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5 Things You Need To Know About Seeing The Great Migration

August 14, 2023
- By Edge of Wonder Travels Unlimited

Experiencing a safari is a bucket list trip for a LOT of people…and with good reason! My first safari trip was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Being a lover of animals, I couldn’t wait to see them in their natural habitat and I was not disappointed. There’s something truly magical about seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural home, doing what they were created to do. There was a joy, even, in how they related to each other and their surroundings. The wildebeests even seemed to dance around at times as if they were so overcome with happiness! Seriously amazing.

But, like any trip – particularly if you have a specific goal in mind – it pays to know a few things in advance to help make the experience everything you dream about, and so we thought it would be helpful to share some of our insights on this front with you!

Tip #1: Know The Season You’re In

The Migration is actually a year-long event. So unlike things that only take place during certain months or times of the year, the Migration has its own ebb and flow and so it becomes important to know where the animals might be in the Migration cycle. Keep in mind that it’s also driven by rainfall patterns, so even with the best planning, things can always change so just be ready to go with the flow!

January to March: The herds give birth to their young in the southern plains of the Serengeti. Visit at this time and you’ll see masses of them grazing with their calves. You’re also likely to encounter predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and wild dog, as they make the most of the rich pickings.

April to May: This is the only time I tend to avoid, due to the long rains. Herds are making their way north along the Serengeti’s western corridor, so if you don’t mind the wet weather you can still see large numbers on the move.

June: Rain is still a possibility at this time of year, as the herds continue north. You might see river crossings on a smaller scale along the banks of the Serengeti’s Grumeti River.

July to October: This is the busiest time of year to visit, when the herds are crossing back and forth between the northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara. It offers your best chance to see river crossings, though they’re never guaranteed. You also have a good chance of seeing predators stalking the weakest herd members.

November and December: Depending on the rains, the herds begin to wander south once more, having depleted the grasses in the Masai Mara. You’ll see them on the move in the central Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Tip #2: Choose Your Accommodations Wisely

When planning your Great Migration safari, it’s essential to consider where you’ll be staying. The Serengeti and Masai Mara offer a range of accommodations, from luxurious lodges to more rustic tented camps. Your choice depends on your budget, preferences, and the kind of experience you want.

Luxury lodges provide comfort and indulgence, often with stunning views and top-notch amenities. On the other hand, tented camps sometimes offer a more immersive experience, allowing you to feel closer to nature while still enjoying essential comforts..and of course there are camps that offer both! (Hint: Those are the kinds we tend to specialize in)

Consider factors like location, accessibility to wildlife viewing areas, and the level of service and guidance provided. Some lodges and camps offer guided tours and knowledgeable staff who can enhance your understanding of the Great Migration and the surrounding ecosystem.

Tip #3: Pack Accordingly

A successful safari requires the right gear. While your clothing should be comfortable and suitable for outdoor activities, don’t forget essential items like sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, and sturdy walking shoes or boots.

Additionally, bring binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens to capture those unforgettable moments up close. It’s also wise to pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket or poncho, especially if you’re visiting during the rainy season.

Tip #4: Respect Wildlife and Follow Guidelines

While it’s thrilling to witness wildlife up close, remember that you’re a guest in their home. Respect their space and behavior by maintaining a safe distance and avoiding any actions that could disturb or harm them.

Follow your guide’s instructions regarding wildlife viewing protocols. Keep noise to a minimum, refrain from feeding animals, and never attempt to approach or touch them. Responsible tourism ensures the well-being of wildlife and preserves their natural behaviors.

Tip #5: Embrace the Unpredictable

Nature is unpredictable, and the Great Migration is no exception. While you can plan based on seasonal patterns, be prepared for surprises. Wildlife sightings may vary, river crossings might not occur on schedule, and weather conditions can change quickly.

Embrace these uncertainties as part of the adventure. Stay flexible, maintain a positive attitude, and savor every moment, whether you witness a spectacular crossing or simply enjoy the serenity of the savannah.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your Great Migration safari and create lasting memories of this incredible natural spectacle. Happy travels!

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