Guide to 2021-2022 Annual Wildebeest Migration : Annual Wildebeest migration is one of the world’s wonders and the only witnessed largest wildlife migration on planet earth and spectacle happens in Serengeti – Mara ecosystem consisting of Serengeti national park in Tanzania side and Maasai Mara national reserve on the Kenya side.

The annual wildebeest migration is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements involving the movement of millions of wildebeests accompanied by zebras and gazelles in a circular route between Maasai Mara national reserve and Serengeti national park looking for green pastures and water.

Watching the annual wildebeest migration is a dream of most people in the world and below is the guide to 2021 -2022 annual wildebeest migration.


Can the annual migration river crossing be predicted?

No, the annual wildebeest migration cannot be predicted matter of fact the wildebeests themselves do not know when they are going to cross, some of the wildebeests arrive at the waters of Mara River and swim over immediately and some arrive and spends some days hanging around grazing. Some herds also arrive and turn back to where they came from.

Annual Wildebeest Migration

In conclusion, river crossing cannot be predicted.

Where does the Annual great wildebeest migration start?

The Great Migration is a fluid year round movement of about 2 millions animals (wildebeests, zebras and gazelles) crossing in the Serengeti -Mara ecosystem consisting of Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya and Serengeti national park in Tanzania.  There are no defined starts or end points for the annual wildebeest migration, the Gnu Migration is triggered by East Africa rains and the herds migrate following an age-old route searching for fresh grazing and water.

The annual wildebeest migration is an epic journey as the herds move/cross from Maasai Mara plains to the south into Tanzania’s Serengeti and the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater before circling up and around in a clockwise direction.

Why do the wildebeest migrate?

The annual wildebeest migration is dictated primarily by the wildebeest’s response to the weather and they move after the rains and the growth of the new grass. The migrating herds generally move following a natural instinct to find food as away to stay alive, according to some experts they believe the wildebeests are triggered by distant lightning and thunderstorms though there is no scientific proof to prove it.

WHAT HAPPENS AND WHEN (A month by month breakdown)

The great wildebeest migration is dictated by the rainfalls, long and short rainy seasons in both Tanzania and Kenya are not really regular making the migration very unpredictable. Below is the breakdown of what happens in the annual wildebeest migration and when.

Annual Wildebeest Migration


The herds move south from the north-east and into the area near Lake Ndutu in Serengeti national park, since Serengeti is not fenced, the animals move freely  in different herds as they look for green grass to graze.

February – March

This period is a calving season in the annual wildebeest migration with over 8000 wildebeest babies being born each day and tourists should get ready to see lots of wobbly calves and predators hunting them such as lions, wild dogs, leopards and cheetahs.

The action drama makes the migration worth watching.


The long rains start by April up to May and the herds generally move in the north-western direction heading to Moru and Simba Kopjes, in this period the animals experience the action-packed rutting (breeding season) featuring testosterone – fuelled jousts between males competing for the right to mate with receptive females.


In this period, the massive migrating herds move in huge columns of up to 40 kilometers in length and can be seen as the wildebeest funnel up into the central Serengeti, the calves are stronger now and they herds move a little quicker.


The migrating herds are usually present in the central Serengeti and they are getting ready to move to the toughest part of their odyssey, the herds may split up as some of them are already crossing the Grumeti River.


The great wildebeest migration has reached the Grumeti region and the northern regions of Serengeti national park by now and they are peering closely at the waters of the Mara River waiting to cross into Kenya.

Predicting the river crossing is very impossible as it entirely depends on the rains and the unpredicted wildebeests themselves, to enjoy the great wildebeest migration you need to book safari in advance and the best accommodation to stay at is the mobile safari camp which are situated close to where the migration herds stays.


August is considered to be the best time to witness the most dramatic episode to the migration that is the Mara river crossing as the animals cross from Serengeti national park to Maasai Mara national reserve through the crocodile infested Mara River.


In this period, the migrating herds split into smaller groups and not all the wildebeests migrate into Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve and less than half of the animals remain in the northern region of Serengeti. In this month it is possible to see the wildebeests in Serengeti but in less numbers and Maasai Mara as the best place to witness the migration.


 The migrating herds (wildebeests, zebras and gazelles) are in Maasai Mara national reserve, while in the plains of Maasai Mara the wildebeests also disperse to the neighboring private conservancies which are less crowded and the migration easily be watched.

Annual Wildebeest Migration in Masai mara


Short rains have begun by November thus propelling the wildebeest and other migrating herds to leave the now denuded grasslands of Maasai Mara national reserve heading back to Serengeti national park with rejuvenated grassland plains.

Note: rain is very unpredictable as it can late or early sometimes.

In November, herds are generally on a move but they can clearly be seen around the north-Eastern areas of Serengeti national park. While in this region, the herds may split into smaller groups for their journey southward.


The migrating herds move south thus spreading in the northern and eastern Serengeti region, these herds are attracted to these regions because of the fresh grasses. Wildebeests feast on the green grass they prepare for a 3,000 kilometers walk.


As you already know how the great wildebeest works, it is easier to know the best time to go for a wildebeest migration safari. Generally the best time depends on an individual’s interest in which stage of the migration you want to see.

Note: Serengeti national park and Maasai Mara national reserve have abundance of wildlife scattered in wide open plains which makes them perfect year-round safari destinations.

Event Approximate Time Location
Calving (Birthing) season February to March Southern Serengeti
Rutting (Breeding) season April to May Western and Central Serengeti
Grumeti River Crossing May to June Central Serengeti
Mara River Crossing July to August Northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara
On the Move November to January Maasai Mara and Northern Serengeti to the Southern Serengeti

Note: wildebeest migration is a year-round circular journey and river crossing cannot be predicted and the dates displayed in the table above are only approximate dates. Sometimes the migrating herds stay put for two weeks and other times they cross 4 times a day.

Annual Wildebeest Migration


Wildebeest migration is a very amazing and mind blowing occurrence and below is the key facts to remember

  • The most bulk of the migration happens in Serengeti national park
  • Wildebeest migration is a year round and circular journey
  • River crossing cannot be predicted but generally happens between May and August
  • The migrating herds always strung out across a large area, they are always fore-runners and stragglers
  • The best opportunity to see the extremely mind blowing wildebeest migration involves spending a full day at the site where the wildebeest and other migrating herds have massed, if you are a keen photographer the best opportunities may occur around midday when the sun and glare are at their harshest. When going for wildebeest migration safari makes sure your itinerary and preparations accommodates this.


 Accommodation to stay at during wildebeest migration safari is categorized into two broad categories that are permanent lodges and mobile camps, each of these accommodations have different advantages and disadvantages which will help you chose the best wildebeest migration accommodation.

Amenities Accommodation Type
Mobile camps Permanent Lodges
Bathrooms ·         En-suite tents with flush toilets

·         Usually bucket showers

·         Basins and many use jug water

·         Running water may not be available

·         En-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water

·         Plumbed showers

·         Flush toilets

·         Bathtubs are usually available

·         Outdoor showers are usually available

Wi-Fi Not always Usually available
Power/Electricity ·         Solar power

·         Generator

·         Solar power

·         Generator

In-room charging Communal charging point Usually available


Choosing a perfect safari lodge to stay at during your wildebeest migration safari here are a few tips to assist you in choosing the best accommodation,

  • Start planning your wildebeest migration safari at least a year in advance, this is because the river crossing season the most watched episode of the Migration is a popular period with thousands of tourists visiting both Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Book your migration safari as soon as you know you want to go, there are a few lodges and camps to accommodate tourists when compared to the number of tourists going for a wildebeest migration safari.
  • If you wish to stay in inter-connecting tents or family suite, know that this kind of accommodation are in limited numbers and book as early as possible is required.
  • In case you have mobility challenges, kindly ask for rooms situated close to the mess areas so as to avoid long walks.
  • If you are travelling with children of younger age, the best option to consider is fenced accommodation, baby sitting services and book for your own private game-drive vehicle.
  • If you are on a budget, choose a good-value accommodation so as to have an extra time on wildebeest migration safari. This increases your chances of seeing births, kills and river crossing.


As Kenya wildlife tours, our recommended accommodation to stay at during your wildebeest migration safari depends on the place you are going to do your wildebeest migration safari that is Maasai Mara national reserve and Serengeti national park.

In Maasai Mara national reserve

  • Sanctuary Olonana
  • Encounter Mara
  • Mara River Tented Camp
  • Angama Mara
  • Mahali Mzuri among others

In Serengeti national park

  • Kichakani Serengeti camp
  • Serengeti Under Canvas
  • Sanctuary Kusini
  • Namiri plains
  • Mwiba lodge
  • Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti camp among others
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