The Great Migration is a beautiful and phenomenal spectacle you will witness in East Africa. During the Great Migration, over 1.5 million wildebeests migrate from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti. In addition to the wildebeests, you will also see zebras and gazelles migrating together. They undergo a grueling test of nature, going through predators (lions, cheetahs, alligators, and much more) while also taking on the vast terrains between these two monumental national parks. The two national parks also traverse East Africa’s most beautiful and exotic countries, Kenya and Tanzania. Journeying to East Africa during the peak time to witness the Great Migration is an experience unlike any other.
When to Travel
The Great Migration is a cycle of movement that occurs at different times throughout the year. Starting in January, the wildebeests begin their journey towards Masai Mara from Serengeti. Your timing will depend on what you want to experience, and here is a quick guide on what you can expect.
January to March is considered the wet season, where you experience heavy rainfalls. The wildebeests are in the Serengeti and would be giving birth to calves. It is a unique and exciting sight, with over 200,000 calves being born. Keep your cameras ready to witness the magic of birth and the might of the babies. However, be warned that predators are lurking in the surroundings to take advantage of the weak calves.
The herds will begin migrating towards Masai Mara in April. You will witness them cross the Grumeti River during the migration, a dramatic and intense crossing because the river is filled with crocodiles.
If you decide to come during the dry months (July to September), you will see the wildebeests in the Masai Mara. However, during the dry season, the predators are more active, and you may get to witness some sensational sights as the hunt is on and the wildebeests are on the defense.
Where to Travel
If you want to witness this magnificent event, you will need to travel to Kenya in July, when the Great Migration is just about to start. Once you reach Nairobi, you can take a safari jeep to the Masai Mara National Park, which would take five to six hours depending on the road conditions, or take a 45-minute flight to Wilson Airport.
However, you can also travel in January, where the migration begins from the Serengeti National Park. You can take a domestic flight to the Kilimanjaro International Airport or a safari from Arusha to reach Serengeti National Park.
What to Pack
Given that you will be witnessing one of nature’s most iconic movements, you may want to pack a camera. Apart from your camera gear, you will need to wear protective yet comfortable clothing. Apart from clothing, you must keep insect repellents, medicine, malaria pills, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and other essential items such as food and water (although your safari guide may provide this).
Where to Stay
You have many options for accommodations at both the national parks, ranging from budget-friendly camps to luxurious hotels. Depending on your budget, you can take your pick, and some safari tour guides will include accommodations in your package.
A Little Background on the Two National Parks
Masai Mara and the Serengeti are two of the most well-known parks in the region. The Mara is a vast plain land stretching across 1,510 square kilometeres, while the Serengeti spans 300,000 square kilometers, with lush grass, wildflowers, and amazing landscapes.
Are you excited to witness this amazing feat of nature? Read our article Take The Best of Kenya Safari to learn more about the region and have the best vacation.