A study in superlatives, the Great Migration is Africa at its biggest and best. So what IS the Great Migration? Here, the What, Where, When, Why, and How of the greatest commute on earth.
WHAT: In a perpetual pilgrimage, more than two million herbivores (mainly wildebeests but also Burchell’s zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, and antelopes) make a year-long, 1,800-mile round-trip march across the plains of East Africa in pursuit of food and water. Like any odyssey, the Great Migration is not without its perils—stealthy predators such as lions, leopards, jackals, and hyenas follow closely behind while hungry crocodiles, submersed in watering holes and river crossings, lie in wait.
WHERE: The epic commuters travel northeast from the southern stretches of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and ultimately to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. The herds then follow the route in reverse before repeating the migration all over again. Traveling in both directions, migrants cross some of the region’s most important water sources, namely the Mbalageti, Grumeti, and Mara Rivers.
WHEN: By nature, the Great Migration’s timing typically flows with the region’s annual rainfall patterns and change of seasons, though herds generally commence their northerly route in January and arrive in the upper reaches of Serengeti National Park in July. By September, herds tend to reach the northern boundaries of the Masai Mara before the ungulates make a collective U-turn and head south back toward the Serengeti.
WHY: If there ever was a trip of a lifetime, this is it—for the animals, of course, but also for anyone fortunate enough to see the Great Migration firsthand. Few life experiences can compare with seeing wildebeests slipping en masse across an infinite savannah, spying the famed “big five” on an early-morning game drive, sipping sundowners in the bush, and stargazing beneath African skies.
HOW: Our African Adventures include front row seats to the spectacle. During our tours, you’ll stay at the Luxury lodges, located only a few miles from where wildebeests cross the Mara River. Call an expedition advisor today to find out which trips include this breathtaking experience: 855.382.1993