The Great Migration
Behold one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world, where over two million wildebeest, zebra and other grazing herbivores sweep through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem on a 480-kilometre circuit in pursuit of greener pastures. This is one electrifying experience that you will never forget and definitely worthy of its title ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.
Experiencing the Great Migration firsthand is surely on every safari-goer's bucket list, and quite rightly so. After all, it is the oldest and largest land mammal migration in the world. Seeing the herds run the gauntlet of predators on land and in the water, in wait for this annual feast, is a sight to behold. But since the herds are always on the move, being at the right place at the right time is key. So get in touch with our Africa specialists to know when and where to join these fascinating grazers on their adventure, and let us plan your dream migration safari!
Watching the drama unfoldJanuary to April: In addition to the renowned river crossings during the Great Migration, there is the calving season – a secret season many are not aware of – a special time when the herds gather on the southern Serengeti plains and give birth to half a million wildebeest calves over a period of three to four weeks between January and March. Delight in watching day-old calves bonding with their mothers, but also expect action-packed game drives as you bear witness to predators taking full advantage of the baby boom. The lush green landscapes and the high speed hunts by the Serengeti’s big cats and their young predators-in-training certainly make for fantastic wildlife photography and a thrill you will not easily forget.
May and June: The epic journey kicks off again as the herds leave the southern plains and march north to the central Serengeti. This is also the rutting season where wildebeest bulls get into testosterone-fuelled fights for dominance and the right to mate. Experience a flamboyant show of clashing horns, buzzing grunts and comical antics as more than half a million cows mate over during this time. Bring your ear plugs as the loud grunting is a 24/7 affair.
June and July: The herds move further north and cross the Kenyan border into the Masai Mara. Just like the calm before the storm, massive groups of wildebeest pause on the banks of the powerful Mara River, building up their courage to take the plunge. Suddenly, a brave wildebeest makes the first move and the rest follow – hurling themselves into the water. Some may get crushed and drown in the chaos, while others may get eaten by the hungry crocodiles lying in wait. Most will prevail but the drama continues as the injured or exhausted survivors get picked off by opportunistic big cats and hyenas on the opposite riverbank. This is what dramatic wildlife documentary scenes are made of and witnessing this firsthand will take your breath away.
July to October: More herds continue their journey north, crossing into Kenya's Masai Mara. With each crossing, there is a sense of calm before the storm as massive groups of wildebeest stall hesitantly on the banks of the powerful Mara River, building up the courage to take the plunge. Patience is a virtue here for both hungry crocodiles and wide-eyed tourists eagerly waiting to capture this dramatic wildlife spectacle. Suddenly, a brave wildebeest makes the first move and the rest follow – hurling themselves into the water. Some may get crushed and drown in the chaos, while others may get eaten. Most will prevail but the drama continues as injured or exhausted survivors get picked off by opportunistic big cats and hyenas on the other side.
When the dust finally settles, the herds enjoy the productive grasslands of the Masai Mara. This lottery of life and death can be hard for some to watch, but the raw agony and ecstasy of survival is what makes the Great Migration an absolute marvel to behold. Exactly what time and day the river crossings occur is anyone’s guess, and the herds often change their minds, going back and forth on the same day; hence, we always encourage clients to allow more time in this area for a better chance of witnessing this awe-inspiring spectacle at least once, if not two or more times if you are lucky!
November and December: As storm clouds gather over the southern Serengeti plains, the herds return to their verdant and fertile breeding grounds, ready to welcome the next generation. The cycle of life repeats itself.
Permanent camps/lodges:There are a small number of permanent camps and lodges in the key areas through which the migration travels, offering an elevated level of luxury with trimmings like plunge pools, Wi-Fi, spa treatments, etc. As you already know by now, location is vital. So leave it to your A2A safari specialist to help you pick outstanding camps or lodges in prime locations, ensuring that you can enjoy easy access to the herds.
Related Activities in The Great Migration
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.