Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he is on the wilderbeest trail.


The wildebeest of East Africa are permanently on the move across the Serengeti and Masai Mara grasslands in search of food. Predators looking for an easy meal follow in hot pursuit. This adds up to one of the most exciting wildlife-watching shows in the world – especially when it reaches the Mara River in Kenya at the end of July or early August. Crossings continue through August.


Where is the best place to see Wildebeests in the wild?

East Africa’s rainy season, which runs between March and May, spreads herds widely over the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When the rivers and streams dry out after the rains, the animals congregate in the dwindling green areas and move north in search of food. They then pause for the mating season before starting north again.

After the famous river crossings, when millions of wildebeest battle crocodiles, dust and heat, the animals move south again in time for calving at the start of the rainy season. July and August are peak time – and therefore peak costs – for visiting the Masai Mara but safaris are available to suit all budgets. Book well ahead for safaris including the Mara River.

Planning your visit to Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is the place to head if you want to see the herds at other times of year, but be aware you may have to travel large distances within the park to reach them. The park is best visited in conjunction with more densely populated wildlife areas such as Ngorongoro Crater.

Further information

There’s a detailed guide to wildebeest movements and chances to spot them at Ultimate Africa. Official information sources include Magical Kenya and Tanzania Tourist Board. The African Travel and Tourism Association has links to UK-based safari operators throughout the continent.

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