When is the best time to visit the Serengeti? (or the Masaai Mara)

Considering the question of when is the best time to visit the Serengeti? It’s usually one of the first questions a person will ask when travelling in search of wildlife or the infamous Wildebeest Migration and something you may want to consider when choosing the best overland tour in Africa.

Here is a brief rundown of what happens each month during the migration between the Serengeti and the Masaai Mara:

best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater

JANUARY – Moving south toward Ngorongoro Crater

Wildebeest and Zebra in the Serengeti are moving toward the south of the Serengeti, most especially to the Ndutu region and the spectacular Ngorongoro Conservation. In most cases this will also mean the animals are moving out of the parks invisible boundaries. Most notably, this can be the best time to visit Ngonogoro Crater on an overland tour in Africa as it is also calving season in which the wildebeest and zebra are in great numbers – which inevitably attracts a host of predators.

FEBRUARY – Southern Serengeti & Ngorongoro area

Wildebeest and zebra herds stay to the south of the Serengeti to enjoy the ample grazing, hence you will find most wildlife still in the Ngorongoro and Ndutu areas.

MARCH – Readying to leave

Although the majority of the herds remain in the southern regions of the Serengeti, the last of the calves are appearing and with minimal grazing opportunities available, the animals are readying themselves for another journey.

overland tour in Africa

APRIL – The journey begins

Having eaten up all the grass in the Southern part of the Serengeti, the wildebeest begin their journey north. Many will have left this area already and entered the central of western part of the region but this is generally still a great time to visit from the southern part of the park.

MAY – On the move

So big, the movement can be witnessed from space. This is when mass herds of up to 50km long can be seen travelling through the centre and western part of the Serengeti.

JUNE – Stalling but still moving

With memories of the last time around still intact, the herds are still travelling through the central Serengeti but starting to feel a little nervous. Bit by bit, the move, but the pace has subsided somewhat.

JULY – Peak Season

River crossings are infamous during the great migrations, a time when many of the herd are lost to some of the worlds biggest crocodiles and the wildebeest stare anxiously into the murky waters in Grumeti and the Western Serengeti. Despite the crowds, it is arguably the best time to visit the serengeti and a great time to take an overland tour in Africa.

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AUGUST – Into the Mara

They survived the river crossings and start travelling back into Kenya which means this is one of the best time to visit the Maasai Mara. Still in the Northern part of the Serengeti, if your Africa overland tour is travelling through Kenya at this time of month, it can sometimes be a nice time to see the animals.

SEPTEMBER – Time out

Many of the animals will stay in the Serengeti at this time but the rest will be grazing in the Maasai Mara, relaxing before making another journey in search of rain and fresh pastures.

OCTOBER – All about the Mara

Every safari is different of course and nothing is guaranteed but Kenya is your best option at this time of year in terms of wildlife or the best time to visit the Maasai Mara. Smaller than the Serengeti, the Mara can often be highly concentrated and full of action, you should see some of the Migration and at the same time get to witness the infamous Maasai tribes working their land.

wildebeest ngorongoro

NOVEMBER – Short rains and time to leave again

The short rains urge the wildebeest to depart the barren lands of the Maasai Mara (having eaten all the grass) and they will now start moving back toward the Serengeti which will have rejuvenated itself in they time they have been away.

DECEMBER – Return to the Serengeti

Reaching the northern sections of the Serengeti, the wildebeest are calving once more and all under the watchful eye of the hungry predators who will take full advantage of the huge numbers.

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Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

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The Author - Derek Cullen

I worked as an overland tour leader in Africa for many years. I now want to help you book the trip of a lifetime and find out everything you need to know about taking an overland tour in Africa.

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