All around the world, one of the greatest phenomena that happens in Africa is always on the lips of every wildlife enthusiast and tourist. Every year, towards the East of the continent, visitors, both local and international flood the area just to experience one of the most wondrous and beautifully staged spectacle directed by nature. This spectacle is popularly known as The Great Migration.

Masai Mara Wildebeest migration receives a lot of attention globally. Top wildlife enthusiasts travel miles to come and capture on film the whole thing as it happens. Half way around the world, visitors spend a fortune to come and take home memories of sheer spectacle. Locally, domestic tourists are busy booking their reservations early enough, despite the fact that prices have almost doubled. Everyone wants to be part of the audience ready to see the greatest show on earth.

What is the Great Migration? Where does it take place? When? Why? By who? If you find yourself asking these questions, then we hope that by the end of this article you will have a solid answer to those questions.

Great Migration setting.

This wondrous of a show takes place in the massive savannah plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the vast green fields of the Maasai Mara in Kenya. It is important to notice that these two border each other making it the perfect stage for the show. This ecosystem can be divided into three parts, the southern grass plains of Serengeti that have endless, wide-open plains, the western Serengeti corridor that has the Grumeti river and the northern Serengeti, which merges with the Mara is largely rolling hills and open woodlands.

Partakers of the wildebeest Migration.

For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear The Great Migration is Wildebeests upon Wildebeests. They are right, Wildebeests are the dominant animals, but aside from them, you will also come across large herds of Zebras and Gazelles. The numbers of these animals stand at 1.5 million. That means the migration consists of the movement of 1.5 million animals from southern Serengeti to the Northern part/Mara. This is quite a movement!

When and why does the Great Migration happen?

The Great Migration is an annual circle of life. Wildebeests, Gazelles and Zebras move through the Serengeti to the Mara and back in a year, and the cycle repeats itself. What motivates their migration? Food. They start of at the south, move to the western side then to the north and back to the south again. As each place dries up, they move to the next. According to observations of all the previous years, the pattern has been found to be (but not strictly) as follows:

Late December to March: The herds are beginning to move back to the South of Serengeti from the north. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south is now populated by short nutritious grasses. This provides the favorable environment for the herds to have their calves. Mid-February is actually considered a calving season, an estimated 400,000 calves are born during this period. It is also an interesting period for those who love game, as the calving season attracts a good number of lions, cheetahs and hyenas to the herds.

Late March to Early May: The herds begin migrating towards the north as the rich nutritious grass is now not sufficient to sustain the endless herds. They split and some move towards the central of Serengeti but the most migrate towards the western corridor. At the beginning of June, the herds are concentrated around Grumeti River in the West. They reside here for the three months as they wait to proceed north.

July-October: By late June, things are beginning to dry up. The herds begin moving to their next destination point, the North/The Mara. You can still catch wildebeest migration around the western side during the early times of the month but the chances become slimmer as you move into the other months. Because the herds are split, the migration can be spread over huge distances. The zebras might be the first to arrive in the Mara followed by the Wildebeests later on. The Mara River is towards the northern side and the most spectacular river crossing awaits during this period. Game watching is fantastic during this time with almost guaranteed daily river crossing, with hungry crocodiles present in the rivers.

November/December:  The herds begin to move towards the southern part of Serengeti with its short green grass, and to begin another cycle again.

Fun facts about the Migration.

  • The pattern is not always predictable. The herd movements are always triggered by the rains, so the rain pattern then can help tell the movement. It is not always safe to assume that the herds follow a strict pattern.
  • The herds are not always running. Sometimes it is a long day of herds just lazily grazing. There is no telling when they start to move, but when they do, you are likely to be left in awe.
  • The herds do not move in one large herd. They split up, some smaller than others. You can be able to experience more than one herd crossing the rivers from different directions.
  • The migration carries with it a lot of action. The predators are always lying around waiting for an opportune moment. If you are lucky, you may witness the action packed moment of a predator bringing down its prey.


So what are you waiting for? It is July already. The movement is heading North. Book the remaining slots with our Masai Mara package and enjoy one of the world’s phenomenal movements. For 3 days @ ksh 13,900pp and usd 180pp for non residents http://bountifulsafaris.com/migration-safaris