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Wildebeest Migration

Africa's supreme wildlife spectacle, the Great Wildebeest Migration is the story of three million animals’ relentless journey across the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti. A constantly evolving drama between predator and prey, this is nature at its visceral best.

As a sensory overload there’s little to match Africa's wildebeest migrations. The all-encompassing, constant noise, the dust in the air, the smell of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest on the move. You can quite literally feel the earth vibrating through the soles of your feet, see water trembling in your glass. Periods of calm erupt without warning into extreme tension as the animals travel in search of life-giving water and fresh green grass. It’s an awesome spectacle.

When and where to see the wildebeest migrations

The most famous of these migrations occurs in the Serengeti when the animals swarm up from southerly areas of Serengeti National Park up to the Maasai Mara in the north. With the weather directing the herds in their never-ending search for grass, you can enjoy this spectacle year-round.

The exact movement of the game is hard to predict but by mid-July the herds will be moving north into Kenya’s Maasai Mara. This is when you have the chance to witness the iconic river crossings: masses of animals plunging down river banks into a crocodile-filled thrashing maelstrom! This is the event most commonly associated with the migration, but each month offers a different experience. Calving occurs in the south at the beginning of the year at which time you'll see newborn calves and zebra foals getting mobile during the long rains around Easter. After their summer in the Mara, catch the return to Tanzania in the far north of the Serengeti at Lamai.

January to March

The migration has been making its way south over the Christmas and New Year period, heading for the short grassy plains of the Southern Serengeti. This is peak foaling season for Zebra foals, and as we move into February you’ll see the arrival of half a million wildebeest calves. Ndutu, the southern concessions of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation area are the places to be.

Serian's Serengeti South, Tanzania

The southern plains are at their best from Mid December to May when the area is inundated with over a million wildebeest. Serian South is made up of just 8 meru style tents; it’s a stylish and authentic bush camp in a great location. The bonus of having your exclusive vehicle with private guide and spotter team give you a front row seat over calving season.

Mwiba River Lodge, Tanzania

Set in the 51,000 acre private wildlife reserve on the southern border of the Serengeti National Park, Mwiba is a luxurious lodge set seamlessly within the giant granite boulders along the Arugusinyai River. Benefit from the great freedom offered by a concession area: spend time on foot tracking big game and head out at night to catch the nocturnal action.

Nduara Loliondo, Tanzania

Nduara is a seasonal camp providing direct access to the Loliondo Plains and the wildebeest calving grounds. The design reflects the nomadic culture of the area through the uniquely designed Yurts which form the dining and lounge tents. Accommodation is in more typical meru style tents. This is an active camp where walks are operated by the Maasai warriors and days can be full of adventure. However, you could just as easily slip into a relaxed daily rhythm and soak in this remarkable area.

April to May

The rains have hit, walls of water have swept across the vast savannah dumping millions of gallons onto the rich fertile soil, the landscape transforms and the game floods into the central area. Seronera is a moving mass of millions of animals, the Moru Kopjies are a hot spot and as the season moves on the Western Corridor and Grumeti plays host to the herds.

Dunia Camp, Tanzania

Tucked along a quiet valley off the plains to the south of Seronera, Dunia Camp is in a great location to experience the migration at one of its most impressive times of year. Endless herds spread beyond the horizon in every direction. Asilia, operators of Dunia Camp, set a very high standard for their guides; some have been working here for many years and add to the safari experience with their phenomenal experience and sharp sense of humor!

Wayo Africa, Tanzania

Wayo focus on a high quality wildlife experience and a light footprint on the bush. This low-impact eco safari camp operates across the Serengeti, but over these months is firmly in the central region. A back to basics camp with a great team of staff and guides, Wayo are one of the few operators with a set-up allowing you to explore the wilderness areas near Seronera on foot, escaping the often over-populated game-drive circuits at this time of year.

June

June can be a hard month to predict, the migration is rarely still for any length of time, it's entering the dry season in the Serengeti and the herds begin to move north. Up through the Grumeti, sometimes swinging back through central and up to Lobo, gearing up for Kenya. In 2014 the herds briefly crossed into the Mara before swinging back south. It’s a fascinating time of year and may be worth splitting your stay between the west or central parts of the Serengeti with the far north to hedge your bets.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

We don’t think there’s a better view in Africa than that from Singita Sasakwa! The Serengeti plains extend endlessly across the 350,000 acre Grumeti Reserve in the western edge of the ecozystem. Thought of by many as the most luxurious lodge in Africa, Sasakwa also delivers a feast of incredible wildlife and diverse activities. It’s a see it to believe it kind of a place.

Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, Tanzania

This tented camp is set in a beautiful location, along the river bank in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. A remote location that is perfectly positioned for the arrival of the migration on route through the Grumeti. This is a place of lesser known river crossings, away from the crowds of later in the year further north. A beautiful and unique safari experience with fantastic staff and guiding.

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Singita Sabora has been designed in the style of a 1920s explorer’s camp. This is tented safari at its most glamorous and luxurious. Enjoy day and night game-drives, and head out on walking safaris with your expert Singita guides. You’ll be blown away by their knowledge and passion for the environment in which they work. When the big herds arrive you get the chance to witness one of nature’s greatest events from your doorstep.

July to mid-October

Now’s the time to be near the rivers and permanent water of the Mara. In the Serengeti you need to be north, in the area around Kogatende or across the river in the Lamai Wedge – river crossing here in July and August are almost guaranteed with many kilometers and multiple crossing sites to choose from. The predators of Kenya’s Mara are enjoying their seasonal glut, and the crocodiles are growing fat. One of the most dramatic events in the animal kingdom, an experience not for the faint-hearted, it is pure drama and at times a brutal story of life and death.

Naibor, Kenya

It’s all about location at Naibor, you’re on the southern bank of the Talek River, giving quick access to the southern plains of the Maasai Mara and the crossing points of the Mara River. Beat the crowds by getting to the river first, or leaving last. A beautiful bushcamp in a fantastic location, Naibor is one of our top picks throughout the year, really coming into its own over the migration months.

Mara Plains, Kenya

Each room comes equipped with a state of the art Canon slr and a pair of Swarovski binoculars, you’re going to need them at Mara Plains. Vast tented suites on raised decks in a location within the Mara North Concession which will blow your mind. The guiding is of the highest quality and the safari experience has been crafted by a team who truly get what the Maasai Mara is all about.

Nomadic Encounters Mara House, Kenya

A firm favorite with the Scott Dunn Africa team, the Mara Bush Houses are a unique option in the Mara North and Olare Orok Conservancies. Ever fancied your very own private house in the heart of the most epic of big game areas, that’s what these bush homes are. Three bedroom houses which can be taken individually or together for larger groups. Private house staff and a legendary guiding team will ensure your experience is truly unforgettable.

Ol Seki, Kenya

This tented camp in the Naboisho Conservancy always exceeds visitors’ expectations. A beautiful tented camp of just six suites, Ol Seki’s conservancy location enables a great variety of experience: duck into the Mara to catch a river crossing, and then return to the conservancy for walking safaris and night drives. The chef is a superstar and his romantic candlelit dinners in the bush always get a special mention.

September to October

By now two million wildebeest and hundreds of thousand zebra, topi, eland and gazelle are firmly established in the Maasai Mara. Further south in the central Serengeti the bush is dry and dusty – it’s an enormous expanse, just the scattered bones which litter the plains giving clues to the number seen here a couple of months before.

Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania

One of the most strikingly positioned lodges in Africa. Set high on a kopje Lamai enjoys views over the rugged bush of the northern Serengeti, stretching over the Mara River to the plains of the Lamai Wedge. We can’t get enough of Lamai: great guiding, imaginatively designed, jaw-dropping location – it’s one of our favorites in the whole of Africa.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp, Tanzania

Where else can you sit in your bath with a glass of champagne whilst watching wildebeest surge across the Mara River? It has to be Singita! An incredible blend of the most luxurious tented camp experience, in a phenomenal wildlife location with service and style you’d thing was only possible in the furthest reaches of your imagination.

November to December

Like June, October and November can be a little unpredictable, when exactly are the herds going to move? Typically the animals sense the rain coming to the south in November and begin making their way back into the Serengeti, passing through the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, down the eastern edge of the Serengeti and covering a vast area which includes a north-western slice of the Ngorongoro. The rains have swept up from the south, zebra foals are born and the cycle begins again.

Klein’s Camp, Tanzania

The individual guest rondavels of Klein’s Camp are set along the steep side of the Kuka Hills in the northern Serengeti. Their positioning maximizes the spectacular views over the camp’s private wilderness concession. This game-filled valley is a private playground for guests at Kleins, allowing walking, night drives and a chance to be at the heart of the action when the greatest wildlife migration on Earth passes by.

Namiri Plains, Tanzania

If you are after big cats then look no further, this is undoubtedly big cat country at its best. Probably the best place in Africa to view cheetah stalking over open grasslands, and home to an incredibly varied population of predators. With just six tents, this is an exclusive an secluded camp in the wildest corner of the Serengeti. Here you will get an intense wildlife experience, but away from the crowds. You will feel like you have the Serengeti to yourself. Namiri Plains is the most exciting new camp to open in East Africa in 2014.

Mobile Safari Camps - Year round

If you want to be at the heart of the action, across any season, then a mobile camp is the way to go. Award-winning operators have spent decades fine-tuning the mobile migration experience in the Serengeti. Camps are set in prime positions, capturing the atmosphere and romanticism of old-school safari. Traditional luxury safari tents, comfortable beds, thick blankets for the chilly evenings, en-suite safari bathrooms and central mess tents perfect for lounging during the heat of the day combine to propel you to a very special experience. Combine some of the best guiding on the planet with warm East African hospitality and you’re a long way to guaranteeing a vacation experience that will have you hooked.

Serengeti Safari Camp, Tanzania

Nomad Tanzania are a multi-award winning African safari operator. Serengeti Safari Camp regularly beats of the stiff opposition from mobile operators across the continent to sit at the top of the list. Relocating with the seasons to incredible locations across the eco-system. There is no time of year when this luxury mobile camp disappoints from a wildlife perspective, never failing to deliver an unsurpassed migration experience.

Serengeti Under Canvas, Tanzania

Beautifully designed meru style safari tents lend an atmosphere of a bygone era at Serengeti Under Canvas. Relax with a book during the heat of the day, allowing your butler to bring you ice-cold drinks and delicious snacks from the bush kitchen. Style is no substitute for experience, &Beyond, who operate Under Canvas, take pride in the quality of their guiding and their ability to deliver jaw-dropping safaris to all their guests.

Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your safari

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