Every year more than 1.5 million wildebeest and 200 000 zebra and gazelle migrate in a big loop across the plains of the Masai Marai National Park in Kenya and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This migration is recognised as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Natural World” – an awe-inspiring spectacle of antelope on the move, pursued by predators such as crocodiles and lions. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world and an absolute must if you’re a nature lover.
While most people think of it as an annual event, the Great Migration is in fact a continuous cycle, with the animals moving back and forth between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, crossing the Mara River each time in search of better grazing (the saying “the grass is greener on the other side” perfectly sums up their motivation!).
The Great Migration on a budget
The Masai Mara and the Serengeti are expensive safari destinations, and prices are highest during the months of the migration. It is possible, however, to see the Great Migration on a budget.
Your best budget option is to do an overland trip to either Tanzania or Kenya during the migration period. We offer a number of budget overland safaris to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara where you camp in the parks and spend your days on game drives, seeing those nature documentary scenes first hand.
Popular budget Masai Mara and Serengeti safaris include:
10 Day Best of Kenya and Tanzania tented camps – a more luxurious trip than most of our camping overland trips – recommended if you want to sleep out in the wild in tented camps
15 Day Kenya and Tanzania safari – recommended if you want to get in some beach time (in form of the beautiful tropical island of Zanzibar) after safaris in Masai Mara and the Serengeti
When to see the Great Migration
In June and July, the herds start amassing along the Grumeti River in the Serengeti, preparing to head northwards to the Masai Mara. In August and September, the herds reach the Mara River and start to make the famous crossing, many dying in the process, and many being eaten by crocodiles. These are the quintessential migration scenes you may have seen in nature documentaries – hordes of animals moving at once with single-minded purpose, and the dramatic deaths that happen along the way. By October the herds start moving from the Masai Mara southwards back to the Serengeti. With changing weather patterns though, the migration is not always predictable and the movement patterns vary a lot, but you can bank on the end of August to the end of September being the best time to see the Great Migration if you want to witness the big river crossing.