How to Experience the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania in 2022 : Each and every year, millions of zebras, wildebeest and Thomson and Grant’s gazelles migrate across the plains of Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve on their annual migration known as The Great Migration.
The Great Migration is one of the 8th wonders in the world and the largest ever witnessed movement of animals in the wildlife history. Witnessing the Great Migration is a once-in- a-lifetime experience which is on a bucket list of every safari enthusiast, the migration is mobile in nature which means planning a great migration safari can be very tricky. However with a knowledgeable safari agent or company such as Focus East Africa Tours, you can have a perfectly planned migration safari.
The most important aspect of experiencing the Great Migration is the right place at the right time which is key, in this article we point out the best locations and seasons for witnessing the migration in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Great Migration
The Great migration also known as the Great Wildebeest Migration is annual migration of over 2 million wildebeests and ten thousands zebras and gazelles from Tanzania’s Serengeti national park to Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya. These animals are said to be migrating in search for water and abundant grazing pastures.
The journey of The Great Migration runs in a clockwise circle covering about 1,800 miles, many stages happen in the Great Migration but the most captivating stage is the River Crossings that is the Grumeti River in Tanzania’s Serengeti and the Mara River along the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Mara River is considered to be the most fascinating episode of The Great migration with millions of wildebeests and the companions facing off with the deadly Nile crocodiles and predators lurking around. During the panicking, crocodiles attack and kill numerous animals which makes the crossing not for the faint-hearted. The Mara River crossing is the most dramatic Wildlife encounters and is very rewarding for wildlife photographers.
Away from the banks of the rivers, the migration is also exciting as hundreds of thousands of the wildebeests, zebras, elands and gazelles spread across the endless savannah plains, these herds attract a bevy of iconic predators that is lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs.
Note: The Great migration is a natural event that changes slightly each other in both timing and location.
The Great Migration in Tanzania
The Great Migration in Tanzania is experienced in the different period or seasons of the year as detailed below.
December – March “calving season”
In this period of the year, the herds congregate in the areas of Serengeti and Ngorongoro in Northern Tanzania which are made lush by the annual rains, this period is a calving season and is a excellent time for viewing of newly born babies and also big cat sightings are common.
In this period, the best places to spot the large herds in this period of the year are the Southern Ndutu and Salei plains. During a migration safari, the best accommodation options to stay during this period include Ndutu Safari Lodge, Kusini Safari camp, Lemala Ndutu camp and many mobile tented camps.
April – May
In this period, the herds begin to migrate west and north to the grassier plains and woodland of the western corridor of Serengeti, the seasonal rains makes it difficult to follow the herds during this stage of the migration. Also because of the impassable roads caused by the rains, smaller camps in Tanzania shut do.
In this month the rains stop causing the wildebeests and zebras to gradually start moving north, also individual groups begin to congregate and form much larger herds. June is a mating season for the migrating wildebeests, in this period the herds are in the western Serengeti and is the best place to witness the migration as it unfolds.
In July the migrating herds reach their first big obstacle along their journey and that is the Grumeti River, in some places the river is deep most especially during the heavy pours. The depth of the river makes drowning possible for many wildebeests, the river has crocodiles which also take advantage of the animals’ distress, How to Experience the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania in 2022.
Camps dotted along the Grumeti River are the best accommodation options to stay at in this time of the year, some of the best accommodations include Serengeti Serena Lodge, Grumeti Serengeti Tented camp, Migration camp and Kirawira camp among others.
The Great Migration in Kenya
The Great migration in Kenya is experienced and witnessed from August to October
In this period of the year, the grasses of the western Serengeti are turning yellow and the migrating herds continue north, after crossing the Grumeti River in Tanzania, the wildebeests, zebras and gazelles start their journey heading Kenya’s Lamai Wedge and the Mara Triangle. Before entering the lush plains of Masai Mara national reserve, the herds make their second river crossing at Mara River which is the most dramatic episode or stage of the annual migration.
The Mara River is filled with hungry crocodiles and the wildebeests face off with them which cause most of them to lose their lives. During the Mara river crossing, the best accommodation options to stay at include Kichwa Tembo Camp, Bateleur Camp and Sayari Mara Camp, How to Experience the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania in 2022.
September – November
In this period, the plains of Masai Mara national reserve are filled to the brim with large herds, naturally these herds are followed by predators.
Some of the best accommodation options to stay at in this period to witness the Great Migration include Governors’ camp and Mara Serena Safari Lodge.
November – December
In this period, the rain starts in the south again, this prompts the herds to begin their long trek back down to Tanzania’s Serengeti plains for their calving season where they give birth to their young ones. During the short rains of November, the wildebeest migration can best be viewed from Klein’s camp and several campsites in the Lobo area.