A guide to the Great Migration

The Great Migration traditionally follows the rain as animals migrate towards better pastures

When to witness the Great Migration

The year-round Great Migration along with the the Big 5 are on the the bucket list of must-see African wildlife spectacles. With a selection of 6 &Beyond exclusive camps and lodges to choose from in Kenya and Tanzania, each offering close-up-and-personal Great Migration sightings, you are spoilt for choice!

Considered the most thrilling spectacle in the animal kingdom, the annual mass migration of wildebeest and other herbivores, with their ever-attendant entourage of predators is a breathtaking experience.

In this year-round cycle across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, over 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 300,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle and 12,000 eland throng the landscape, following the rain, in search of fresh pastures.

The timing of this phenomenon has changed in recent years due to uncertain rainfall patterns, with herds splitting and moving in different directions, before reassembling again.

One of the seven natural wonders of the world

This migration is a natural phenomenon determined by the availability of grazing. The Migration is rarely the same in terms of precise timing and direction.

The world’s largest overland mammal migration

The annual movement of wildebeest and other herbivores across the Serengeti–Mara ecosystem consists of more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 18,000 eland and 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle.

The animals migrate over 800 km (500 miles)

Due to the shere size of the herd, the animals have to move to be able to survive. The herds generally follow the rain, as where there is rain, there is fresh grass. Once grass is depleted in one area, they will move on to a grassy area.

Timing is everything

The annual movement of wildebeest and other herbivores across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is rarely the same in terms of precise timing and direction.

January – March

The herds are usually calving on the short grassy plains in the southern Serengeti. This area is made up of nutrient rich soil important for the wildebeest and their calves. A diverse eco-system – forested areas, marshes, soda lakes and big open plains.

April – May

The herds are moving, in splinter herds, up through central Serengeti to the Western corridor. A great time for days out with a picnic lunch to find the herds and see them moving in long lines. Excellent leopard sightings in Central and lion and elephant in Grumeti.

June – July

Splinter herds usually congregate in the western corridor and start moving north. The herds move northwest, towards &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, where dependent on the rain we see the animals crossing the Grumeti River towards the Northern Serengeti.

August – October

The big herds congregate in Northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara. Following the rain, the herds cross over to the Masai Mara and then often return to the Serengeti. This continues for a number of months. Over 10 common river crossing points.

November – December

The Migration herds often split moving south via the eastern, western and central Serengeti.The herds are moving again, down past Grumeti or straight down to the Central Serengeti. Herds are broken into splinter herds, moving at a different pace. Some go through the Lobo area towards the southern plains.


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Stay here to experience the Great Migration

Our preferred list of places to stay in the Serengeti and Masai Mara National Parks

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