Where to stay for a Great Migration safari
The backdrop of this dramatic spectacle is the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem – an area that covers both Kenya and Tanzania. The northernmost reaches of the great migration’s circuitous route crosses the Masai Mara in Kenya before heading southwards through the Serengeti in Tanzania, as far south as to border on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
No matter what time of year you prefer to travel or which region you wish to visit, our camps all along the migration route ensure you have front-row seats away from the crowds. We recommend combining two or more of our camps to maximise your chances of seeing the herds by staying in more than one location. Stay at our permanent camps in Kenya to see the Great Migration during July to November, or go on a migration safari in Tanzania from November to July where you have the option of choosing between permanent camps and our mobile migration camps.
Where to stay in Kenya to see the Great Migration from July to November
From about July to November, the Great Migration passes through the Greater Masai Mara region of southern Kenya.
The famed Masai Mara National Reserve needs no introduction. It’s 1,500km² are densely populated with wildlife throughout the year, but even more so between mid-June and November each year when the vast herds of migrating wildebeest make their appearance in their quest for greener grazing.
It is at this stage in the migration route that the wildebeest gallop bravely across the Mara River, teeming with hungry crocodiles and making for some nail-biting viewing. In Kenya, guests of Rekero in the Masai Mara National Reserve can watch wildebeest crossing the Grumeti river right in front of camp. Nearby in neighbouring Naboisho Conservancy, Naboisho Camp and Encounter Mara provide additional excellent options for where to stay.
Where to stay in Tanzania to see the Great Migration from November to July
When the Great Migration is in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, it moves across a larger geographical area compared to when it is in Kenya. Guests have the choice of staying in permanent camps or in our mobile migration camps which move during the year to stay close to the action. Learn more here about our tented mobile migration camps, or use this menu to see where to stay for a great migration safari in Tanzania:
Tanzania from November to March: Eastern and Southern Serengeti
From approximately November/December to March each year, the Great Migration makes its way southwards along the eastern edge of the park before settling in the south for calving season.
Eastern Serengeti, Tanzania
Just like the south, the rains bring new life to the Eastern (Namiri) Plains of the Serengeti and the dry savannah is transformed into a carpet of fresh, green grass drawing the great herds of wildebeest. The plains become the centre stage for explosive action as big cats feast on the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest that stretch as far as the eye can see. Namiri Plains lies on the eastern edge of the Serengeti in prime position to watch the action unfold.
Southern Serengeti, Tanzania
The vast grassland plains of the Southern Serengeti are the favoured birthing grounds of the migrating wildebeest. With the new addition of vulnerable calves, predators such as lion, leopard and cheetah are not far behind to prey on the numerous newborns.
The herds and calves move as far south as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (but not within the Crater itself) to graze on the lush new grass of the plains. Asilia's migration camps Olakira and Ubuntu are positioned in the south to provide close proximity to both predators and prey.
Tanzania from April to June: Central Serengeti
Once calving season is over, the wildebeest begin to make their way northwards towards the central Serengeti, as well as westerly, generally moving slowly towards the Masai Mara.
Western Serengeti, Tanzania
The Western Corridor of the Serengeti is a narrow strip of lush grassland that stretches almost all the way to Lake Victoria. During this stage of the migration, the wildebeest move slowly through this region, grazing and tending their newborns. There are two rivers in this region — the Grumeti and the Mbalageti — that the wildebeest will cross on their way northward to the Masai Mara.
Central Serengeti, Tanzania
The golden grass plains of the Central Serengeti play host to the Great Migration twice per year as the great herds make their way through across the savannah in search of fresh grass. In May/June and November/December, hundreds and thousands of wildebeest and accompanying zebra, topi and gazelle pass through the region (and virtually the doorstep of Dunia Camp.
Tanzania from Mid-June to November: Northern Serengeti
The second half of the year provides one of the most sought-after wildlife experiences to be witnessed: river crossings.
Northern Serengeti, Tanzania
From mid-June to November, the great herds of wildebeest gather on the banks of the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti, ready to brave the crocodile-infested waters and hungry predators on the other side. Dramatic, exciting and chaotic game viewing awaits as the wildebeest thunder across in the millions and the northern Serengeti is transformed into a pulsing hub of activity. Sayari camp, situated near the Tanzanian side of the Mara river, is a great choice for accommodation at this time of year, as are our migration camps Olakira and Ubuntu.
Tented Mobile Migration Camps in Tanzania's Serengeti
Alongside our range of permanent camps to stay at when viewing the Great Migration, we also offer classic mobile migration camps in the Serengeti. Ubuntu and Olakira each pick up and move during the year to ensure guest are seated front and centre when the herds make their way past camp.
Ubuntu Camp travels with the natural flow of the wildebeest through the Serengeti. From late July to October, the camp is positioned to intercept the migration in the North of the Serengeti before it relocates to the south close to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area from December to February.
Our guides, who spend 11 months of the year with the herds are able to pass on insights gained through generations of experience into the facets of this extraordinary cycle of life. ‘Ubuntu’ refers to the human characteristics of generosity, consideration and humane-ness towards others. Ubuntu Camp encompasses this characteristic in its personalised and warm hospitality.
In the dry months of winter, Olakira Mara River enjoys some of the best views of the herds migrating out of Kenya across the treacherous Mara River. By November, with the herds on the march, Olakira swiftly follows to witness the incredible calving in the great grassy plains of the southern Serengeti.
Touching the earth lightly this canvas camp all but disappears into the surrounding bush, and with just eight en-suite tents Olakira – meaning “shining star” in kiSwahili – ensures an intimate and authentic wilderness experience.
The camp has another surprise that awaits you: stargazing tents. Olakira’s tents have been perfectly designed so that a portion of the tent boasts a 270-degree view from beneath a meshed net, offering you an outdoor experience whilst still remaining indoors.
Our stargazing tents allow you the flexibility to roll your bed into the meshed area for a magical experience of sleeping beneath the stars. With the galaxies glittering above you while you dream about the day’s adventures – it truly is an experience that you don’t want to miss out on.
Which is the best camp for the Great Wildebeest Migration?arrow_drop_down
Since the Great Migration sees the herds migrate slowly over a route thousands of kilometres long, the best camp for experiencing it will largely depend on the time of year. In addition, although the animals broadly follow the same ancient migratory route every year, there are occasional variations based on environmental or weather conditions, such as the rainfall in a given year. We recommend staying at a combination of permanent safari camps that cover the traditional migration route as well as semi-permanent mobile migration camps which are moved two to three times a year to ensure prime game viewing.
Where is the Great Migration?arrow_drop_down
The Great Migration occurs in a continuous cycle of movement between the Greater Masai Mara region of southern Kenya and the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. The huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and other animals migrate in search of water and grass, giving birth to thousands of calves along the way, all while trying to evade predators and make difficult river crossings.
Where should I stay for a Great Migration safari holiday?arrow_drop_down
Accommodation is available throughout the migration route in Kenya and Tanzania. Visitors can choose to stay at a variety of styles of comfortable mobile migration camps or at semi-permanent safari camps and lodges, any of which are also tented. We recommend staying at two to three safari camps in different areas in order to maximise your chances of having the best sightings.