Big Five Migrations
The migration of some of the world’s most amazing wildlife is a true sight to behold and Africa’s abundant wildlife put on quite the show. The iconic migration of wildebeest across the Serengeti has become something of a bucket list experience, and whilst witnessing this spectacle remains one of the most exhilarating safari adventures on the planet, Africa hosts many other unmissable migrations.
Timing is crucial to ensure you catch the migrations at their very best, so we've handpicked a selection of Africa's most impressive wildlife spectacles to add to your diary.
Hailed the ‘greatest show on earth’, the annual wildebeest migration is a must-do on any safari goer’s bucket list. The thunder of hooves as thousands of wildebeest cross the plains of Zambia is a sensory overload that is bound to leave you reeling. Whilst the migration is on a smaller scale to that of the Serengeti, and does not attract the same numbers of visitors, it is just as remarkable. During November and December, the masses arrive from Angola and cross the Liuwa Plains in a stampede. The King Lewanika lodge, located in the heart of the Liuwa Plain National Park, offers a front row seat to watch the spectacle unfold in front of your eyes.
The Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the largest salt flats in the world, is home to an unparalleled zebra population. The herds flock to the plains following the rains of December and January, when the pans are transformed into a wetland and some 30,000 zebra arrive at the salt flats in search of mineral rich grasses and water. Catch the Greater Flamingos at this time of year too, and watch as the plains become a hue of pink. San Camp is an intimate tented camp, located on the salt pans themselves, a truly unique location to stay and witness these fascinating migrations taking place.
During South Africa's spring months, southern right whales migrate from the Antarctic stopping around Hermanus to calve. By land, boat or air, you can witness the majestic animals breaching off the coastline and even from the shore when the whales close in on the coastline. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve offers amazing vistas of the ocean, and unforgettable excursions to see the whales off the coastline.
Following the elephant migration is amongst one of Africa’s most unforgettable safari experiences. Almost 100,000 of the majestic creatures make their way through the plains of Northern Botswana, along well-trodden routes as they move in search of food and water. The population at Selinda is one of the largest in the world, and the gentle migration from the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe to the Chobe River in Botswana is an awe inspiring sight. Selinda Camp is located on the edge of the large, game rich floodplains, perfect for witnessing this unforgettable movement.
Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles come ashore between November and February to lay and hatch their eggs when the warmer temperatures of the Indian Ocean attracts them to the shores. The Thonga Beach Lodge is located in prime turtle territory, and runs a protection programme on site. Turtle tracking drives cover the length of the beach during low tide in search of females and their hatchlings on the Maputaland coastline.