Safety in Numbers – Great Migration Safari

posted 29th September 2018 by Danica Wilson in Work in progress

Great Migration Safari

Welcome to our page that explains to you the beauty of a Great Migration Safari

This is where we look at what the migration is, the essentials to know before you go and the various stages of the cycle.

Firstly, what is it?

A Great Wildebeest migration safari is just that – impressive numbers of wildebeest (and Zebra) migrating. It is the movement of thousands of animals across the grassy plains of East Africa in search of food and water as the seasons change. It is an ongoing cycle with birth, survival and death. All of this is available to you as a spectator when you visit on a great migration safari to East Africa.

So if you’re ready, let’s delve into the essentials.

Notes for Migration safari holidays

1. Ongoing wildlife migration, so it doesn’t just happen at 1 time of year meaning you can go at many different times of the year to savour a great East Africa safari with the migration your finale

2. There is a main herd and multiple sub herds that can be literally hundreds to thousands of animals

3. It is unpredictable simply because this wildlife safari spectacle is based on weather patterns and rains that determine the grasses/nutrients that the animals are searching for in their lifetime

4. Zebra and other plains game often move with the wildebeest. It’s the notion of safety in numbers

5. It is also a predator safari because the big cat hunters are clever and follow the herds seeking out the weak. This means there is often action. No promises of course but worth bringing it to your attention

Migration safari questions answered

We often get asked about a migration safari and the best time of year to go.

Short answer – you can go anytime of the year, it depends on your interests but we try to avoid April and May when roads are bad due to rains and access often an issue.  (long rainy season in Tanzania).

Long answer – well, you’ll have to call and chat with one of our specialists to find out!

Where is the best place to see the river crossings?

Short answer – The migration safari is year round between two countries Tanzania and Kenya and particular reserves, namely the Serengeti (Tanzania side) and Masai Mara (Kenya side of the Mara River).  The herds spend more time in Tanzania, basically from October to June/July.

July to October, the herds spread out on the sweet grass plains of the Masai Mara BUT its important to note that during these months they can cross over the Mara River a number of times in search of the best grazing.

Equally important to remember is we cannot guarantee that you will see the migration river crossings simply because they are wild animals, weather dependent and both of those factors are outside our control . They do move according to grasses for grazing and water, and the most unpredictable month is JULY.

Then we are always asked about the best place to be in order to see the famous migration safari river crossings.

In our opinion in terms of better guarantee (not that it is really possible to ever guarantee!), it is from the Masai Mara side.  Reasons being:
•    more camps in closer proximity at broader price range
•    it is easier to get to the edge of the banks
•    Large crocodiles on this side awaiting the herds as there are more bank positions to hide

Downside of a Masai Mara safari at the time of year you’d likely see the river crossing is the sheer volume of tourists! It can get very busy as you sit and wait and believe me, if it’s a river crossing you want to see you need patience. It can often take hours and even then they may not cross. There is a huge amount of anxiety and procrastination!

Migration Phases

So clearly there are different phases to the migration just like a life cycle. So here they are in brief:

  • Birthing season – January to March is when the calves are born and keep in mind it is literally hundreds and thousands!
  • Long rainy season – April and May so we avoid this time simply because of the rains, camp closures, risk of getting stuck and not ideal enjoyment
  • River Crossings – anytime from late June to October they cross between Tanzania and Kenya over the Mara River

So that’s today’s lesson on the great migration safari available to you in East Africa. If you want to know more, please do call and speak with either Jonathon or Gen. They are the gurus at planning fantastic migration wildlife safaris.

Let’s Chat

Images courtesy of our guests, staff, and partners.