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Great Migration Route by Month

January

The migration spreads throughout the Southern Serengeti, feasting on the lush short grass of the Southern plains.

In January, wildebeest and zebra herds move southwards along the eastern edge of the Serengeti, toward the fresh short grasses of the Ndutu plains. Large herds have already arrived in the Southern Serengeti near Lake Ndutu, where they will graze and prepare to give birth. Hungry predators watch them closely, seeking vulnerable newborns and hunting opportunities.

Meanwhile, far away from the migration and its crowds, high concentrations of resident predators and animals such as cheetah, lion and elephant, remain in the Northern, Central and Western Serengeti and the Maasai Mara. Here they congregate around permanent water sources such as the Mara and Grumeti rivers, which are free of the usual crowds of people at this time.

February

Peak calving season amongst the short grasses of the Southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Massive herds of wildebeest fill the vast grassy plains of the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with a significant percentage of births occurring within a 3 week period. The herds on high alert for predators which are everywhere, ready to hunt the weak and vulnerable members of the herd.

The Northern Serengeti, away from the migration at this time, is ideal to combine with the migration in the South, since huge concentrations of resident game remain in the North year-round for territorial predators to hunt, yet all of the tourists are in the South for the migration at this time.

March

The herds remain spread over the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

In March, two million wildebeest and zebra remain mostly stationary, feasting on fresh grasses in the southern plains of the Serengeti and Ndutu, as their new calves grow stronger and prepare to move north. A hot-air balloon safari over the plains is the best way get the full perspective of how truly massive the herds are.

Huge concentrations of resident wildlife also remain in the Northern Serengeti at this time, devoid of the usual crowds of people. Combining the migration in the South with the crowd-free North gives you the best of both worlds, including the best chance to see Rhino which may be more easily viewed in the North.

April

The rains begin and the herds begin to move. Some camps close for the low season, except those in the Central Serengeti where the migration is headed.

The newborn calves are now strong enough to leave the Southern Serengeti and start migrating North, through the Moru Kopjes and Seronera areas and into the Central Serengeti. April also marks the coming of the rain in Tanzania, and it can be a good time to stay in the Central Serengeti, where camps are typically open year-round. The migration will begin heading north towards these sectors.

May

The migration heads North through Seronera towards the Western Corridor.

In May, the migration pushes northwest into the western corridor of the Serengeti. The herds tend to stagger their arrival in waves, the first of which arrive in western Serengeti by the Grumeti River, while the remainder of the herd lags behind in the Southern and Central Serengeti. At the end of the month, they begin to form a mega-herd again. Most camps begin to reopen.

June

Herds mass in the western corridor, bunching before crossing the Grumeti River.

In June, a large migration herd is formed in the western Serengeti on the southern banks of the Grumeti River, with some smaller groups farther east in the central Seronera area of the park. The wildebeest and zebra tend to combine into a mega-herd before crossing the crocodile-filled Grumeti River to continue north. June also begins the rutting, or breeding, season for the wildebeest, creating a lot of activity and excitement amongst the herds, as males exhibit their prowess and fight for female favor.

July

Some herds cross the Grumeti and others continue North to the Mara River.

In July, as available grasses are exhausted and begin to dry, the herds move northward for fresh grazing. Some of the herds linger in the western Serengeti, while most continue to move northeast in search of greener plains, typically arriving at the Mara River in the northern Serengeti in mid- to late-July. These front-runners begin the treacherous crossing of the crocodile-filled Mara River.

August

Herds move into the far Northwest of the Serengeti. The famous Mara river crossings begin to peak for the next few months.

In August, wildebeest and zebra herds begin their annual crossing of the Mara River in the northwest corner of the Serengeti, in search of fresh grass on the other side. The river crossings, though unpredictable, can be seen almost daily at this time of year.

September

Herds continue to cross the Mara and arrive in the Northern-most Serengeti.

In September, exciting crossings at the Mara River is still a common occurrence. The abundant local wildlife only enhances the overall experience, and this is simply an excellent time of year for safari in the Northern and Central Serengeti, as the herds spread over a wide area to graze, and mix with the abundant resident wildlife.

October

Mara River crossings begin to wane, most herds remain in the far North, with some turning South as the short rains beckon towards the end of the month.

In October, the migration can still be found in the Northern Serengeti as herds continue to graze in large numbers with lion and other predators always in the vicinity. River crossings can still be seen on occasion. As the short rains begin to brew toward the end of October, the first of the herds begin to journey back south along the eastern edge of the Serengeti, following new grasses.

November

The migration moves swiftly South on the east side of the Serengeti National Park.

In November, the short rains have begun to fall, and migration moves South at a fast pace, with the goal of reaching the short-grass plains once again. The mega-herd breaks into smaller pockets of wildebeest and zebra, rumbling across the plains from the Northern Serengeti all the way to the Central Seronera plains and the Eastern Serengeti.

December

The migration moves through Ndutu and the NCA in the Eastern Serengeti in time for short rains and fresh grasses.

In December, the migration continues moving south toward the short-grass plains of Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Some herds can be spotted in the Central and Eastern Serengeti as they move South, while early arrivals can be found already in Ndutu feasting on fresh grasses. This is a great time to see large herds thundering across the plains and beginning to gather in the South.

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