The Great Migration in Africa is one of the greatest wildlife shows on Earth and we share where travelers can experience the spectacle, when to visit Africa for the Great Migration, how to see it, and the best time to book for it.
From the thundering sound of pounding hooves to the endless sea of parading wildlife, the wildebeest migration across the African savannas, bushveld, and plains is an unforgettable highlight of an East African safari that falls within the prime migration time. With smart planning and our travel advice, you can ensure a front-row seat to this extraordinary wildlife performance.
Discover the best places to view the migration, the right time to plan your trip, and more with our ideas of how to get the most out of your Great Migration experience in Africa.
Africa’s Great Migration is a wildlife phenomenon of grand proportions. For a few months every year, the mass migration of wildebeest and other animals dominates the Serengeti and Masai Mara plains, inviting travelers to witness an extraordinary spectacle during their African safari tours and vacations.
Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest move through the dry grass side by side, with hooves hitting the earth so hard it sounds like a storm brewing. Thick dust clouds add drama to the scene of animals hurtling across the landscape toward the river.
Once in the river, the drama escalates, and you may gasp as crocodiles lunge from below, nipping at the ankles of the migrating wildebeest and, occasionally, grabbing hold of one. Heartbreak gives way to joy as thousands more wildebeest cross the river successfully and keep running toward greener pastures for the next few months.
Tanzania and Kenya are two of the most captivating safari destinations in East Africa, and part of the excitement and dream is that you can plan to see the Great Migration as it unfolds on Serengeti Great Migration safaris and Masai Mara safaris.
Wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle travel miles across and between these two countries searching for food and water. Following their migration patterns is fascinating, as they move constantly. The herds start their journey northwards in May and circle back down to the southern Serengeti by the start of summer.
They make the incredible journey en-masse, a sight that can perhaps be described as a never-ending wave of brown and black swirls moving at an astonishing pace across Tanzania’s Serengeti plains and the Masai Mara wildlands.
Learn more: Tanzania Great Migration Safaris • Kenya Great Migration Safaris
Best Months: July • August • September • October
The Great Migration in Africa typically begins in May and June as herds of wildebeest make their way through the western corridor of the famous Serengeti National Park on their journey north.
July is one of the best times to view the Great Migration, with the animals crossing the Mara River and making their way into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park, where they find refuge over the next few months.
The return from the Masai Mara to the majestic Serengeti usually takes place between October and December, where a type of organized chaos returns to Tanzania in the form of thousands of animals migrating south during the short rainy season. Planning your Great Migration safari between July and October will give you the best opportunities to witness the event as these months coincide with the dry season and the best time to go on an African safari.
The best time to book your Great Migration safari is a year ahead of your departure dates, giving you the best availability of safari lodges, camps, and accommodations in prime migration-viewing destinations across the Serengeti and Masai Mara.
Planning your safari in Kenya or Tanzania to coincide with the peak migration months will allow you to be front and center to witness this great event. This is a highlight on East African safaris and your safari specialist will do their best to help you capture the dream as it unfolds.
Booking your trip well in advance can also help ensure you have enough time to enjoy the hotspots of the migration circle. Working with your safari specialist a year before you intend on witnessing the migration, you can secure luxury lodges and safari tours with the best guides and rangers in Tanzania and Kenya.
East African Great Migration safaris offer boundless opportunities to experience wildlife in abundance and in a variety of ways, whether by game drive, on foot, or from up above in a hot-air balloon.
Adding the chance to witness one of nature’s true wonders is a bonus that’s within your reach with smart planning, and our African safari travel guide, Tanzania safari guide, and Kenya safari guide can help you plan ahead with tips, inspiration, and more information.