Migrations in Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is the most renowned national park in the world. Covering over 10,000 square miles of unspoiled wilds, the wildlife park features beautiful landscapes as well as the highest concentration of large predators such as cheetahs, lions and leopard, and other animal species. The diversity of wildlife in the park is unparalleled to any park in Africa. The Serengeti is best known for the Great Migration of 1.7 million wildebeest every year. The wildebeest are accompanied by other animals such as zebra, gazelle, impala, and eland.
Migrations in Serengeti National Park take place throughout the year. The animals move from the Serengeti to Maasai Mara of Kenya, seeking greener pastures – fresh grazing and water.
The Annual Migration in the Serengeti
The exact timing for migration in the park depends greatly on the annual rains and the restoration of green pasture. The short rains start in November and the south-east of Seronera in the Serengeti features short-grass plains. During this period, the herds of wildebeest migration arrive to feed on the fresh and nourishing grasses. During their stay in south Serengeti, the wildebeest calves are produced around February, and they stay here until March. They leave their calving grounds in the south spreading across the plains to the Western Corridor and Grumeti River, and move to the north in April through May to seek fresh grazing and water source. Joined by many gazelles and zebras, they move around the west of Seronera and Moru Kopjes to the north. And, of course, they are in turn followed by the predators.
Then finally, they cross the Mara River to Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya around July or August. This is where the wonderful spectacle takes place, the epic journey – the scenes of fierceness, fright, confusion, and endurance as the animals struggle to move through the crocodile-infested rivers and escape the lions and cheetahs in ambush, over the dry plains parched by wildfires.
Around October and November, they head to the direction of Loliondo and Lobo in eastern Serengeti, returning to the southern Serengeti calving grounds around November to stay there till March.
Then the migrations begin again …
Apart from the migrations in the Serengeti National park, there are several other resident animals such as elephants, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, leopards and a wide variety of mammals like monkeys and baboons, as well as several bird species.
Where to Stay During the Great Migration
There are two major types of accommodation options in the Serengeti – tented camps and lodges. There are luxury camps and lodges with private living space, well-furnished with modern amenities such as king-size beds, sumptuous cuisine, Victorian bathtubs and butler service.
However, if you’re looking to safari in Serengeti during the Migrations, the best place to stay is in a mobile camp. There are several mobile camps in the park, usually located around the herds during the annual spectacle such as Serengeti Under Canvas, Ubuntu, Kimondo and Serengeti Safari Camp. But, if you don’t want to stay in a mobile camp, you can stay at any of the permanent lodges offering luxury comforts, which are positioned strategically in a good location to experience the spectacular display.
The best way to experience the great migration is to go game viewing in 4x4 vehicles, or hot air balloon for a bird’s eye viewing experience.