The Great Migration in Serengeti National Park is one of Tanzania’s most popular attractions. Every year, travelers from all over the world flock to see the massive passage of animals across the Grumeti River. It is one of the reasons the Serengeti is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is the world’s largest wildlife migration. The Great Migration occurs on an annual, though not continuous, basis across the Serengeti.
Herds of wildebeests and other ungulates visit Kenya for a brief time each year (about two months). Typically, they move there in July and August, risking crocodiles and other predators to return to the lush grass of the Maasai Mara. The herds spend the rest of the year in Tanzania, primarily in the Serengeti and a piece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For around 10 months of the year, they will mate, give birth to their young, and enjoy the rich grasses of the Serengeti.
What is causing the animals to keep moving? Herds of wildebeests, gazelles, impalas, elands, and zebras migrate in search of more water and greener forage. As the weather changes from dry to wet, the animals wander to find better food and water, and they are constantly pursued by their formidable predators, lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
Throughout the year, different segments of the Great Migration can be seen.
It’s calving season in February, and thousands of newborn wildebeests are born every day! Witness the miracle of new life, as well as the capacity of a young wildebeest to gallop immediately after birth.
The herds began to cluster in the Seronera section of the Serengeti in March and April, providing some magnificent photo possibilities of enormous numbers of animals peacefully grazing in a gorgeous landscape.
In May, the herds begin to migrate northward, forming spectacular columns of animals traveling in unison. They may assemble along the Western Corridor as they seek a safe crossing of the Grumeti River. Visitors will be able to see the tremendous density of creatures that migrate together in this manner – a truly magnificent element of nature to witness with your own eyes!
Visitors are likely to witness the incredible migration of animals and the adrenaline-pumping Mara River crossing from July to early September. The animals rush across the treacherous waters in large numbers, hoping to reach the other side. This is the stuff of National Geographic (which does film this event on a regular basis), but the force and power of nature is felt more personally when witnessed in person rather than through a television screen.
You will depart with a deeper appreciation for Africa’s wildlife and raw features of nature that have not been tampered with by humanity. It’s wonderful that this annual cycle has been going on for millennia and that we may still appreciate and experience it today!
During this yearly cycle of migration, two rivers are crossed: the Mara River and the Grumeti River. The names are used to identify which way the animals are going:
During the months of May and June, when the herds enter Kenya, the Grumeti River is frequently crossed.
The crossing of the Mara River, which occurs frequently in July and August, is the movement of herds from Kenya back into Tanzania.
As you can see, the Serengeti National Park is a never-ending display of the Great Migration. There is something to see and do almost every day of the year. If seeing the Serengeti’s Great Migration is on your bucket list, this is your chance to make it a reality!