When Can You See The Great Migration in Tanzania?

Written by Thomson Safaris

When people think of the Great Migration, they often envision an enormous herd of wildebeest risking their lives in the iconic river crossings. It’s an image most animal lovers have seen captured in their favorite nature documentaries, and it’s what inspires many travelers to ask our consultants when to go on safari in Tanzania. However, those river crossings are just one part of the Great Migration.

In fact, the Great Migration is an endless movement of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles searching for food and mating partners. It happens all year long, all over Tanzania.

Thomson Safaris guests never have to worry about “missing” the migration, since our team places guests in safari accommodations located right in the middle of the action. You’ll see different stages of the Great Migration depending on when you go:

January – March

During the height of the green season, nearly half a million animals give birth to wobbly calves. Within hours, these babies are able to follow the herds on their own, but they’re still vulnerable to predators.

wildebeest calving

April – June

“April showers” take on a much different meaning in the Serengeti. Heavy rains occur all month long, causing the herds and their calves to migrate up north. After the bounty of the green season, wildebeest are healthy – and attractive. That’s when the annual rut, a mass breeding event on the Serengeti’s southern plains, takes place. It’s also when the males are especially territorial.

wildebeest rut

July – September

As the grasses get drier and the food and water supply diminishes, the group heads north. Dramatic crossings through the Mara and Grumeti Rivers occur in the months when the herds’ hunger outstrips their fear of the dangerous, croc-infested waters.


October – December

If you cross once, you have to cross again! The herds make another go of the perilous river crossing back toward the southern plains, and it’s all worth it when they experience some relief from the 6-month long drought. Short rains and greener grasses lure the herds back to the southern Serengeti, and the plentiful food and water supply is much appreciated – especially among the females, who are in the late stages of pregnancy in these months. They make their way to the southernmost point of their journey to give birth, and the cycle starts all over again.

wildebeest of great migration on serengeti plains

No matter when you go on safari in Tanzania, you’ll witness some of the best wildlife viewing in the world.

View our dates and prices page and start planning your safari today!