Book Your Great Migration Safari Tour In Tanzania Today!
If you’re interested in safari tours in Tanzania, it is important to know when to book your safari adventure! In general, the best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, which runs from late June to October. Otherwise, you may get caught in the rain. Tanzania has two distinct rainy seasons: the first from April to May (the “long rains”) and the second from November to December (the “short rains”).
For a Great Migration safari tour, the time of year will influence what you will be able to see and where your safari guide will take you! The Great Migration is a cyclical event, with great herds of animals moving from Tanzania into Kenya and back again. The animals are on the hunt for food, and follow the rains to the areas that allow them the best opportunity to forage. Being in the right place at the right time is necessary to see the herds in transit!
Follow The Wildebeest Across The Serengeti
One of the best places to watch the Great Migration on safari tours in Tanzania is at the Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti is where the great herds of wildebeest and other animals begin their migration in the early part of the year, and where they return at the end of the year. Here is a handy schedule explaining what you will see during each month of the year when you schedule a Great Migration safari tour.
Safari Tours in January, February, and March
The Great Migration begins in the Serengeti National Park. Each year, large herds of wildebeest and zebra begin to congregate in the southern plains of the Serengeti in January. In February, more than 500,000 wildebeest calves are born! Many tour operators offer African Migration Safari tours during these first few months of the year, which allows visitors to see the young animals grow and find their place in the large herds migrating across the country’s vast plains. This initial movement of the great herds occurs during the dry season, which makes it a very attractive time for tourists to visit Tanzania.
Safari Tours in April and May
After the calving of the new wildebeest, the herd size explodes. As the newborn animals mature, the herds begin to make their way northward toward the central Serengeti plains. Although there are still tour options during these two months, it is a less popular time to book safari tours in Tanzania. The months of April and May fall during the country’s rainy season, and the heavy rains can impact travel routes and make a safari far less enjoyable for all!
Safari Tours in June
As the rainy season comes to an end, the eastern plains of the Serengeti start to dry out, prompting the great herds to move on in search of a fresh food source. The herds make their way toward the Western Corridor and the Grumeti River, which they must cross if they want to reach the Maasai Mara plains in Kenya. The Grumeti River is one of the first obstacles the wildebeest herd faces on their route from Tanzania to Kenya, and it is infested with crocodiles!
This dramatic river crossing is one of the most popular events for tourists on safari tours in Tanzania. So, if you are interested in seeing the wildebeest ford the raging Grumeti River, make sure to book your safari early with a Great Migration safari tour! It is also important to ask your tour operator how many days you will be able to spend at a camp along the river, in order to maximize your chances of seeing the great herds take the plunge and make the crossing. Many times, it will take several days of patient waiting and watching before you finally see the brave animals make the crossing. Be sure to check with your tour guide to get a better handle on your itinerary!
What To Expect During The Grumeti River Crossing
A river crossing is not a single event, so you can be assured that you will be able to see animals crossing the river during the dry season in large groups ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands. When a herd arrives at the banks of the Grumeti River, they usually search for a place to cross. Generally, they are looking for a place where the river bank is not too steep.
Often, the animals are hesitant to cross and linger for hours along the river bank before the first work up the courage to take the dreaded plunge. After the first animals make their way across, the others will follow. Because river crossings cannot be predicted, many tour operators would recommend spending as much time as you can around the river area during your Great Migration safari tour. Nature cannot be rushed, nor can the herds who are facing a life-or-death scenario! Although it can be frustrating to travelers, the payoff is finally seeing a massive stream of wildebeest making their way across the Grumeti toward Kenya.
When on safari, it is important to remember that your guide is there to keep you safe and make sure you have a positive viewing experience. There are certain guidelines to follow if you are hoping to see the herds cross the Grumeti, including:
- Stay out of sight of the animals (this keeps them from getting “spooked”)
- Remain in the safari vehicle at all times
- Remember to stay quiet while waiting to see the river crossing, so the animals do not get distracted
- Allow your guide to “drive” the experience, to keep you safe and make sure you experience the animals moving across the river on their northward journey
With a little luck, you may be able to see the great herds cross the river more than once during your stay at a camp near the Grumeti River.
The Great Migration In Kenya
After the wildebeest and their followers cross the Grumeti River, they continue their journey north toward the Mara River. This river marks the border between Tanzania and Maasi Mara in Kenya. Once the herds have made their way across the Mara River, they continue to navigate their way through Kenya – until returning back to the plains of the Serengeti at the end of the year.
No matter where you plan to watch the great herds cross the Serengeti on any one of the African migration safari tours that are offered by tour operators, you are sure to be wowed by the amazing journey these animals undertake on an annual basis. But if you truly want to see something special, consider booking a Great Migration safari tour that includes a stay along the Grumeti River to witness firsthand the dramatic river crossing these animals must undertake on their way to find better foraging grounds. You won’t be disappointed with your choice!