Serengeti National Park migration is the movement of vast numbers of wildebeests and grazers including zebras and gazelles. The Serengeti National Park is an annual pattern which has over 1 million wildebeests and thousands of grazers including gazelles, zebras, impala and eland moving in cycles all throughout the year, with the most amazing spectacle being the iconic river crossings at the Grumeti River and Mar River; which see the animals trying to survive the crocodiles and other predators like lions and leopards. The Serengeti National Park migration is fairly predictable, and can be seen in the various parts of the Serengeti plains in different times of the year.
The great wildebeest migration starts in the southern Serengeti plains with the calving season where hundreds of thousands of calves are birthed by wildebeest, within a couple of weeks of each other. When the drought or the dry spell sets in Serengeti National Park, herds of wildebeests and other grazers move northward towards the Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya, devouring large grounds of green grass. The Serengeti National Park migration is not without risk: over 3000 crocodiles infect the Grumeti and Mara Rivers which the great migration herds have to face. It is this iconic river crossings of the Grumeti River and Mara River that is quite a spectacle to behold. Apart from the ruthless crocodiles in the waters, there are predators at the shore like prides of lions and leopards among others patiently waiting for their next kill. It is indeed a survival of the fittest this the Great Migration is. Watching a pack hyenas, or pride of lions hunting down a wildebeest is a spectacle that you should look forward to watching should you chance to visit Serengeti National Park during the Great Migration season.
After crossing to the Masai Mara National Reserve and devouring the lush green grass there, with the short rains in October the Great migration starts to return to Serengeti National Park and by December the huge herds of wildebeests trek past the Seronera area and yet again continue with the calving season.
Serengeti National Park Migration Time
Most travellers when planning a Serengeti National Park do look to include the Serengeti National Park migration in the safari plan. To ensure that you do get to witness the Serengeti national Park migration at its best, it is imperative to coincide your Serengeti National Park holiday with a cycle of the Serengeti National Park migration. It is however important to know that in spite timing your Serengeti National Park holiday with the great migration, the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park is nothing but a natural spectacle whose occurrence at your time of visit is not guaranteed. The Great Migration is the world’s largest land migration, with almost 2 million wildebeests and other herbivores including zebras, gazelles, impalas and elands among others, crossing to the Masai Mara national reserve Kenya. The Serengeti National Park migration cycle is broken as below;
December – April
This period is the calving season of the great migration in Serengeti National Park. The main calving grounds are in the southeast of Seronera are stretching all the way to the Ndutu area near Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The great migration sticks around this part of the park till around the end of April at the end of the long rains. This part of the park is much easily accessed and with the lush beautiful green, the landscape on top of the witnessing the calving season is a great place and time to visit. With the busy calving season comes the huge population of predators and cats in the areas from where the calving is taking place. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas among others can be seen taking advantage of the weakness of the calves and new mothers to prey on the animals. Sights of predators enjoying their kill are quite common here.
May – July
This time during the migration with the wildebeests having devoured al the green grass of the south eastern part of the Park and having ended the calving season, do look to start their 800km trek. The starting time of the trek is unpredictable, but can be any time from late April and early June through July. This is the perfect time to chance to witness a natural spectacle, moving towards the western corridor from where they get to face their first major obstacle: the Grumeti River crossing. This is a survival of the fittest experience for the wildebeests and other herbivores, as the oversized crocodiles in the waters await to devour them as they attempt to cross. The migration may choose to congregate on the southern bank of the river and stay for about two weeks before crossing the river, still posing vulnerability to the predators on shore.
August – September
The survivors of the Grumeti River crossing yet again have to face the hardest obstacle to their paradise on the other side: the Mara River crossing. It is from the Mara River that many iconic river crossings of the Serengeti National Park migration pictures have been taken. The Serengeti National Park migration has the wildebeests and other animals crossing the Mra River to Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya. Smaller herds are seen staying at the shores, and some slowly crossing to the Maasai Mara National Reserve as well.
October – November
This period has the great wildebeest migration returning to Serengeti National Park through the Lobo area, returning to the short grass plains and start the calving season shortly after, continuing with the Serengeti National Park migration cycle yet again.
When to visit for the Serengeti National Park migration
Whilst the Serengeti National Park migration is an annual occurrence that moves in cycles, timing of the exact moments of the iconic river crossings is quite hard; it is only by chance that you get to experience this. Choosing to travel at the right time however highly increases your chances of witnessing the great migration, with December through May being the best time to visit the Ndutu are, May to July being the best time to visit the Western corridor, and the Serengeti-Mara rea from July to October, while the Lobo area is best visited in the months of October and November. Get in touch with a knowledgeable tour consultant to help you curate an amazing Serengeti National Park migration safari for an opportunity to witness one of the most unforgettable wildlife experiences.