The Great Migration offers different experiences at different times of the year, making it difficult for first-time travelers to know when to go and what they can expect to see. It all depends what your goals are for viewing the migration – large herds moving or specifically river crossings? Do you want to encounter lots of baby animals? Or maybe skip the crowds? That’s why our YPA team has compiled this handy Great Migration Calendar to see you through all of the seasons.
The Secret Season (January, February, March)
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park: We call the beginning of the year the secret season because you won’t find crowds of game vehicles at this time and it’s also a special season for the birth of gazelle, zebra and wildebeest calves. The long rains start, and you have clear mornings and beautiful skies covered by dark clouds in the afternoon. This is also when the elephant herds start congregating for breeding, and you can also see lots of cat cubs. It’s an amazing season to visit.
Heading North (April, May, June)
At this time of the year, the herds start moving north. Hordes of wildebeest can be seen migrating all the way to the Western Corridor. Come the end of May, they gather on the banks of the Grumeti River for the first river crossing. This crossing isn’t quite as dramatic as the Mara River crossing to come, but it offers spectacular game viewing opportunities, nonetheless.
The Crossings (July, August, September)
The show that many people associate with the Great Migration happens when the wildebeest move from Tanzania into Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve across the mighty Mara River. It’s an exhilarating sight that starts slowly in June and then really takes off in July, August and early September. Be prepared to see triumphs and tragedies as nature’s way takes charge.
Coming Full Circle (October, November, December)
After a short breather in September, the wildebeest then need to make their way back into Tanzania. River crossings back over the Mara start in late September and continue into October. Witness the herds once again filing through the eastern section of the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing ground, flooding the central area, and finally arriving back in the southern Serengeti by December.
Any time of year
Another great option is to stay at a lodge anywhere in the Serengeti and take a day trip to catch up with the migrating animals wherever they are moving. This is something that can be done any time of year – the team will help find the migration by small private aircraft and take a picnic lunch for you to enjoy.
Ready to plan your Great Migration safari? Contact us for a custom proposal based on your interests.