Nothing will prepare you for the spectacle that is the Great Migration. This annual journey of more than 2 million animals is a safari-seeker’s Holy Grail, the ultimate in wildlife experiences. Some say it’s one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
You need to plan carefully if you want to catch this migration as it happens, and our just-published Complete African Safari Planner can help you choose the right time and place. Everything depends on the type of animal-watching experience you’re looking for. If you visit the Serengeti in July you’re likely to see the crocodiles in a wildebeast feeding frenzy on the Grumeti River. For a more calm experience visit during calving season from December through March. To learn more, see our Great Migration article (pdf download, includes a month-by-month migration map) from the new full-color Safari guide!
The Best Lodges for Spectacular Sightings
No matter where you stay during the Great Migration, you’ll be assured of unforgettable sights. But we’ve highlighted a few camps where sightings may be even more spectacular. Remember that world weather cycles are changing—there’s no guarantee that at that particular place and time your game-viewing will always live up to the National Geographic TV Channel.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
Little Governors’ Camp, Kenya. A ferry ride across the Mara River and a short walk escorted by armed guides takes you to this lovely camp sited directly in the path of the wildebeest migration.
Plan Your Safari in the Forums: “Little Governors is a very magical place – from taking the boat across to get to the camp, then the animals wandering around the campground, to the gourmet meals and absolutely wonderful staff. We fell in love with this place!” –Holger (more)
Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Kenya. If you get tired of looking at the endless grasslands where the migration takes place in front of your eyes, then spot game at the lodge’s own busy waterhole.
Plan Your Safari in the Forums: “We stayed at the Mara Serena and had a great time there… Our game drives were fantastic every day (we had our own vehicle and driver from Nairobi). Also, we did not need to get up at an ungodly hour to catch the hot air ballon ride (and the pilot there is a great guy), and several of the Serena’s activities were outstanding experiences for us — their night game drive, especially, and also the “‘Breakfast with the Hippos.'”–MyDogKyle (more)
Sayari Camp, Tanzania. This camp is perfectly poised for watching the Mara River crossing, when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest plunge into the crocodile-infested water on their journey north.
Grumeti River Camp, Tanzania. Watch out for galloping wildebeest at this exclusive camp on the banks of the famed Grumeti River, where you’ll be perfectly positioned to witness one of the greatest shows on earth.
Plan Your Safari in the Forums: “If you have one location in central Serengeti and one in either western or northern Serengeti, then my suggestion was for Grumeti if you were there in June.” –Dana_M (more)
Serengeti Under Canvas, Tanzania. This luxury mobile camp follows the migration, staying put for a couple of months and then moving north with the herds. Not cheap but worth every penny.
Plan Your Safari in the Forums: “I did SUC last February and it was the highlight of our trip. We were in the Ndutu area and the migration was amazing. My favorite part of the day was at about 4:00 until sundown as the lighting was something I will never forget. The food was excellent, the management was top notch and the guiding was good.” –MonicaH (more)
Start your safari planning today. Ask a question in the Africa forum.