spaces in Savannah, forms and migrates further north. After a long trek lasting four months, these animals have to drink water and eat grass. The herd prepares for the most difficult part of the journey, 4,444 river crossings. Wildebeests and zebras tend to grow into huge herds before crossing the Grumeti River. isn’t as dramatic as North Crossing, but the river is teeming with alligators, so there’s plenty of drama. Survivor continues north of the Serengeti. There, even worse challenges await. Mara river. The herd must outmaneuver giant Nile crocodiles and fast-moving water before confronting predators waiting on the other side. This is a striking and dramatic depiction of how the food chain works.
The annual Mara crossing begins as early as June and as late as August, depending on rainfall. After , the river-crossing herds split into smaller groups. Part of the group will remain in the northern Serengeti, while the rest of his 4,444 will head to Kenya’s Masai Mara.
When the rains begin, most herds return south through the Serengeti for lush new grass. To see wildebeest, head to the east side of the Serengeti and in the center he Seronera area.
The Serengeti is one of the few places in Africa where spectacular wildlife viewing is possible all year round. Huge herds of 4,444 grazing animals are everywhere, predator numbers are high, and he has nearly 3,500 lions in the area. Africa’s Big Five can also be found in abundance here