May 18

Experience the Great Migration in Tanzania


May 18, 2020

If Tanzania is commonly regarded as the visual triumph of Africa, the Great Migration is the icing on this visual cake.

Tanzania is 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

The headline attraction in the area is the Great Migration, which occurs year-round. Visitors can witness the migration of animals across the Serengeti plains before eventually meandering into Kenya. 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. You’ll see lots of vehicles in the park at this time of year, though.

Tanzania’s ‘green season’, between September and March, is much quieter. While there’s a chance of highly dramatic thundershowers, it’s 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 much more dispersed and less congregated than during the Migration’s peak.

The only time we tend to avoid Tanzania is between April and May. This is the only time 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

Tanzania holidays come in many forms, and as the experts on Tanzanian travel, we can craft any holiday to suit travellers of all ages and interests. But they fill up fast, so it’s crucial that you plan early. Before booking, it’s important to figure out exactly what you’d like to do in Tanzania. These decisions will help you narrow down the time of year you’d like to travel and where.

If you’re hoping to schedule a safari during the peak season, it is imperative that you book at least 12 months in advance. If you’re interested in off season travel, we recommend making your purchase six to eight months ahead of time.

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. This means availability for 2021 is harder to find than ever. We therefore advice you to start planning as soon as possible if the Migration is on your radar for next year.

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 a rough guide, during peak season, prices can start at around $US 600 per person per night. Prices can go up to around $US 2,500 per person per night.

However, the range of accommodation options and experiences here run the gamut. You’ll therefore need a Travel Expert to tailor-make your perfect Tanzanian escape accordingly.

Our favourite places to stay for viewing the Great Migration

zebra at silvan
To experience the Migration properly, you need experts to get you as close as possible. Photo Credit: Kyle Olivier

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

Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp

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 as well as the famous Big! You’ll also be able to enjoy stunning views of the Moru Kopjes, where you can visit Maasai rock art, and Lake Magadi. Lake Magadi is one of our favourite spots for sundowner drinks.

Mwiba Lodge

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. This private land is rich with stunning vegetation, wildlife and multiple freshwater springs. This is truly a place to get away from it all.

Grumeti Seregenti Tented Camp

Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp in Tanzania
Photo credit: Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp

You’ll find this camp on the banks of the Grumeti River. This means that you will see groups of hippos and witness the passage of the Great Migration. Few camps have such an excellent 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

Serengeti Under Canvas: Breakfast in an open tent in the savannah
Photo: Serengeti Under Canvas

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

Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Experience the great migration in Tanzania with Singita Sabora Tented Camp
Photo credit: Singita Sabora Tented Camp

The famed Singita Sabora Tented Camp is striking the perfect balance between classic tented adventures and timeless modernity. Moreover, the lodge is located right on the Serengeti plains. This ideal situation, along the Great Migration route, allows guests to immerse themselves in its unrivalled setting. This camp is the epitome of luxury, and always manages to make its way to the top of our list.

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. We organise tailor-made 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 2022 Tanzania Safari today.

Want to know more about the Great Wildebeest Migration? Find out here.

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About the author 

Daryll Williams

Daryll is Capetonian to his core. Following an internship in Mexico and a solo trek through the United States, he returned home with a renewed perspective and an uncanny skill for content marketing. Aside from his writing, he enjoys reading non-fiction and rewatching Quentin Tarantino films. When he is not hunched over a keyboard you can find him hiking along the mountainside, unpacking the science behind pop music or crafting the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea.

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