The annual wildebeest migration of herds in northern
Tanzania and Kenya is one of the world's most
spectacular wildlife events. Often referred to as the
'Greatest Show on Earth', The Great Wildebeest Migration
is a movement of approximately two to two and a half
million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle throughout the
Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems.
Maps and illustrations showing the path of the migrating
herds should be used as a general guide and a good way
to choose the location of your hotel, camp or lodge.
However, as with anything in nature, the actual day to
day pattern is unpredictable. Wildebeest are remarkably
If your wish is to safari at the heart of The Great
Wildebeest Migration, it is advisable to book one of the
Serengeti's famous mobile camps. Two in particular set
themselves apart from the others for their commitment to
keeping up with the herds - Nomad Tanzania's Serengeti
Safari Camp and &Beyond's Serengeti Under Canvas. These
are the two mobile operations which we consider truly
mobile and will be located near or amongst the herds at
any time of the year. There are then the mobile camps of
Alex Walker's Serian and Asilia's Olakira which offer
superb mobile operations from July to November and also
from December through to March. For the rest of the year
these two fabulous camps are closed.
If going mobile is a little too adventurous for you,
then choosing one of the Serengeti's permanent lodges is
the best way to have all the comfort you need and also a
good location for the herds on your Tanzania safari.
Below is an overview of the movement of the herds, where
we also give the names of the best permanent lodges to
stay in during that time of year.
A general guide to the Wildebeest migration
The Southern Serengeti's huge grass plains extend into
the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From December to March
the Great Migration congregates around Lake Ndutu in the
Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When it reaches the area
the herd splits up and spreads out leaving wildebeest
herds as far as the eye can see. Ndutu Lodge and Kusini
are the only permanent lodges in the area. Kusini is
best towards the end of the period whereas Ndutu Lodge
for its entirety. Asilia's Dunia Camp is also a good
option at the beginning of December and again when the
herds push North in March.
the Wildebeest migration moves north into the plains of
the southern Serengeti with front runners stretching out
to the Western Corridor and centre of the park at
Seronera. Asilia's Dunia Camp is a great option for this
time as are any of the central Serengeti hotels such as
the Serena or Sopa. Early herds may well have pushed up
to the Grumeti River Camp, Kirawira and Mbalageti Lodge
area of the Western Corridor.
At the end of
there are wildebeest herds spread from the Western
corridor through the heart of the park. One group tends
to head West into the Western Corridor and crosses the
Grumeti River before leaving the park and entering the
exclusive Singita Grumeti Reserves. This herd will then
head up through the Ikorongo game reserve on the
Serengeti's Western corridor before the front runners
arrive into the Kogatende area in
The other herds head directly to the north of the
Serengeti, passing straight up the middle through
Seronera, Lobo and up to the Bologonja river area near
the Eastern border with the Loliondo reserve at Kleins.
It is true to say that at this time herds can be
anywhere from the Western corridor through to the
Eastern side of the park. Splinter herds will break from
the main herds, covering huge areas in their search for
fresh grasses. We would recommend Grumeti River Camp,
Faru Faru, Sasakwa, Sabora, Mbalageti Lodge and Kirawira
for the Western corridor, whereas some herds will have
pushed up as far as Migration camp in the Northern Lobo
area. Late July will see any of the Kogatende permanent
lodges having good herds - Serengeti Lamai and Sayari
Camp being the places to go towards the end of July.
the herds are in the Northern Serengeti at Kogatende as
well as in Kenya’s Masai Mara. River crossings often
happen daily here with Kogatende being an exceptional
location to its vastly lower numbers than the Mara.
Given that the herds are simply following local
rainfall, some move north, some move south… and many
move in both directions in the same day. The sprawling
ball moves in a circular fashion throughout these months
– it is a fantastic time of year to see the herds.
the herds start their second ‘Great Migration’ South
towards the fertile lands of the Ndutu plains where the
rains will have rejuvenated the grasses. This is a
fairly difficult time to catch the mega hard as they
move vast distances every day.
But by the beginning of
Ndutu starts seeing the herds return to calve, and for
the whole process to start all over again.
With all this said…..wildebeest are not exactly the most
predictable of animals! The Migration is dependant upon
rain with the herds constantly searching for fresh
grasses. As a result, it is a challenge to predict where
best to stay. Choosing a camp on your Tanzania
safari that is located in the right area at the right
time of year will clearly increase your chances, but the
best way to try and catch the herds is to stay in the
Serengeti’s famous mobile camps – which move with the