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The Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park

Millions of wildebeest migrate through the Serengeti National Park

It is one of the most spectacular and breathtaking events in the world. A dream for many to witness this incredible natural wonder.

We are referring to the annual Wildebeest Migration, which sees hundreds of thousands wild animals on the move to chase the rains in their epic struggle for survival. The great trek is joined by more than 1,000,000 wildebeests, 200,000 zebras and about 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles. In an endless cycle they migrate clockwise across the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara in Kenya, covering 800 to 1000 kilometers annually. Being tracked by African’s big predators and meeting many obstacles on their way, it is a tough and relentless quest in search for better grass and fresh water.

Zebras and wildebeest graze harmoniously, each eating different parts of the same type of grass. As the wildebeest do not have a natural leader, the migrating herd can split up into smaller groups and covering a big part of the Serengeti. Yet, when there is a dangerous hurdle to cross, they tend to congregate again.

Photographing the great migration in Serengeti National Park

Planning a safari

Planning a safari to witness the Great Migration can sometimes be tricky, as you have to be at the right place in the right time. To get the most out of your trip we have listed down when to go, a migration guide month by month, including an interactive Serengeti map with the predicted route and recommended lodges to stay for the best migration experience.

Also view our sample safaris such as the Safari Serengeti Migration or Safari Adventure Tanzania for more inspiration for your private safari!

Young wildebeest calve in the migration herd in Serengeti

Fast Facts about the Migration

  • The Great Migration is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet
  • Although the migrating animals cross borders, most of the movement takes place in Tanzania
  • Over 1.4 million wildebeest migrate
  • 200,000 zebras join the migration
  • And 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles take part in the journey as well
  • Over 500,000 tiny wildebeest dot the plains in February
  • During the calving season 8,000 young ones are being born every day
  • Wildebeest are born to run; the newborn ones are able to run with the herd just 5 minutes after birth
  • Each animal covers about 800-1000 kilometers in a circular trek
  • Wildebeest have an incredible sense of smell for water and can easily find a water source
  • Zebras help the wildebeest to remember the course of the migration and to watch out for hungry predators
  • Every year almost 300,000 wildebeest and zebras don’t survive the migration due to being attacked by carnivores but also because of thirst, hunger or exhaustion