Want to see Tanzania’s wildlife in its full splendour? Then, visit during the best time to see the great migration.

The Great Migration is East Africa’s most bucket-list-worthy safari experience. Each year, 1.4 million wildebeest,  a round trip between Tanzania and Kenya, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebra, and gazelle.

The mind-boggling numbers attract wildlife lovers from around the globe to watch the suspenseful river crossings or the 500,000 newly born wildebeest calves take their first steps.

But did you know the Great Migration isn’t a one-and-done event? It’s a year-round cycle, with each month offering a different experience. In this guide, you’ll find a complete breakdown on when is the best time to see the Great Migration and which of the Serengeti’s four regions has the best front-row seat to all the action.

Where to see the great migration

The best time to see the great migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration holds the title of “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth” for a reason. Each year, roughly between May and December, millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle begin a roundtrip journey between Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. With hungry predators following their every move, it sets the scene for an unforgettable safari experience. But this event isn’t wholly predictable.

It’s a natural phenomenon and depends on the rains, environmental factors, and animals.

Think of the below breakdown as a general guideline of the best time to see the Great Migration.

“What happens if you’re visiting Tanzania outside of these months?” you ask.

Well, you’ll still see animals. The Serengeti is vast, and there are millions of animals involved so you’re bound to witness the herds walking across the endless plains.

The best time to see the great migration: Month-by-month breakdown

The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most amazing natural phenomena on earth. From July to October, an incredible number of animals migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti plains across the Mara River and into Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve.

It’s a breathtaking sight that you won’t want to miss! Here’s when to see the migration, month-by-month.

December to March: The great migration calving season

Tanzania - great migration calving season - when is the best time to see the great migration

Love baby animals? The Southern Serengeti is where the circle of life begins in Tanzania. The herds make their way from the Central Serengeti and move between the Ndutu area and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where the calving season begins.

The rain has dried up by January, leaving a buffet for the herbivore herds in its wake. The wildebeest feast on the newly-sprouted grasses around Lake Ndutu and Kusini as the females prepare to give birth.

Between late January and March, around 8,000 calves are born a day. That’s a grand total of 500,000 wildebeest! 

Within 10 minutes after birth, the calves take their first steps and get ready to move with the massive herd. This gives rise to predator action as the massive herd has to defend its newborn from hungry carnivores.

If seeing this incredible spectacle is high up on your bucket list, this is one of the best periods to book a Great Migration safari in Tanzania.

What we recommend: The 7-Day Wildebeest Migration Calving Season Safari | $3768 per person sharing.

April to May: The herds move from Ndutu to central Serengeti

Tanzania - ndutu to central serengeti - when is the best time to see the great migration

Leaving behind a barren landscape in the south, the wildebeest herds follow the call of thunderstorms to the Central Serengeti.

Book a safari between April and May, and you’ll see massive herds move through the Moru Kopjes towards the Western Corridor. Here, the animals congregate in the thousands on the banks of the Mbalageti and Grumeti rivers.

The only problem? It’s a treacherous river crossing with crocodiles and other predators lying in wait.

What We Recommend: The 6-Days Tanzania Migration Safari |$2599 per person sharing.

June: The Grumeti river crossing begins in the western Serengeti

Tanzania - grumeti river crossing - when is the best time to see the great migration

In June, the drama of the Great Migration starts. While the Grumeti and Mbalageti river crossings aren’t as intense as the northern crossings, you will not be bored.

The crocodiles in the murky waters pick off wildebeest as they attempt to make their way across, and testosterone-fuelled males kick off the rutting season.

As this is the shoulder season for the Great Migration, it’s a fantastic option if you want to avoid the crowds in the Northern Serengeti and scoop up a cheaper safari package.

What We Recommend: The 7 Days Grumeti River Migration Safari | $3929 per person sharing.

July to August: The great migration northern Serengeti river crossing

Tanzania - great migration northern northern serengeti - when is the best time to see the great migration

Are you looking for the most sought-after Great Migration experience? With the Grumeti river crossing behind them, the herds move from the west to the Northern Serengeti into Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

…And the stakes get higher as the animals attempt to cross the Mara River. Nile crocodiles snap their jaws as the herds trample through the waters, and lions are ready to pounce on the other side.

Above, Marabou storks and vultures stalk the skies, ready to feast on the unlucky few who don’t make it. The game viewing is sensational, frenzied, and unmatched.

With so much action, it’s not surprising this is Tanzania’s high season. Book your flights, lodging, and Great Migration safaris early. It fills up fast.

What We Recommend: The 8 Days Mara River Migration Safari | $5205 per person sharing or 7 Das Mara River Migration Safari | $4165 per person sharing.

September to October: Masai Mara and northern Serengeti

Tanzania - masai mara northern serengeti - when is the best time to see the great migration

After the drama of the Mara river crossing, the herds move on to Kenya’s Masai Mara. But that doesn’t mean your Tanzania safari experience is dull over these months.

Some of the animals remain in the northern Serengeti on the lookout for fresh grass. You’ll find the animals wandering over the plains, re-crossing the river, and running from predators while in search of food.

By the first or second week of October, the herds will come back from Kenya and move from the Northern Serengeti to Central Serengeti.

What we recommend: The 7 Days Mara River Migration Safari | $4165 per person sharing

November: Central to southern Serengeti migration

Tanzania - guided safari package - when is the best time to see the great migration

With the herds returning to Tanzania, the cycle starts to begin again. Moving from the north, the animals begin their journey to reach the southern plains and the freshly sprouting grasses.

Don’t want to miss the migration? Plan a safari for the central Serengeti and Seronera Valley. It’s quieter than the northern regions of the park, and you won’t have massive crowds around predator sightings. The only downside? It’s the rainy season.

While you might have less than perfect weather, it’s an excellent time of year to catch the migrating birds returning to Tanzania.

The lack of crowds and storms have another bonus: safari deals! You’ll find lower rates at lodges and scoop up safari packages for almost half the price.

What We Recommend: 6 Days Tanzania Migration Safari | $2599 per person sharing.

How to see the great migration herds


Want to maximize your chances of seeing the river crossings and new-born calves? Here’s what you can expect from the different transport options for Serengeti National Park.


Tanzania - self drive - when is the best time to see the great migration

Can you self-drive in Serengeti National Park? Yes, you can! That said, we don’t recommend it. WhThe Serengeti is vast (it’s 14,763 square km), and you can easily get lost. You’ll also need to have a 4WD vehicle, and some of the roads (like the one running from Naabi Hill gate to Seronera) are notorious for their rough driving conditions.

If you do decide to go with a self-drive option:

  • Make sure you plan your route well in advance.
  • Hire a 4WD vehicle.
  • Hire a guide to help you navigate around the park.

Guided safari package

Tanzania - guided safari package - when is the best time to see the great migration

A guided safari tour is the best way to get around the Serengeti and see the Great Migration herds.

You can book various package options to suit your needs ranging from budget-friendly tented camps to Tanzania’s top luxury lodges. All the options include a certified safari guide and vehicle, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the experience.

The advantages of signing up for a guided safari package:

  • Includes accommodation, park fees, transfers, and game drives.
  • Professional guides who know how to navigate the park and where the herds gather.
  • It saves you time, and you don’t have to figure out everything by yourself.

Hot air balloon safari

Tanzania - hot air balloon safari - when is the best time to see the great migration

For something different (that you’ll rave about for years), book a hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti.

Taking off before sunrise, you’ll watch the landscape come alive and silently glide past the massive herds of wildebeest and other wildlife.

It’s a unique way to see the Great Migration and get a birds-eye view of the immense scale of the Serengeti and the roaming herds.

Meet Good People

Get to know different people of Tanzania. You will be welcomed with a friendly faces once you plan Tanzania safari, ready to share with your their experiences and listen to yours.

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Our Reviews

Conservationist honeymooners say go with Epic Africa Adventure! Do you want a REAL Epic Africa Adventure, and at a reasonable price? Look no further, because Daniel, the owner of EAA, will organise everything you want. Be clear about the trip you want and the budget you have, and Epic African Adventure will try to put together an itinerary that will be perfect for you. After a lot of research, we found EAA to be the best for budget and accommodating everything we had asked for in our itinerary. We paid a little extra and had our own guide/driver, Damian, and Daniel made sure that we had everything we needed and was happy with everything throughout our 6-day Epic Africa Adventure.
Wonderful and memorable safaris Daniel and his team did everything exceptionally well, and provided a trip of a lifetime, with good value for money. From the airport pick-up, to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Olduvai, Tarangire, Manyara safaris, packed lunches and the extra mile, everything was great with Epic. The tour guides were professional and patient and we were booked into some of the best lodges that Serengeti had to offer. Such a memorable adventure!!
Perfect safari experience! Absolutely wonderful safari experience. Daniel was so helpful from when I first contacted him, his guide Aminiel was super knowledgeable, and his chef Richard was very kind! We felt very supported and looked after the whole way, the route was amazing, and we saw many incredible animals. Daniel is a trustworthy, reliable, and kind man - thank you so much for a perfect safari experience!
tamara n
tamara n
Amazing!!! The organisation was very quick from the beggining , also when I get there everything was as I expected, the guides very kind and telling us everything about the wild life and history , the food and the chefs were also amazing, I did it twice with them and i will do it again for sure! Thank so much for everything!!
René J
René J
Great!! Very good service. Daniel was very helpfull.Everything from picking me up at the AirPort drive me around the city
Mohammed S
Mohammed S
Amazing Trip We had wonderful 4 days in Safari with Daniel and his amazing guide Titho, visited Tarangire, ngorongoro, and Serengiti, we been lucky to see the big 5 and cheetah.The trip was well organised, even when we had comment on one of the hotels, Daniel took immediate action to keep us comfortable.Titho is an amazing guide with massive knowledge, answering all of our questions and doing the best to ensure you are satisfied and see all animals. The cost of the trip was the best we got as well after talking to many agencies.I would recommend Daniel and Titho for sure.
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Amine b
Wonderful Journey in Tanzania, Zanzibar & Safari Ngorongoro It begins when I started communicating with Mr. Daniel in planning stage, he was very patient and answered all my queries.Moreover, he suggested to hire a car baby seat to protect my infant who is a one year old.He suggested 2 accommodations on Safari and i selected non tent one coz i have 2 young kids.There was a lovely lady, chief who prepared many delicious tanzanian dishes , also Franc, who showed respect and love to us.For zanzibar trip, Mr. Danial hired 2 persons to accompany us in our small visits to many places, the driver Malik was very clever person he knows shortcuts and familiar with all places.
Vladimir K
Vladimir K
This wonderful trip will be remembered for life Very good trip. We liked the punctuality when meeting at the airport, the kindness, the desire of the guide to tell all the most interesting things about our route, to answer all the questions of interest, to adjust to our wishes during the tour. There were interesting stories about local residents, about traditions, about nature, about animals. The tour was wonderful.
Eduardo Videla
Eduardo Videla
Safari con una vivencia hermosa e increíble!!!! Translation in Spanish below / Traducción en Español al final;During our family trip, the first days of October we contacted Daniel a day before arriving in Tanzania to do the Safari. From that moment he treated us with excellence. He was waiting for us at the airport, he introduced us to the guides who would accompany us (the driver and a guide who spoke Spanish). The next day we began the three-day Safari through the Serengueri, Ngorongoro and Tarangire, the accommodation was spectacular and above all, the guides showed true passion for what they did. They treated us wonderfully, they were very friendly and respectful at all times. "Thanks Bariki and Cabila (the guides during the safari). We spent three amazing days.As if that were not enough, after the safari and without any interest Daniel assisted us and gave us great help to get a flight from Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar and coordinated the reception in Zanzibar. The words are not enough to thank you for how attentive and kind you were with us. Highly recommended "Epic Africa Adventure" to enjoy an unforgettable experience."" "" THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING "" "!!!! Videla Family (Argentina)Durante nuestro viaje en familia, los primeros días de Octubre nos pusimos en contacto con Daniel un día antes de llegar a Tanzania para hacer el Safari. Desde ese momento nos trató con excelencia. Nos estaba esperando en el aeropuerto, nos presentó a los guías que nos acompañarían (el conductor y un guía que hablaba español). Al dia siguiente comenzamos el Safari de tres días por el Serengueri, Ngorongoro y Tarangire, el alojamiento fue espectacular y sobre todo, los guías demostraban verdadera pasión por lo que hacían. Nos trataron de maravilla, fueron muy amables y respetuosos en todo momento. "Gracias Bariki y Cabila (los guías durante el safari). Pasamos tres días increíbles.Como si eso fuera poco, luego del safari y sin ningún interés Daniel nos asistió y nos brindó una gran ayuda para conseguir un vuelo desde Kilimanjaro a Zanzibar y nos coordinó la recepción en Zanzibar. No alcanzan las palabras para agradecer lo atento y amable que fue con nosotros. Altamente recomendable "Epic Africa Adventure" para disfrutar de una experiencia inolvidable.""""MUCHAS GRACIAS POR TODO"""!!!! Familia Videla (Argentina)
Sumana M
Sumana M
Serengeti trip Epic adventure tour operator is Daniel, an extremely cooperative and caring person with his team of driver cum guide and cook both are superb in their fields.So, no second thought on recommending this tour company for a lifetime experience as serengeti.daniel can be contacted through WhatsApp on 255754886341.