Although an abundance of indigenous wildlife hang around Tanzania year round, please read below for peak times for wildlife viewing.
The Great Migration in Tanzania
This migration is the only wildlife migration of this magnitude in the world today, according to wildlife conservationists. In addition, this migration is currently being threatened by the decreasing water availability in the Mara River located in southern Kenya and north of Tanzania. This is primarily due to deforestation in Kenya along the Mara River to plant wheat fields. Drought conditions also play a major role in the water levels of the river. Conservationists are working with both sides to try and find a harmony to accommodate the needs the wildlife and people. It is speculated by conservationists that if the Mara River drys up, approximately 45,000 animals will die the first day. We are in hope that all those involved can come up with the right plan to conserve the Greatest Migration in the World!
Wildlife Viewing Information:
In December through March the Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro Conservation areas innorthern Tanzania are home to giant herds of wildebeest, zebra and other ungulates. This is calving season. Most of the wildebeest calves are born in just a three week period, usually the beginning of February. Calves attract predators and this is an amazing time of year to watch impressive lion kills. It's also quite spectacular to see almost half a million little wildebeest being born and running alongside their mothers.
The southern Ndutu and Salei plains are the best areas to see the large herds during this time of year. The best places to stay include Ndutu Safari Lodge, Kusini Camp, Lemala Ndutu Camp and any mobile tented camps in the area.
By April/May the herds begin to migrate west and north to the grassier plains and woodland of the Serengeti’s western Corridor. The rain during this time of year makes it difficult to follow the herds during this stage of their migration. Many of Tanzania's smaller camps in fact shut down due to impassable roads.
By the end of May, as the rains stop, the wildebeest and zebra gradually start moving north and individual groups begin to congregate and form much larger herds. This is also the time the wildebeest mate. Western Serengeti is the best place to watch the migration unfold.
By July the herds reach their first big obstacle, the Grumeti River. The Grumeti river can get deep in places, especially if the rains have been good. This is the first of the spectacular river crossings you can witness. The depth of the river makes drowning a distinct possibility for many wildebeest and there are plenty of crocodiles to take advantage of their distress.
Camps along the river during this time make for an incredible safari experience. The best places to stay are The Serengeti Serena which is a central, easily accessible lodge for viewing the migration at this time. Grumeti River Camp, Migration Camp and Kirawira Camp are also options. Seronera and Moru area campsites are the best for those on a budget. Kleins Camp is also ideally situated.