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May, June or July... Best time to view wildebeest migration in Serengeti?

May, June or July... Best time to view wildebeest migration in Serengeti?

Sep 6th, 2010, 10:41 AM
  #1  
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May, June or July... Best time to view wildebeest migration in Serengeti?

I am in the process of planning a safari for 2011. We have some flexibility on when to visit the Serengeti (between May & July) and want to visit during an optimal period for viewing the wildebeest migration.

Based on your experiences, is the migration best viewed in the Serengeti in May, June or July?

Thanks in advance......
gred78 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Here is a great link for the migration
http://www.wildwatch.com/great_migration/


June and July will have better weather
FrankS is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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June thru mid-July in Western Serengeti.
Though from year-to-year, the herds can more earlier or later.
sandi is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:47 PM
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We were lucky enough to catch some of the Mara River crossing in the Northern Serengeti on our last trip when we were there in early July. On our previous trip, we were a bit earlier and saw the herds in the Western corridor at the end of June.
Calo is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 06:56 PM
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Frank, Sandi & Calo - would you say that the same broad dates generally hold for the eastern arm of the migration as well?
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Sangeeta, not sure what you mean by "eastern arm", but if you mean the return of the migration to the Serengeti from the Mara, it generally occurs in Oct/Nov/Dec in a more easterly path than the one heading north.
Calo is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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Sangeeta -

If by "eastern" you mean when the herds reach Central, while most go to the Western corridor, there are some that head due north. So this group would be to the east of those heading west!

Otherwise, as Calo... if returning to Serengeti from Mara, that would be late-Oct/Nov on their way south to Central, Southeast and Ndutu by Dec/Jan.
sandi is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Sorry for that awkwardly phrased question, Calo & Sandi. I was referring to the "due north" wildies (east of those heading west) - I should have said this:

It appears that when the migration moves towards the Mara, some herds head westwards to the Grumeti area and approach the Mara from that direction while other herds simply head due north (Lobo, Bologonja). Since these herds don't have a Grumeti river crossing, do they get to the Mara any sooner or later than the Grumeti herds, or is it all pretty much at the same time?
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Hi, Yes you have already got the correct answers already, personally i would stay at 2-3 places in the serengeti, like 2-3 nights western region and 2-3 nights northern region, would pretty much ensure you would see the migration

Also u can split it at 2 nights and add the central region of serengeti, which according to me is the best part of the serengeti and would give you optimal viewing of the big cats compared to the other regions

Happy planning, Sonali
sonali74 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Splitting your time between Central and West works as does Central and North. But to get West and North together is lots of driving or expensive flights. And, more often than not getting up north too early can be very disappointing.
sandi is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 06:54 PM
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Thanks so much, Sandi & Sonali. I have a 12 day mobile already scheduled for the Serengeti - likely 11-23 July, 2011, so the driving time is not an issue really. Trying to decide which areas to concentrate on (We'll move 3-4 times). While I had Grumeti in my original plans, anecdotal evidence of increased tse-tses in the area made me think that we may be better off avoiding the west altogether and concentrating on Central and Northern Serengeti. Am I being foolish?
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Sangeeta,

We were in the Grumeti area (Kirawira) in July this year and the tse-tses were only out in the afternoons and no real bother. So don't stay away from the Western Serengeti because of the flies!
AKR1 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2010, 08:08 PM
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Hi AKR1 - I just went back & re-read the Kirawira portion of your report to refresh my memory about your tse-tse & other animal encounters Your sightings sound pretty spectacular. Now for a couple more reassuring comments & back goes Grumeti into the itinerary!

Thanks very much for your input - it's the real info. we get from real people that make these boards so valuable.
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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... and we never encountered any tse-tse flies in Grumeti. But did during our drive thru Central, or rather my friend was bothered by these; I only got a single bite between two fingers... ugh! and it really wasn't a big deal. Tse-tse are found mostly in woodland areas... roll up the windows till you pass and then all is good again.

Tse-tse flies are out during daytime; mossies out from dusk/dawn.
sandi is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Hi,Sangeeta, Wow you do have many days in the serengeti. Personally serengeti is one of my most favourite parks.

Is it possible to do this trip in february or september, because the mara is famous for its river crossings in sept, and the serengeti is famous for it's calving season,in feb, at which time the wildies give birth. It usually take place in the short grass plains and as the land is flat totally only grass, it is a fascinating sight.

I have been at kirawira in western serengeti in july, that year somehow the wildies were still in between the central and western region and the main herd was somewhere in central and south serengeti. I took a full day game drive, left early, saw the migration around the central region, had lunch at serena and went back to kirawira.

As you have a luxury of many nights, i would suggest you spend, 4 nights central area, 4 nights northern area ( the northern area is pretty big compared to the western area which is sandwiched btw game reserves, so even if the migration is not there, you will see more animals and more areas to visit )and 2 nights western area. Alternatively if you donnot want to stay in the western region, you can do a day trip to the western region if the bulk of the migration is there.

There is a site which has the migration info on serengeti of previous years, go to www.atta.co.uk and on the right hand side click on the nomad tanzania link, here you will be able to read where the migration was in july for the past 5-7 years.

I enjoy planning safaris !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy Sangeeta,

Sonali
sonali74 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 02:57 PM
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Thanks again, Sandi & Sonali. Good to get that second concurring opinion on Grumeti. I am intrigued by the drive-in idea as well.

Hopefully, there will be some big herds somewhere in the Serengeti in early-mid July, so if we're not lucky enough to be in the midst of them because of our pre-booked campsites, we can still get to them by doing all day drives as needed - either to Grumeti or to another part of the park. A real Serengeti expert over at Safaritalk has been kind enough to help me with my itinerary on the basis of his previous mobile safaris in the area, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

I was fortunate to see the migration + crossings in the Mara some years ago, Sonali. I have to confess, I don't particularly want to see another crossing. Even worse than the crocs were the trampled wildies - not something I want to see again. Ndutu in Feb./March is in my future plans. Celebrating a big birthday next year in July - hence the July itinerary.

Hope you have a wonderful time on your upcoming Mara trip.

Thank you all - Sangeeta
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 09:16 PM
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Hi, Sangeeta, I have never seen a mara crossing till now, been a serengeti buff till date.

Are the crossings so terrible ? Frankly i donnot look forward to seeing animals being trampled dead and taken by crocs in front of me.

Mostly If i see one,then will just spend a few minutes at a crossing, as the area where a crossing takes part, becomes very crowded.

Then head out as , mostly am looking forward to seeing the herds congregated and driving amidst them, simply loved doing that in the serengeti.

Also am a crazy lion fan, so with the migration in mara I hope to see loads of lions, as during this time the lion population increases in the mara.

Have a great birthday and mention it to your TA, they will do something special at the camp/lodge you are staying.

Where are you based ? I am based in ahmedabad in India ? your name suggests an indian origin.

Love to do tiger safaris in india ? Have you done any ? Must do them i you haven't,I have some trip reports of indian parks visited on the forum

Cheers,Sonali
sonali74 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 10:19 PM
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Hi Sonali - didn't mean to put you off the crossings but there was one that we saw which involved many many hundreds of wildies stampeding down the river banks. That's the only one that resulted in tramplings, but it was a very distressing sight. Also, it really smelt of death. Like you, I prefer just seeing the congregated herds & driving among them - feels a little bit like Moses and the Red Sea parting, doesn't it

I am based in the US - and yes, very much of Indian origin. I'm looking forward to reading your trip reports about the Indian parks. Will def. ask you & Hari for pointers on my next trip back.

Here's hoping it rains lions and cheetahs for you in the Mara.

Sangeeta
sangeeta is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Sangeeta, I've stayed at both Kirawira and Mbalageti in the western corridor in June and July without tse tse fly problems.

I've done day-drives from Kirawira to Lobo and from Mbalageti to north of the Bologonja gate. Both were all day affairs and highlights of my trips. My choice is to drive these routes rather than fly because I don't want to miss anything.

If you have a good guide, he'll know where the herds are, so you can drive to them fairly easily if you plan stays in the west and north. We drive back from the north through the Seronera, staying overnight somewhere, in order to cover most of the Serengeti. Don't forget that there is lots of resident wildlife in most areas, so there is almost always something to see - large or small. The highlight for me, other than the river crossing which I gather you don't want to witness, was the wildlife in Bologonja....and no other vehicle traffic.
Calo is offline  
Sep 9th, 2010, 08:20 PM
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Thanks, Calo. Very helpful to hear that if you're reasonably well positioned, you can head out in pretty much any direction on all day drives. I was worried about missing the Grumeti herds with my present campsite configuration, but now I think we'll be ok.

Bill Given (at thewildsource) is taking care of this for us. He has 2 fantastic guides (one of whom, Felix, has been highly recommended by another Fodorite, and the other, Deo, was the chief guide for a BBC documentary called "Real Serengeti") so I feel we're in very good hands with them.

I agree with you - often it's the little moments that remain etched in ones memory. I am thinking of a cheeky little vervet monkey outside our tent one afternoon that spent at least 5 minutes mimicking every movement of my head before stretching out for its own afternoon siesta...

Hooray for the lack of vehicle traffic. Looking forward to some wildie traffic jams though.

Thank you very much for your insights. I think I'm pretty set now. Hopefully gred78 has gotten all the information he/she wanted on the Serengeti migration. Didn't mean to hijack your thread, gred78 - hope the conversation helped you.
sangeeta is offline  
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