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Interesting Facts About the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania

Standing out as one of the most spectacular wonders of the natural world, the Great Migration is an annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores migrating clockwise through the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of good water and green pastures.

This event is also one of the world’s most famous and sought after spectacles by photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.

The great wildebeest migration is renowned for being one of the worlds most visually stunning and breathtaking adventures. But determining when to travel to witness this amazing spectacle depends on a number of factors, as different times of the year are marked by variations in scenery so it is best to seek out advice from a reliable operator and experienced tour guide as they know when and where you should be.

HERE’S AN OVERVIEW OF THE PATH OF THE EVENT

great wildebeest migration

January – February: During this time, the wildebeests assemble by the droves in the southern part of the Serengeti where they give birth to thousands of baby calves. This is also known as the Serengeti calving season. The soil in this area is rich in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, so the grass is usually lush.

March: This period sees extensive levels of predatory activities taking place as the huge congregation of so many preys and new calves make easy targets for lions, cheetahs, and other carnivorous animals. This action quickly prompts a change of environment for the wildebeests.

April – May: This is when the Serengeti starts to dry up and the grass disappears prompting the herds to move west towards the Grumeti River.

June – July: At this time, the herds begin heading towards the Masai Mara, but before they get there, they are faced with the challenging obstacle of crossing the Grumeti river. This is arguably the best time of the year as travelers would be able to view all the excitement unraveling around the Grumeti River and beyond.

August – September: By this time, the herds have crossed the Grumeti river and are en route to the Mara River. This is also a dramatic crossing that captures nature in its rawest form.

October: This month sees the herds crossing the Mara river into the pool-table flat Masai Mara grasslands where they usually graze till the end of the month and continue their journey back to the northern Serengeti where short grass will have become abundant.

November – December: The wildlife reaches the Seronera area where they will remain till they head back to the southern part of the Serengeti for calving season.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE ANNUAL GREAT WILDEBEEST MIGRATION

great migration

World’s largest concentrated migration of wildlife traveling over 800 km on an annual journey.

Hundreds of thousands of zebras, Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, impalas, and antelopes join approximately 1.5 million wildebeests in the great migration.

The zebra and the wildebeest are naturally good friends helping each other out all year round during the great migration, they feed on the same plant but different parts of it enabling them to graze harmoniously.

While the wildebeests are extraordinarily good at sniffing out water from the ground, the zebras help out in protecting and navigating the wildebeests keeping them on the course all through the year-long voyage driven mainly by their search of water and food, making the zebra and the wildebeest inseparable friends.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest in the world — the vegetation, fauna, and climate of the Serengeti ecosystem have remained the same for thousands of years.

Wildebeests are known to operate using what researchers call swarm intelligence meaning they act upon problems encountered and bring about solutions as a unit.

Approximately 8000 wildebeest are born every day for about 3 weeks usually in mid-February and the calves are able to walk as soon as they are born.

Asides the lions that prey on the wildebeests, other life-threatening predators include leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, and crocodiles.

Most of the migration takes place in Tanzania circumnavigating the Serengeti national park, Loliondo game controlled area, Ngorongoro conservation area, and the Grumeti reserve while the migration stretches to the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya bordering the Serengeti national park.

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The Serengeti National Park is the jewel of Tanzania and is famous for its abundance of wildlife, long stretches of rolling grasslands, breathtaking rivers, and budding ecosystem.

It is bordered by Kenya to the north where it runs into the Maasai Mara National Reserve; the Ikorongo and Grumeti game reserves to the west, while the Ngorongoro conservation area to the southeast, and to the northeast lies the Loliondo Game controlled area, all together forming the larger Serengeti ecosystem which consists of five main regions.

With the Serengeti plains known for its treeless grassland and a natural habitat where wildebeest and other hoofed animals such as gazelles, impalas, zebras, topi, hartebeests, buffalos, and waterbucks breed.

THE SOUTHERN SERENGETI

The Southern Serengeti plains are home to numerous migratory herds especially during the green season due to its nutrient-rich plains with short grasses rich in phosphorus, making it an ideal location for the Great wildebeest migration calving season with a spectacular wildlife viewing of over two million animals spread across the open plains.

Much of the Southern Serengeti lies outside of the Serengeti national park so unlike other areas of the Serengeti, off-road driving and walking safaris are permitted. The Southern Serengeti plains are excessively seasonal so during the dry season, the Southern Serengeti is transformed into a semi-desert and herds usually drift off these plains as the area dries out.

THE CENTRAL SERENGETI (SERONERA)

A lively and vigorous wildlife area, the Central Serengeti is renowned as the best resident game compared to other regions of the Serengeti National park as it is ideally located centrally. It is the perfect location for a well-rounded safari adventure because game viewing here in the Central Serengeti is excellent at any time of the year.

During May and early June, the northbound wildebeest migrate to through the Central Serengeti and again in November to early December, the wildebeests also migrate when they are on their way back south to the short grass plains.

THE NORTHERN SERENGETI

This region is home to large herds migrating during the months of July to November. It is a relatively unexplored wilderness boasting some amazing landscapes and inhabited by scores of magnificent wildlife.

Visitors here are offered exceptional and dramatic sightings of wildebeest and zebras as they make the perilous journey across the Mara river into the Masai Mara region. These animals are not just wary of the large crocodiles lying in wait, but also the but also the rushing waters of the river itself.

It is a tense moment for some visitors as they witness these exhausted and terrified wildebeests and zebras attempt to brave the torrential flow. Some are able to make it across with exerted efforts, but others are not so lucky as the strong water currents either drown them or return them to the same side of the river allowing the ordeal to begin again.

THE GRUMETI RESERVE

Established in 1994 covering 2000 sq km, the Grumeti game reserve forms a part of the larger Serengeti Masai Mara ecosystem where the annual great wildebeest migration takes place and is located along the Northwestern border of the Serengeti National Park and this is where it is easy to see the movement of huge herds of zebra and wildebeest.

The most suitable time to visit this reserve is from June to October and January to February. A migratory corridor for herds of animals passing through the area naturally, the Grumeti game reserve is a remote lush location that offers a far greener safari experience with rolling hills, river and woodlands patch, worked into the extended terrain as far as the eye can see.

MASAI MARA

This is where the herds face off against the turbulent waters and the hungry crocodiles of the Mara river. Those that do make it across are rewarded with the lush grazing grass stretching across the rolling plains of the Masai Mara.

By the end of May, the rains will have fully ceased, prompting the herd to move northward. However, the dry months of July through October remains the perfect game viewing period as the receding vegetation makes it a lot easier to witness the animals as they continue their movement back to the Serengeti.

Only a fraction of the greater Mara ecosystem, The Masai Mara is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya neighboring with the Serengeti national park in the Mara region, Tanzania. It is known for its exceptional population of predators and prey alike — cheetahs, leopards, and lions and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, topi and wildebeests to and from the Serengeti annually from July to October.

The wildebeests, topi, zebra, Grant’s gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the northeast.

BOOK WITH A RELIABLE TOUR OPERATOR

great wildebeest migration in Tanzania

The great wildebeest migration happens every year, but there is still no guarantee that you might see it if you decide to do it all by yourself as you might end up not knowing where and when to go.

That’s why it is important to book a reliable and experienced tour operator. Take for instance, the overlapping of the migration which is the crossing of the Mara river which also coincides with the peak safari season and can be viewed from both countries, each offering an equally thrilling but unique aspect of the great wildebeest migration.

It is extremely difficult for DIY travelers to be at the right places at the right time to witness it. Famous sightings like the paradise crossing are used by tour guides every year, which enables them to know where to position their vehicles while they await the first wildebeest to cross.

If you’re on the Tanzanian side, you’d see the wildebeests leave and if you’re on the Kenyan side, you’d see them arrive.

There are also lots of people during this peak season and the rates are usually higher, so it is best to book in advance, several months ahead of your intended visit to ensure you have your choice of location and accommodation.

Gosheni Safaris specializes in great wildebeest migration tours and has served guests all over the world.

Through the years, we have become renowned for making well-crafted and personalized itineraries to see the famous Great Migration both in Kenya and Tanzania.

Our staff is regularly and professionally trained to ensure they meet your expectations, whether budget or luxury. Get in touch with us today to discuss your next great migration safari adventure plans!

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LoveTravel259094
LoveTravel259094
August 8, 2023
Asante Gosheni and espacially Hassan Nous tenons à recommander Hassan car nous venons de passer un séjour mémorable avec lui. Grâce à son expérience, sa connaissance parfaite du monde animal et des parcs, Hassan nous a permis de voir de nombreux animaux en étant extrêmement bien placé.
Bien évidemment les big five (même le rhinocéros!), la traversée de la rivière par les gnous et bien d'autres animaux.
En faisant un safari avec Hassan vous trouverez tout ce que vous êtes venus chercher.
A l'avenir si nous décidons de refaire un safari, nous voudrions repartir avec Hassan.
Myriam D
Myriam D
August 8, 2023
Hassan is the best guide !!!! Nous avons eu la chance de faire un safari de 8 jours dans les parcs nationaux du nord de la Tanzanie avec Hassan comme guide. Hassan est un guide très expérimenté.
Grâce à lui et sa grande expérience nous avons découvert et appris énormément de choses sur la Tanzanie, les animaux, les végétaux etc. Hassan est un véritable passionné qui aime transmettre son savoir.
En plus de ses connaissances, Hassan a un véritable œil de lynx et sais débusquer le moindre animal caché.
Grâce à Hassan nous avons eu la chance de voir beaucoup d’animaux et tous ceux du « Big Five ».
Parmi tous les véhicules présents lors des safaris, Hassan sait se frayer un chemin pour nous permettre d’avoir toujours le meilleur point de vue.
Hassan sait où se placer pour nous permettre d’avoir une vue sans égal sur les animaux, en les observant de très près.
Hassan est également un excellent conducteur. La route n’a aucun secret pour lui.
C’est également un guide très attentionné, toujours aux petits soins pour nous et d’une extrême gentillesse.
Nous recommandons Hassan les yeux fermés et si nous devions refaire un safari, nous demanderons d’être guidés par Hassan sans hésitation.
Merci encore à Hassan pour ces merveilleux moments qui resterons gravés dans notre mémoire !!
bonny l
bonny l
August 6, 2023
amazing Safari experience wiz gosheni nice trip wiz our amazing guide Samir We saw all the wild animals during Safari
thx a lot for the thoughtful and excellent service
highly recommend
FENG Y
FENG Y
August 6, 2023
愉快的非洲之旅 幸运的选择了gosheni Safari,我们的向导samir服务非常好,小朋友们都很喜欢他,非洲五霸除了犀牛没有看到外,其他都替我们找到了,寻找动物经验丰富,在超远的地方就能看到目标。可以在众多的车子中抢到一个很好的观赏位,办事灵活。
Vladimir T
Vladimir T
August 6, 2023
Great experience! Great experience! Starting from the trip planning the communications were very clear and smooth to organize the tour and select itinerary. In the end we opted for 5 days/4 nights route including the Tarangire, Serengeti and Lake Manyara nations parks as well as a visit to the Ngorongoro crater. The tour itself was excellent and very punctual, here kudos to our guide Wilson who is very experienced and knowledgeable about his job and also went well beyond his duty and gave us a nice summary of country’s history. It was really a pleasure to spend time with him and we managed to see the big 5:) Accommodations were superb: great camps, an amazing farmhouse close to Ngorongoro, meals were also good and picnic lunches well organized.
In summary the experience was highly satisfying, I sincerely recommend Gosheni Safaris and to ask for Wilson as a guide.
Allison B
Allison B
August 5, 2023
Great Taste of Tanzania Had a great 5-day tour. Our guide James was very dedicated to making sure we saw amazing sights. He asked us our favorite animals to see and made it his mission to help us spot them. The food was good, the lodging was very pleasant, and enjoying a glass of wine on lunches was a nice touch. Favorite lodging was definitely the Farmhouse by Ngorongoro. Beautiful landscapes along the entire tour, covered a lot of ground and got a great introduction to Tanzania.
Sukhraj S
Sukhraj S
August 5, 2023
Gosheni number 1 What an unforgettable 6 days, courtesy of Gosheni Safari and our guide/driver Zadock!!!
I booked this holiday back in 2020 but then had to cancel due to Covid. That was after a lot of research of tour companies and finally picking Ghosheni. The time was right to get this once in a lifetime trip set up again, so working via email with William at Gosheni we compiled the agenda…he was so helpful and we settled on one day in Tarangire, one day in Lake Manyara, three days in Serengeti and one day in Ngorongoro Crater…I’m now on the way to Zanzibar after an amazing experience, Gosheni took care of the whole package for my wife, three teenage sons and I.

Our guide and driver was Zadock, a humble, honest, genuine, proud and generous man. He did absolutely everything for us, answered every question and took us to all the places to see the big five up close, hunts and more.

The food was served every lunch time as a picnic, with plates, blanket, wtc whilst others had lunch boxes. The Jeep was cleaned daily, and was extremely comfortable along the difficult rough terrain…a credit to Zadock.

Zadock had so much knowledge not only of the animal kingdom’s hundreds of species but also the history of Tanzania, Africa, politics, and social customs, we felt as though he was part of our family.

Thankyou Zadock and Gosheni, I very rarely write reviews after holidays and I have travelled extensively around the world, but these guys are special and have made this so memorable for my family and I….I recommend to everyone if you are unsure about who, how, what, these guys will sort out the whole trip and at a very reasonable price.

Well done William, Gosheni and Zadock, and I really hope you get to be recognised as the number one tour company in Tanzania!
Eric W
Eric W
August 4, 2023
Extraordinary Safari with Gosheni I am so glad to have Gosheni as our tour operator. They provide excellent service starting from arranging the tour till the end of our safari.
As our city had quarantine arrangement due to COVID-19, we were so worry about our trip. Luckily, Gosheni is so considerate and try their best endeavors to rearrange our scedule. With their assistance, everything is set and we feel comfortable for all of their kind arrangements.

During the safari, we have a terrific tour guide, Edward! He takes care of all the stuff and administration including liaison with hotels, lunch packing, other add-on safaris so that we can fully enjoy the trip.

Not only Edward spots a lot a lot of animals and birds for us, including the top 5 in the trip, he also introduces us the habitat and features of the animals and birds. We are very impressed by his rich knowledge and do enjoy listening the "stories" of the animals.

Edwward is definitely experienced and propose the best programme during the safari, e.g. he tries to maximise our time for the game drive in different locations and tribe visit. We fully trust his expertise and professionalism.

We are very happy with Edward and Gosheni. We will absolutely consider them in our next Africam safari.
Priyank S
Priyank S
August 4, 2023
Amazing Safari with Gosheni and Ombeni Our guide, Ombeni, was the best part of our trip. He is really knowledgeable, friendly, and we trusted his expertise for the whole 9 days across Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro. We were lucky to see some amazing things on our game drives. Having grown up in Kenya, I have been lucky to go on many safaris, and this is one of the best I've been on.
The food was excellent, and even on the all-day game drives we had a cooked, sit-down meal for lunch which was a big plus point. All the accommodation was excellent as well.

We had a bespoke itinerary which we planned in advance with William from Gosheni, and he was extremely helpful in answering our questions and accommodating our requests.

I would highly recommend Gosheni and especially Ombeni for future travels.
Banu
Banu
August 4, 2023
Dreams come true!!! Thanks to best guide Hassani I have been dreaming Serengeti Safari tour for a long time and Gosheni Safaris made my dreams come true. We completed our 5 days safari at the end of July and it was wonderful. We visited Central Serengeti, North Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
The company is very professional from beginning to end. Peter the owner of Gosheni Safaris helped us a lot about planning our itinary. I asked too many questions and he replied all of them everytime. Sometimes he can be in the bush and has no internet connection but be sure he always will reply your questions. Just be sure that you are in safe hands and Hakuna Matata☺️

Our guide was Hassani who is a perfect guide, safari driver, friend and everything. He always did his best to show us as much as possible. We always felt safe and witnessed lots of amazing moments by help of Hassani. Beside being a perfect safari guide, he prepared very nice lunch tables every afternoon. He is very funny person and makes lots of jokes during the safari. I higly recommend Gosheni Safaris which is best one and Hassani who is a very good guide. I want to thank Hassani in person for making our safari perfect and looking forward to meet again🙏🏻

Tips: I recommend ‘Morning Hot air Balloon safari’.

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