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7 Days Mara River crossing

The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, eland and impala. These move in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They migrating throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water. The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year – here we explain how the broad pattern works.

This migration, month by month, is shown on the map on the right side of this page – the moving red represents the main herds. For more information on the Serengeti migration area and the wildebeest migration, see also:

Month by month: the Serengeti wildebeest migration

The short rains begin around early November. A little after this, in late November and December, the herds of the wildebeest migration arrive on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. These are south and east of Seronera, around Ndutu and include the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Dispersed across these plains, wildebeest and zebra are everywhere – feeding on the fresh, nutritious grasses. They stay here through January, February and March, with most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February. Gradually they spread west across these plains, then around April they start their great migration north.

By May the Serengeti’s wildebeest all seem to be moving north, migrating to seek fresh grazing and water. The area around Moru Kopjes and west of Seronera is then hectic with a series of moving columns, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – joined by many zebra, and a scattering of Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles.

Some of the migration then head due north of Seronera, but most are usually further west. Around June the wildebeest migration is often halted on the south side of the Grumeti River, which has some channels which block or slow their migration north. The wildebeest then congregate there, in the Western Corridor, often building up to a high density before crossing the river. The river here is normally a series of pools and channels, but it’s not continuous – and so whilst they always represent an annual feast for the Grumeti River’s large crocodiles, these aren’t usually quite as spectacular as the crossings of the Mara River, further north.

The wildebeest migration continues moving northwards during July and August, often spreading out across a broad front: some heading through Grumeti Reserve and Ikorongo, others north through the heart of the Serengeti National Park.

September sees the herds spread out across the northern Serengeti, where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle. This river gushes through the northern Serengeti from Kenya’s adjacent Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Watching the frantic herds of the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion It’s common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later.

By October the wildebeest herds are migrating again with more accord: all are heading south, through western Loliondo and the Serengeti National Park’s Lobo area, returning to the green shoots which follow the rains on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti in November.

Then the whole Serengeti Wildebeest migration starts again …

Day 1: Arrival
After a long flight from your home,today you will only be transfered to your lodge in Arusha for meals and overnight.(This highly depends on your time of arrival)

Day 2: Lake Manyara
After breakfast you will drive to Mto wa Mbutown for a guided village walk. This is a small but very busy small town where people from all 120 tribes of Tanzania live together.The walk will give you an opportunity to interract with the local people, visit local homes, traditional beer bars, banana and rice farms and lots more. You will then continue to Lake Manyara Wildlife Camp for lunch. After lunch drive to Lake Manyara National Park for game drive.In this park you will expect to see some elephants,giraffes,hippops,impalas,dikdiks,waterbucks,flamingos and lots of monkeys.If you are very lucky you may also see trre climbing lions and leopards.In the evening you will return to Lake Manyara Wildlife camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Serengeti Central
After breakfast drive to Serengeti Sopa lodge for lunch then continue with game drive in Serengeti National Park.
All meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa lodge.

Day 4: Serengeti North
After breakfast drive to North Serengeti for lunch at Serengeti north wilderness camp, then continue with game drive along the Mara river. The great migration will be along the Mara river and this will be your opportunity to see them crossing the Mara river with crocodiles attacking them. You will also see hippos, lions, elephants, giraffes, warthogs and if you are lucky you may see the endangered black rhino. All meals and overnight will be at Serengeti wilderness camp.

Day 5: Sereangeti North
Morning and afternoonj game drive in North Serengeti along trhe Mara river. all meals and overnight will be at Serengeti north wilderness camp.

Day 6: Ngorongoro/Karatu
After breakfast game drive in Serengeti, then continue to Ngorongoro for dinner and overnight at Karatu Country lodge

Day 7: Ngorongoro crater
After  breakfast depart for a full day of game drive in the Ngorongoro crater with picnic lunch. Here you will be looking for more zebras, wildebeests, hippos, hyenas, jackals and many more. It is also the best place to spot the endangered black rhino. all meals and overnight will be at Karatu Country lodge.

Day 8: Arusha/Departure
After breakfast drive back to Arusha for lunch, then continue to the airport for your departure.