Sopai Safaris Serengeti annual migration travel tips
In the vast plains of Serengeti National Park, comprising 1.5 million hectares of savannah, the annual migration of two million wildebeests plus hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras – followed by their predators in their annual migration in search of pasture and water – is one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world. The biological diversity of the park is very high with at least four globally threatened or endangered animal species: black rhinoceros, elephant, wild dog, and cheetah. Our experience and knowledge in safari consultants will assist you to plan for your unforgettable safari holiday. Our drivers are well experienced and knowledgeable with the entire tourist sites in Tanzania and East Africa as a whole.
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Falling between the “long” and “short” rainy seasons, January sees lush, green, beautiful landscapes in the Serengeti, which make for amazing photos. However, the thicker vegetation makes game viewing more challenging.
January is the start of the calving season in the southern Serengeti and Ndutu region, when thousands of baby wildebeest are born on the plains every day.
Another bonus of travelling in January is the chance to see numerous migratory bird species in the park.
is peak wildebeest calving season, so if you want to see baby animals being born – as well as lots of predator action – then this is the month to travel.
The landscapes are lush and verdant, although this does make seeing animals harder than in the dry season.
February is one of the best months for birdwatchers in the Serengeti, as the migratory species are in the park.
is the start of the “long rains” season – the three wettest months of the year. It rains most days of the month, although it doesn’t usually rain for the entire day. Average day time highs are 29C, while nights go down to a cool 16C.
The Ndutu Region is the best region of the park to stay in March, when the wildebeest herds have their new calves, and there’s lots of predator action as the cats pick on the vulnerable baby animals.
is the wettest month of the year, and even though there’s rain almost every day of the month, it rarely rains all day. April is slightly cooler than March, but it’s still warm during the day, with average highs of 28C.
While calving season has ended, the herds of wildebeest are still in the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu Region, sustained by the lush grass on the plains. However, the herds have also started moving northwards, so you can catch them on the move in the Seronera/Central Serengeti region too.
is less rainy than April, but still one of the wettest months of the year, receiving an average of 18 days of showers in the month. It’s slightly cooler than April, with a maximum average of 27C during the day.
The Central Serengeti is the best region to base yourself in for the month of May, as the Great Migration herds are on the move through the heart of the park this month. Towards the end of the month, the herds have moved into the Western Corridor.
marks the beginning of the dry season – the peak time to be in the park. There’s little rain, and temperatures range from 27C during the day to 15C at night.
In June, the herds move from the Western Corridor into the Grumeti (making the crossing of the Grumeti River) so either of these areas would be a good base.
Dry weather, lush landscapes, clear skies and the Great Migration herds’ crossings of the Grumeti River makes June a wonderful month to visit the Serengeti. Tourist numbers pick up this month after the low season of April and May, so the park is busier.
is the driest month of the entire year, and also the coolest. While day time highs peak at 26C, night time averages are 14C – and can sometimes be even colder so be sure to pack warm clothing for the evenings and early morning game drives.
The Great Migration herds are continuing their move northwards, crossing the Grumeti River in the west of the park in the beginning of the month, and then starting to make the dramatic crossing of the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti towards the end of the month.
River crossings are some of the most dramatic scenes of the Great Migration, and if you travel in July, you’ll be able to catch Grumeti River crossings, as well as the more dramatic Mara River crossings in the north of the park.
The dry vegetation at this time of year makes wildlife spotting easy, and the weather is ideal. It’s one of the most popular months to visit the Serengeti, so parts of the park – especially the Seronera area – can be very busy.
is slightly warmer than July, and it’s also another dry month, with an average of only seven days of rain in the month.
Stay in the Northern Serengeti to see the thrilling scenes of thousands of animals making the crossing over the Mara River as they move across the border into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park.
Mara River crossings are among the most dramatic moments of the Great Migration, and August is the best month to travel to the Serengeti for the chance of seeing river crossings. It’s one of the most popular months of the year for travel to the park, which means that river crossing viewing points can be very busy with other cars.
falls within the Serengeti’s dry season. It’s slightly warmer than August, with day time averages of 28C, but nights are still cool, falling down to 15C.
The Northern Serengeti is the best region to travel to in September to see the Great Migration herds crossing the Mara River into Kenya.
September offers the chance of exciting Mara River crossings in the Northern Serengeti, with fewer tourists than August. It’s also one of the best months of the year to see resident game in other areas of the park.
marks the end of the dry season, and the “short rains” can sometimes start this month. It’s one of the warmer months of the year, with day time highs averaging at 29C.
Some of the Great Migration herds are still in the Northern Serengeti (and still making Mara River crossings), but sometimes this month (depending on when the rains start), the herds start to move back down into the Serengeti from the Masai Mara this month, passing through the Loliondo Game Controlled Area (a concession outside of the park’s northern section).
Depending on when the rains start in October, the herds of the Great Migration will start to make their way from the Masai Mara back down south into the Serengeti, however the exact timing of this movement is unpredictable. There is a chance that you can still catch the last of the river crossings in the Northern Serengeti this month.
Falling at the end of the dry season, October’s very dry and thin vegetation means that this is an excellent month for seeing resident game.
The short rains usually begin this month, bringing fresh green grass to the plains. November is one of the rainiest months of the year, receiving an average of 17 days of rain in the month.
There may still be some animals crossing the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti at the start of the month. However, to see the big herd movements, stay in the Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti, where the animals are on the move en masse towards the fresh grass in the south of the park.
While November is a rainy month, it usually only rains in the afternoons, so you will still have superb game viewing opportunities. It’s a quieter month, so some lodges offer low season rates. November is a great time to travel to the Serengeti if you want to see the full spectacle of the Great Migration herds on the move.
falls during the “short rains” period in the Serengeti, and receives just a bit less rain on average than November. Day time highs are 28C and nights go down to 16C.
At the start of the month, the Great Migration herds are in the Seronera region of the Central Serengeti, while towards the end of the month they are concentrated in the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu Region.
December is a good month to catch the herds on the move from the Central to Southern Serengeti. Depending on the rains, the calving season may also begin towards the end of the month. While December falls during one of the rainy seasons in the Serengeti, the afternoon thundershowers usually clear up quickly, so they don’t tend to cause much disruption to a safari. The rains have turned the plains of the Serengeti lush and green, and the skies are dust free, which makes for great photos.