The great wildebeest migration that occurs yearly in Kenya and Tanzania is a massive, months long journey of East Africa’s grazers, in search of water and greener pastures.

Although most tourists plan their visits in the summer months of July and August, the migration is a long, drawn out process; considering nearly 2 million wildebeest, and hundreds of thousands of gazelle and zebra partake in this dangerous and awe-inspiring 300 mile migratory loop, it is unrealistic to expect the massive migration to reliably occur in one place or another at a given time of year.

Although not scientifically proven, the wildebeest are said to have something of a ‘sixth sense’ for finding and following rainfall, and will suddenly change course if their sense notices rainfall coming in a different area. As such, tourists attempting to find the migrating herd of wildebeest must come prepared to search, and it may take a few tries to find a proper lookout point. Considering the migration is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the World, the search is well worth it.


The typically understood wildebeest migratory loop is a journey from Tanzania’s Serengeti national park, northwards towards Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve. While this is technically true, the wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle are most prominently searching for sustenance— not for a specific area. During the hotter months, the wildebeest migrate away from Tanzania’s dry, grassy plains, and move towards the Mara river, an often (depending on the year) massive, flowing river, full of crocodiles— natural predators to the migrating grazers. And again— their paths may change course suddenly, if the weather suddenly indicates rainfall in another nearby area.





Across the river is the Maasai Mara national reserve, which is separated from the Serengeti by nothing more than a man made border; but with an abundant landscape on which wildebeest can graze during the Serengeti’s dry season, it is the ideal stopping point for wildebeest, if they manage to succeed in the arduous journey across the Mara River. Their decision to cross the river is often dependent on a single heard member taking the plunge, encouraging the rest to attempt the crossing. As it can often cause massive loss of life, given the threat of both drowning and being attacked by the river’s crocodiles, the decision to cross is well considered.

If and when the wildebeest make it to the Maasai Mara, with the seasons change, they must migrate back towards the Serengeti— in search of water and greener pastures, once again. The loop is a constant, year long process of searching for life sustaining grasses and rainfall, highlighting the constant battle of the wildebeest for survival.