by Daryll Williams on May 18, 2020
8 min read

Tanzania is considered to be Africa’s visual triumph. It’s a place of natural splendour, astounding wildlife, seductive beaches, charming ancient towns and geological wonder. Add in the continent’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises from lush, grassy plains and towers over the land, and you’ve got yourself an experience not to be missed.

But the real pièce de résistance here is the annual round trip of some 2,000 000 animals, across 1,000 kilometres, over two countries (Tanzania and Kenya), known as the Great Wildebeest Migration. A truly breathtaking spectacle of life in an expansive ecosystem ruled by rainfall and the urge for survival amongst the herbivores of the Serengeti plains.

When is the best time to visit Tanzania?

Experience the great migration in Tanzania.

This East African gem really needs no grand introduction.

Tanzania is a seasonal destination. And as such, the demand and pricing of a trip depends on when you choose to visit. The headline attraction, without a doubt, is the Great Migration. It occurs year-round as the animals migrate across the Serengeti plains before eventually meandering into Kenya, and then back again, effectively starting the migratory cycle all over again. The country’s seasons and wildlife numbers are dictated by the rains, so you’ll have a slightly different experience depending on when you choose to visit.

Many people flock to Tanzania in peak season, which falls between June and August, for a chance to witness huge herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate through to the northern Serengeti, before eventually crossing the Grumeti River – panic typically ensues as they try to avoid the jaws of crocodiles and other predators waiting to pounce.

Because this is peak season, expect a large influx of tourists into the area all clamouring to see the Migration. The quality of your experience is therefore highly dependent on where you stay, and how close you are to the Migration’s route. You certainly don’t want to be travelling for hours on end in order to catch a glimpse of the animals. This is why we always recommend one of our Travel Experts to best guide you through the planning phase.

Tanzania’s ‘green season’, between September and March, is much quieter. It is noted as ‘green season’ because the country will experience its primary rainfall during this time. While there’s a chance of highly dramatic thundershowers, it’s also a great game viewing time as there are far fewer tourists around, and a fantastic time for birdwatching as migratory species arrive in their thousands. You’ll also see Great Migration herds in the southern and western portions of the Serengeti with their newly born calves, however, these herds tend to be much more dispersed and less congregated than during the Migration’s peak.

The only time we suggest to avoid Tanzania is between April and May, when heavy rains make it difficult to move in the wilderness.

When should I book my Tanzania holiday?

The great migration in Tanzania features many of Africa's range of apex predators.

Tanzania holidays can be tailored to suit your needs.

Unlike other African safari destinations which are low-footprint, Tanzania operates very differently. More people come in and out of the reserves than you would expect during high season. If you’re hoping to schedule a safari during this time, we advise that you book at least 12 months in advance, as the best places to stay for an up-close-and-personal experience sell out very quickly. If you’re interested in off-season travel, we recommend booking your safari six to eight months ahead of time.

Tanzania holidays come in many forms, and as the experts on African travel, we can craft any holiday to suit travellers of all ages and interests. Due to Covid-19, all guests destined to travel to Tanzania for this year’s Migration have had to postpone to 2021 or cancel. Given a trip to Africa is often a “once in a lifetime” experience, the vast majority of guests have opted to postpone, meaning availability for 2021 is harder to find than ever. If the Migration is on your radar for next year, we recommend you start planning as soon as possible.

How much does a Great Migration safari cost?

Wildebeest make several dangerous river crossings during the migration

Annual river crossings make for some of the migration’s most exhilarating spectacles.

The cost of a Great Migration safari in Tanzania really does depend on what time of the year you are travelling as well as how close to the Migration you want to get. As a rough guide, during peak season, prices can start at around $US 600 per person per night, and go up to around $US 2,500 per person per night, depending on the level of luxury and location of your accommodation.

However, the range of accommodation options and experiences here run the gamut, and you need a Travel Expert to tailor-make your perfect Tanzanian escape accordingly. Get in touch, and let one of our Tanzania Experts start planning your 2021 Tanzania Safari today.

Our favourite places to stay for viewing the Great Migration

To experience the Great Migration properly, you need to get up close.

To experience the Migration properly, you need experts to get you as close as possible.

In Tanzania, opulent luxury and savage wilderness collide. Excellent accommodation, friendly staff, spectacular designs, warm hospitality and the most panoramic views on the planet ensure that these Luxury Tanzania Lodges set themselves apart from the rest.

Experience the great migration in Tanzania with Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Photo credit: Singita Sabora Tented Camp.

Striking the perfect balance between classic tented adventures and timeless modernity, the famed Singita Sabora Tented Camp is located right on the Serengeti plains along the Great Migration route, allowing guests to immerse themselves in its unrivalled setting and maximising the thrill of sleeping under canvas. This camp is the epitome of luxury, and always manages to make its way to the top of our list.

Experience the Great Migration in Tanzania from Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp

Photo credit: Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp.

Elewana is a throwback to the traditional 1930s style of mobile camping, with ample style and luxurious touches. Ideally located, the camp offers you superb access to the annual Wildebeest Migration and the famous Big 5, as well as stunning views of the Moru Kopjes (where you can visit Maasai rock art) and Lake Magadi – a favourite spot of ours for sundowner drinks.

Experience the Great Migration from Mwiba Lodge

Photo credit: Mwiba Lodge.

Overlooking a rocky gorge on the Arugusinyai River in the Southern Serengeti, Mwiba Lodge is set in between boulders and ancient trees on private land rich with stunning vegetation, wildlife and multiple freshwater springs. This is truly a place to get away from it all.

Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp in Tanzania

Photo credit: Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp.

Found on the banks of the Grumeti River with hippo pods as well as where the Great Migration passes through, this camp couldn’t be in a better location. After a day of game drives and activities, we recommend winding down with a sundowner on the spacious deck overlooking the activity in the river below.

Serengeti Under Canvas andbeyond tent

Photo credit: Serengeti Under Canvas.

This mobile camp moves around five times during the year to follow the movements of the Great Migration. There may be a limited number of tents and services available, but there’s never a compromise on luxury and off the grid romance.

Our favourite Great Migration tour

Wildebeest migration birds eye view

The lions share of the Migration occurs within the Serengeti plains of Tanzania.

We always recommend the very best for our guests, and one of our favourite Tanzania tours manages to encompass the very best of the country’s most acclaimed highlights.

From the coffee plantations of Arusha to Great Migration meandering in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, before bringing the journey to an end on the mesmerising island of Zanzibar – our Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Zanzibar Tour showcases the breathtaking wildlife and landscapes of Tanzania, all covered in one unbelievable holiday.

Why book with us?

Pink flamingos in Tanzania

Get in touch, and let’s organise your Tanzania safari.

Tanzania’s Great Migration is part magnificent spectacle, part great tragedy. But one thing is certain for those who bear witness, this showcase evokes a variety of emotions from awe to empathy and everything in between.

With over 16 years experience, as Africa’s Leading Safari company, Rhino Africa is an African-based specialist tour operator arranging tailor-made wildlife safaris and holidays throughout Africa, including Tanzania.

Our understanding of the guest experience, combined with extensive first-hand knowledge of the lodges, makes us experts in creating magical and memorable African holidays. Whether you are travelling alone or with family and friends, or wish to celebrate a special birthday, honeymoon or anniversary, we look forward to discussing your African safari plans with you. Contact us, and let one of our Tanzania Experts start planning your 2021 Tanzania Safari today.