Wildebeest migration in Tanzania


The annual migration of wildebeest across northern Tanzania is a spectacular event and one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.

Every year, one and a half million wildebeest and zebra move through the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems in search of water and lush green pasture. It’s an amazing spectacle for those lucky enough to witness it, especially from the extraordinary aerial view of a Balloon Safari.

Why do wildebeest migrate?

Every year, the wildebeest migrate around Tanzania and Kenya to follow the rainfall. They take advantage of the seasonal conditions in search of plentiful and favoured grazing opportunities.

The animals tend to follow a clockwise movement through the Serengeti, following the rains for greener grasslands. The five hundred kilometre trip is incredibly dangerous and packed with drama – with predators such as lions, hyena, leopards and crocodiles taking their chance to prey on the migrating wildlife.

It’s no easy feat, but it’s vital for the wildebeest’s survival and the preservation of the circle of life.

Where do the wildebeest go?

The great migration undertaken by the wildebeest is an annual event which sees the wildebeest accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras, gazelles, and other antelope species as they search for fresh food.

This remarkable journey takes the wildlife from the short-grass plains of southern Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya, and back again, in an annual cycle that takes in central and western Serengeti on the way.

The migration is somewhat predictable, as the wildebeest generally all head in the same direction. However, sometimes they can be known to delay or zig-zag along the way, so we never know exactly where the big herds will be.

When do wildebeest migrate in Tanzania?

Whilst we have a good idea of where the wildebeest should be at any given time of year, it really does depend on where and when the rain falls.

With most calving happening around February time, they begin their cycle in the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu area around April, moving through central Serengeti in May-June, then into the Western Corridor in June-July before ending up in northern Serengeti until about November, spectacularly criss-crossing the Mara River as they follow the rain storms. They head south again towards the end of the year, via central Serengeti back to the short grass plains in the south, usually arriving at their most southern extent by Christmas.

The wildebeest migration is an incredible show of nature at its finest, and one of our most sought-after safari experiences.

At Serengeti Balloon Safaris, we have over 30 years’ experience flying over the Serengeti, observing as the wildebeest make their great migration. While it is impossible to know the exact timings of the wildebeest’s movements, our team of specialists have a great deal of knowledge that will help ensure every safari is an unforgettable experience.

Get in touch today to discuss your next Serengeti adventure with one of our Balloon Safari experts.

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