On the endless plains of the Serengeti and deep into the spotted land of the Masai Mara the most massive animal herds on the planet move in a never-ending natural pattern in response to an undeniable imperative - the need to find fresh, nourishing grazing. This exceptional natural phenomenon is renowned as Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle. The thundering hooves of the herds and the enormous clouds of fine red dust they leave in their wake have become an icon of East African safari.
Throughout your safari you'll be traversing the vast eastern Serengeti - Ngorongoro plains and savanna woodland to search out everything from hungry crocodiles waiting for the mass wildebeest migration to cross the River, lions stalking their prey to leopards resting lazily on tree branches. Nights are spent at luxury, safari-style tented camps, completely surrounded by herds of zebras and wildebeest. Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are homes to the 'Big Five,' as well as cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles, and much more...
One of the greatest natural spectacles in the world, the annual movement of massive herds of wildebeest continues year-round in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and Kenya Masai Mara National Reserve. Please remember that the migration is weather-specific, and depends on the rain and when the animals decide to start the trek from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara or vice versa. As it can be difficult to pinpoint exact times, we suggest you reach out to Shrike's safari specialists in planning your departure dates.
For the wildebeest, only one place is truly home - the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti, from Lake Ndutu to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This is where they are born and where they seek to return whenever there is plentiful grazing. From December up to March, once the November rains create ample grazing, up to two million wildebeest can be found here.
The herds disperse throughout the central Serengeti, heading mostly in a north-western direction, towards the Western Corridor and the Grumeti River. Some will travel directly north, towards Seronera, while a few leave the Serengeti altogether.
The wildebeest encounter the first major obstacle in their quest—the Grumeti River. In dry years, the river is reduced to a series of pools and the herds can easily pick their way between the hippos and crocodiles in their depths. In wet years, the wildebeest are forced to plunge headfirst into waters inhabited by some of Africa's largest crocodiles.
The herds head north towards the lush plains of the northern Serengeti. The next set of spectacular river crossings takes place at the Mara River any time between July and October. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest may congregate on the banks of the river, gazing dreamily at the green grass on the other side but not one will make a move.
Most of the wildebeest are now in Kenya's Masai Mara, although some still remain in the Serengeti. As the rains shift from east to west, the herds may cross the Mara River repeatedly, following the life—giving rains and the green grass that springs up after them.
The herds now return to the place of their birth, the grassy plains of the southern Serengeti. Unlike their previous movements, the wildebeest do not wander off in smaller groups, but depart suddenly in a concerted movement, arriving in the south within just a few weeks.
By mid—December almost two million wildebeest will have returned to the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti.
Experience the wonder and immensity of the Great Migration on the vast plains of the Serengeti—witness great numbers of wildebeest calves being born within the space of a few weeks or watch in breathless wonder as the massed herds plunge into the swirling waters of the Mara or Grumeti Rivers.