The most dramatic feature of the migration that people wish to see are the river crossings; these commonly occur in June and early July on the Grumeti river and then August-October on the Mara River; it is very hard to witness this with a regular safari program, you will have plenty of people that want to see it; but it should be clear that in order to have a high chance to see this phenomena then we have to stay with them in remote areas of the Serengeti for a longer period then usual, 3-4 nights in one location at the least, and the accommodation options there are both limited and expensive although getting more options in those areas nowadays
The Calving Season:
During End of January and up to about the end of February; the Female Wildebeest herds drop their calves on the Serengeti plains; this is probably the most dramatic time to visit the short grass plains, but again few locations are good to witness this phenomena, and they fill well in advance; to witness this phenomena we again recommend a minimum of 3 nights in one location.
Below are general guide lines, for each season; but for a serious request that wishes to witness the migration in force we need to see how we build a special program including more then one location!
So in an ideal year the following would be the general guidelines if you want to have good wildlife watching in the Serengeti with reasonable chances to see the migration.
December – April
The southern Serengeti, short grass plains (both Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation area, and the Piaya area outside the Serengeti); the main draw is the calving season that ideally occurs at the end of January and up to about the 3rd week of February, but game viewing to April is stunning.
Lodges: Ndutu Lodge
Tented camps: Kusini camp, Masek camp.
Camping in the southern Serengeti areas; here also there is the west-east axis that means that no lodge can guarantee the migration and best to split the stay, which we do for migration programs like in the north.
Herds move north and west, and fill the Moru Kopjes area and the western wilderness zones.
Lodges: Sopa Serengeti Lodge
Tented camps: Kusini camp
Camping in the Moru & Rongai areas
Herds move north to the western corridor and then onwards through Grumeti reserves to the northern Serengeti.
In this period and usually around end June early July the herds cross the Grumeti river.
Tented camps: Mbalageti Tented lodge, Kirawira Tented Camp, Grumeti River Camp, Soroi Tented camp, Grumeti reserves.
Semi-permanent tented camps that move into the area for that time: EMC, Serengeti Under canvas.
Camping in the Grumeti River area
August – October:
Herds move north to Northern Serengeti during this time the whole north is good, but the herds move fast after rain between Mara and Serengeti and the north east out side the parks (Klein’s area) but always a large part of the herds is inside the Serengeti NP. The Zebra herds move south earlier and reach Seronera by mid – October usually.
In this period the herds cross the Mara River multiple times from south to north and from north to south,
Tented camps: Sayari Camp, Serengeti Bush tops, Olakira camp.
Camping in the Mara River area.
November – December:
Herds move south on the eastern border of the park to Piaya and from there cross into the park, usually they spread through out the whole area.
During this time the center and the east are good, but the herds move fast after rains.
Lodges: Klein’s camp, Mbuzi Mawe. But all the central valley lodges are also good during this time Sopa, Serena etc.
Camping on the eastern side here it is the most varied, and we need to make very late decisions as to the locations due to the fluidity of the herds at this time.