Double river crossings of the Great Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti
The Great Wildebeest Migration is often erroneously linked with the river crossings of the Mara River. The river crossings are riveting to witness, and the star of the great migration show. For some lucky observers, it is possible to watch a double crossing during one river crossing event.
What is a double river crossing of the Great Migration?
Some of the wildebeest calves are separated from their mothers whilst crossing the Mara River with the rest of the herd. These calves often return to where the came from, looking for their mothers. Sometimes the mothers go back and swim through the waters again to find their young ones. The double river crossing or return river crossing refers to some wildebeest individuals crossing the river twice in one event.
Who is involved in double river crossings during the Great Migration?
Watch this amazing video of the 6-month-old calves in a “return crossing”. We witnessed the main crossing of the entire herd, then in a state of confusion, these calves returned to the Mara River and crossed it again. The adrenaline and chaos of the crossing and being in the water dulls the calves’ sense of smell. Smell is their primary way of identification. In the water, or just after getting out of the water, they cannot smell or find their mothers. In a sense of desperation at being lost their natural instinct is to go back to where they came from, resulting in a double crossing. Lost calves are brave in their determination to find their moms!
Experience the Great Migration in 2022 – River Crossings and more
Join us for the world’s largest overland mammal migration as 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, 18,000 eland and 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle move through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. We don’t wait for the herds to come to us, we take you to them – leaving no trace. Follow them with us online or in person. Migration Updates every month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your seat to the great migration. We still have some availability in late August, into September, so join us before the 2022 river crossing season is over.
“Nothing ever becomes real ‘til it is experienced.” John Keats
The Great Migration encompasses a circular, seasonal movement of wildebeest, zebras, and Thomson’s gazelles and eland in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem. The annual migration of the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) covers the entire range of the Greater Serengeti ecosystem, a round-trip that exceeds the straight-line distance of 650 km. Data from GPS collars suggest that the true distance covered is over 1500 km. The wildebeest migration is constantly moving, with females having an average daily movement of 4.5 km. The Serengeti zebra migration moves with them.
Animals of the Great Migration
Among the 2 million animals of the great migration, around 300,000 of these animals are zebras. A symbiotic relationship exists between the zebras and wildebeest of the Serengeti. The main reason they stick together is for safety.
The Serengeti Migration: Zebra and Wildebeest
Together they have a strong “alarm” system, and the massive size of their accumulated herds reduces the chance of any single individual being targeted by a predator. The wildebeest uses its superior sense of sound and smell to stay wary of predators, while the zebra uses its excellent eyesight to scan for threats.
Zebras and wildebeest don’t compete for food, either. Wildebeest are fussy eaters; they are selective grazers and only feed upon the shorter parts of the grass. Luckily for them, zebras are bulk grazers – cropping the grass (like a lawnmower) and making it palatable for the wildebeest to consume.
Zebras have a great memory which helps them recall safe migration routes, which comes in handy for directing the sometimes-aimless wildebeests. The wildebeest’s fantastic sense of smell can detect water even in dry times, an advantage for the zebra.
Both species like a more plain open grassy areas though this makes them more vulnerable and that is why they need the safety in numbers (advantage) from predators.
The Serengeti Zebra Migration
Join Great Migration Camps or follow us, as we follow the Great Wildebeest Migration through the Serengeti on their journey from the southern plains to the Mara River and back. We follow the wildebeest, zebra , eland and Thomson’s gazelle through the Mara-Serengeti Eco-system.
We have mixed availability in Kogatende area for the River Crossing Season 2022. Book early for the great migration by emailing email@example.com to avoid disappointment. #Conservationthroughtourism
The Great Wildebeest Migration happens 365 days a year but we’re the only ones that can guarantee you’ll see it. We don’t wait for the herds to come to us, we take you to them – leaving no trace. We follow the wildebeest in our small pioneering camp according to the wildebeest and their movements. Great Migration Camps is headed north for crossing season 2022.
Calving Season (January- March)
Almost 2 million wildebeest gather on the southern plains of the Serengeti for calving season. The herds don’t all arrive at the same time in January.
Females synchronize their birthing, so about 500,000 wildebeest are born in a 3-week period (early Feb)
Sheer numbers give them a level of protection whilst the calves are still young. This many creatures need a lot of food. The southern plains have the most nutritious grass to sustain the numbers.
Despite significant predator action, the wildebeest stick around for as long as possible, as the grass is good & the calves gain strength.
As the grass dries out, the wildebeest start moving north- the timing of which is unpredictable and sadly doesn’t correspond with any fixed dates.
The Long Rains (April- May)
April – May is the long rainy season so the wildebeest move to locations where it has rained. They can scatter & almost disappear which seems crazy as there are hundreds of thousands of wildebeest in the great migration
North to the Seronera area
North-West via Kusini to the western corridor.
Eastern border of the Serengeti.
Rutting Season (June)
Breeding season for the wildebeest takes place in June.
Birthing is synchronized so it figures that rutting is also synchronized.
In June, smaller family herds gather (often in close proximity) dominated by one male.
The lone male spends a great deal of energy protecting his females from males without their own harem,
River Crossing Season (July- October)
The Mara River starts in Kenya and runs north -south and then east to west in Tanzania
River Crossings generally start from mid-July (earliest).
Generally peak season is August & September but depends on the weather and rainfall.
The northern Serengeti (Tanzania) and Masai mara (Kenya) have more permanent water & grass attracting the wildebeest to the north. To get there they need to cross the Mara River.
It’s probably the most dramatic time of the migration as a river crossing is dangerous for the wildebeest. Hungry crocs & predators await, it’s easy to break a leg jumping into the river or drown during a crossing.
The crossings themselves generally involve a buildup of wildebeest numbers. The wildebeest can move up and down the Mara River looking for good spots to cross or to simply wait for more wildebeest to join the growing herd. The micro movement up and down the river with multiple hesitations and disruptions can and does drive people crazy! They just won’t cross until they decide.
The wildebeest can cross northwards but a little rain or fresh grass can bring them south again. Ultimately, they could cross the Mara River multiple times.
Book early as supplemental services get full (flights etc)
When it comes to river crossings – you have to have patience. You can be at a great spot, with a large mass of wildebeest waiting to cross. The wildebeest can do nothing for 2 days …yet the moment you wake up late, they will all cross over in 20 minutes and you’ll find them standing on the opposite bank, with only a few fat crocs to show where they were!!!!
Waiting for Rain (November- January)
We call this final period “waiting for rain”! The short rains are usually in Nov-Dec but this can vary a lot.
In general, the wildebeest move southwards through the Serengeti to the southern plains… following water and rivers.
They can move in large herds or as small family groups as they make their way back towards those plains where the journey started in a seasonal yet variable repetition of events.
For human mortals – here is the month-by-month calendar version
January-February-March Dry months of the year. Wildebeest move south for calving season on the southern plains.
Usually dry and before the long rains. Wildebeest start moving north as plains dry out.
Long rains. Wildebeest on the move – mostly headed north and north-west. Access can be difficult, getting stuck is common. Interesting sightings and beautiful as very green with no dust.
The transition to dry season. Can have dramatic clouds. Wildebeest rutting season, big herds in the west and NW. Some herds move up the eastern border of the Serengeti.
Dry season and it coincides with northern hemisphere summer holidays. River crossing season of the migration in the northern Serengeti.
The good conditions last into about mid-October when the buildup for the short rains begins. Can be spectacular and not particularly crowded. An untraditional “spring” brings new wild life.
Tanzania’s short rainy season starts & continues until the beginning of December. Afternoon rains are common so be prepared for a shower. Uncrowded. Wildebeest location unpredictable.
Rains can extend, and the mountain becomes popular over Festive Season and for new year goal setting trips. Wildebeest start moving south for calving season.
Bookings are open for River Crossing Season 2022 of the Great Wildebeest Migration. firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ve decided to go on a migration safari but should you drive or fly to your accommodation within the park? We are often asked whether driving or flying is the best option to get to the National Park? The answer to your transport questions (Drive or Fly?) is variable depending on a few factors.
Your Migration Safari Priorities
When planning your safari you will need to decide on your main interest to determine priorities such as how long you will stay in the park itself and to determine your budget. These criteria affect your choice of accommodation, and the means of transport to get there. Other factors that affect your decision whether to drive or fly to your accommodation to see the great migration include the number of guests travelling on safari and the places you would like to visit before, after or in conjunction with your safari.
Migration Safaris – Distances
The Serengeti National Park alone is a vast area of 14, 750 sq km (5,700 sq Miles) – roughly the size of Connecticut State in the USA or Northern Ireland (14,148 sq km/5463 sq mi).
The Greater Eco-system is an even larger unfenced area which includes the Masai Mara and surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area as well as Maswa, Grumeti & Ikorongo Game Reserves and Loliondo Game Controlled Area. At 30,000 sq km (12,000 sq Miles) it’s almost the same size as Belgium (30,528 sq km)
Seronera in the Central Serengeti is 320km west of Arusha and will take at least 6 hours of straight driving. Flight time from Arusha – Seronera is approximately 1 hour (direct with no stops en route). Time and distance are significant factors in the decision whether to drive or fly for your migration safari.
Driving to the Migration
Driving to your migration safari will take longer than you think! The condition of the road varies but in general you will be travelling on a rough and bumpy gravel road where 100km can take 3 hours. Also bear in mind that you will be spending a lot of time in the vehicle whilst on game drives. It is highly likely that you will need to stay overnight en route to the park to break the journey or visit an attraction along the way.
Travelling by road is a good idea if
You have a lot of time for your safari (Minimum 4 nights inside the park)
You like to see the country-side & interact with locals when stopping for toilet, food, fuel and a leg stretch.
You are a small group or medium group: 4- 6 people travel in one safari vehicle.
This makes the road alternative slightly cheaper when split by many so good for those on a budget.
You are afraid of travelling in a light aircraft.
You will have the same driver-guide from town to the National Park and for all your game drives.
You are visiting the southern or central sections of the park.
Flying to the Migration
Flying to your migration safari is in a light aircraft and gives you an aerial view of the country. The flight is an experience in itself and flight duration is seldom more than 2 hours (flight duration varies depending on stops en route) so a quicker more comfortable option than driving into the National Park. When flying in, you will use resident camp guides and vehicle who are familiar with the local area on game package.
Flying is a good option if
You have limited time, with only a couple of nights on safari.
You enjoy comfort.
Your primary interest is wildlife rather than sightseeing.
You are a small group of 1 – 3 people OR a large group of 12 or more.
You don’t like backtracking – driving in and out is usually on the same road.
You are heading to the northern Serengeti – Kogatende and Mara River and hoping for a river crossing.
Combination – Drive and Fly to the Migration
This option combines driving in and flying out or vice versa. Great Migration Camps recommends ending with a scenic flight rather than a bumpy drive out.
Drive-Fly combo is best for
Those with sufficient time – 2 days to drive in and at least 3 or more days on safari.
Those who would like to combine a destination en route to the park – options include Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Natron(& Ol Doinyo Lengai)
Northern Serengeti Safaris – the northern sector is far away! A minimum of one night required to drive in – although we suggest two to enjoy the journey.
Combines sight-seeing with quality time on safari.
Those wanting to enjoy an adventure on the route into the National Park, but who like having the security and confidence of a departure flight to town to connect with an international departure flight.
At Great Migration Camps mobile we love all the options for different reasons. The choice whether to drive or fly to your migration safari is really about your time, your group size, your budget and your safari/wildlife preferences. As in life there are pros and cons to all three options.
Calving Season 2019
Calving Season is in full swing, and the wildebeest seem to be hanging around the southern plains whilst the little ones get stronger for the long journey northwards as the migration cycle starts again.
GMC mobile has Limited availability March 2019. Book now to confirm your seat for calving season and the great migration wildlife show. 2019 Calving Season inclusive packages below. Enquiries: email@example.com
Crossing Season 2019
Crossing season is filling up fast. One of the most dramatic seasons in the year long migratory cycle. The Wildebeest make their way northwards to cross the Mara River in Tanzania and Kenya. This can be a waiting game that tests the patience of many a nature-lover. GMC recommends booking as many days as you have available to give yourself the best chance of seeing a river crossing.
How to book
PLEASE enquire early to avoid disappointment particularly during peak periods as other services can also be busy. We can assist with pre or post safari tours and accommodation in town as well as flights or transport in and out of the National Park. We recommend 5- 10 days for your migration safari.
Calving season (Feb- March) -Ndutu area
Rutting season (June) – Grumeti area
Crossing season (July– Oct) – Kogatende/Mara River area
Get your kids outside and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Serengeti and bring nature back to life. Encounter elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, gazelles, primates, reptiles and of course the migrating wildebeest in a magnificent journey of discovery for young and old. This BLACK FRIDAY 2018 DEAL – will give you 20% off your 7 Night Family Safari in 2019. Book now
Black Friday Family Package Safari Deal: 20% off
What: 7 Night Family Package Safari
Must book between: 23 – 30 November 2018 Valid for Travel Dates:
Includes: Return Domestic Flights: Arusha (ARK) – Serengeti; 7Nights GMC Mobile Game Package – tented accommodation, shared ablutions; Meals: Three meals daily, teas & coffees, drinking water; Unlimited Game Drives with English speaking professional driver/guide; All Park and Concession Fees, All Taxes/VAT; Emergency Evacuation Cover (Flying Doctor)
Excludes: International Flights, Visas & Travel insurance, Accommodation before or after your safari, Alcoholic beverages & sodas (cash bar), Gratuities, Any meals not stipulated, All items of a personal nature (toiletries, souvenirs etc), Additional Safari Activities, Tours or Accommodation. Government taxes and/or park fees are subject to change
Child Policy: CHILDREN ARE WELCOME
Under 16 of years of age, children to be accompanied by an adult. We recommend children should be able to sleep through the night. 0 – 5 years must sleep in adult tent. 6 -16 years may share with other children (up to 3 per tent)
How to book: Email your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the title: BLACK FRIDAY 7N FAMILY PACKAGE ENQUIRY
Please provide your name, country, number of people travelling and preferred dates.
Terms and Conditions:
Applicable for all new bookings made between 23 and 30 Nov 2018
Deals not available with any other specials or offers or available to agents
30% non-refundable deposit holds the reservation – deposit due 5 Dec 2018
Balance due 60 days prior to departure
Price is per person unless otherwise specified and based on minimum 2 people travelling.
Price is subject to availability
GMC reserves the right to cancel the reservation if payment not received in time, in which case cancellation fees apply.
Migration Updates – what happened in September 2018?
Wildebeest Whisperer, Carel Verhoef, reports back on an eventful month of the great migration – with a lot of confusion as the wildebeest moved back and forth across the Mara River.
Towards the end of August there was significant rainfall (50 mm!) on the Serengeti side from the central Seronera and eastern Barafu Kopjes to Kogatende in the northern part of the Serengeti. Lots of rain on areas that had been burnt earlier in August. This caused the herds to start moving from north to south, and some concern that the herds would not move north to Kenya at all. Big herd numbers were gathered around the Sand River. The rain seemed to split the herds into a northern and southern group, with some large numbers in Kenya from earlier crossings and many wildebeest wandering south – making it as far as Mbuzi Mawe!
The Kenyans burnt a large area in the Masai Mara from Talek to Lookout Hill on 6 September. Not long after this there was another shift at the wildebeest headed north again arriving in Kenya and the Mara Triangle towards the end of September. There were some big crossings at the Sand River into the Mara Reserve with large numbers arriving in the Mara North Conservancies.
At the moment the herds are scattered with some as far north as the Mara Triangle and southern conservancies, some around Kogatende and as far south as Lobo on the Serengeti Side. Mara River crossings are happening on both the Kenyan and Tanzanian sides.
The big question is when the short rains will start as this will impact on the movement of the herds. If there is no rain, the herds should stay up north in both the Serengeti and Masai Mara as there is permanent water and some good springs. Great Migration Camps suggests this is the likely scenario for the next couple of weeks at least.
If the rain comes, the area of rainfall will help make the decision for the wildebeest herds. Rain further south means the herds could move towards Kleins Gate and Lobo sooner rather than later.
Of course all these micro-movements have us here at Great Migration Camps asking the question about where calving season will be? Potentially the herds may not move all the way south to the Ndutu and southern Serengeti plains… but have no fear, Great Migration Camps will still be there – wherever they may be! Calving season bookings are open.
Migration Update 28 August
Huge crossings of the Mara River on the Serengeti side from north to south. Update from Danny Akiyoo – guide at Asilia Africa. Watch the video here.
Migration Update 02 Sept
Lenny Koshal with news of wildebeest herds crossing the Sand River north to south update. Take a look at this crossing!
Migration Update 04 Sept
Great crossing Serengeti side at Makutano north to south again. Update from Asilia Africa guide Elia Edward
Migration Update 18 Sept
Zebra Crossing! It’s not just the wildebeest who migrate or cross rivers – look at this huge Zebra crossing on the sand river near Sala’s Camp moving south to the Serengeti.
Migration Update 20 Sept
Frank Gabriel, from Lemala Camps and lodges, always sends fabulous updates like this huge herd crossing the Mara River on the Serengeti side – headed south!
Migration Update 21 Sept
Ainslee Wilson from Alex Walker’s Serien reported a big wildebeest crossing at No 7 headed from north to south.
Migration Update 22 Sept
In mid-September there was still movement of the herds from north to south – crossing the Mara River on the Serengeti. Update from Asilia
Migration Update 25 Sept
Huge herds near Nomad in the Serengeti – 20 km south of the Mara River, doing some wildebeest stuff.
Migration Update 28 Sept
Mashine (Joseph Swai) sent footage of a massive crossing on the Serengeti Side at No 4 headed north. Watch the video.
Migration Update 30 Sept
Herds cross the Mara River at Lookout Hill from east to west in Kenya. Update from GMC-mobile and a great thunderous dusty crossing.
Migration Update 7 Oct
Northern end of the migration in the Kenyan Conservancies – Mara North and Olare Motorogi. Crossings headed north across the Mara River – update from Baraka Willium
Migration Update 9 Oct
Governor’s Camp collection reporting from Mara Triangle, huge herds around Little Governor’s Camp. What happens next is anyone’s guess…. watch this space or follow us on Facebook for the latest updates about the movement of the wildebeest from the field.
Where will the herds be when the wildebeest drop their calves en masse come February? Traditionally the herds gather on the Southern Serengeti Plains near Ndutu for calving season. Will they be there at the start of 2019 or will the wildebeest keep us all guessing. One thing we know for certain, is that where ever the herds go, so will GMC Mobile! Book now for calving season and be sure you are in the right place at the right time.
Game Package Rates $330 and Full board Rates $230 (excludes Park Fees and getting there).
Spend Easter Weekend with the kids on a safari in the Serengeti with Great Migration Camps mobile.
Dates 30 March – 6 April 2018.
We’re taking our kids on safari this Easter and have space in camp for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids).
Rates for Easter Kids Safari
$170 Adults Full Board per day
$50 Kids Full Board per day
Included: Tented Accommodation, three meals daily, teas and coffees, laundry, communal ablutions, National Park
Camping Fees, VAT
Excluded: Gratuities, Alcoholic beverages & sodas, National Park Fees, all transfers, all items of a personal nature, flights, all safari activities.
$220 Adults Game Package per day
$75 Kids Game Package per day
Included: Tented Accommodation, three meals daily, teas and coffees, laundry, communal ablutions, National Park
Camping Fees, unlimited game viewing drives, transfers from airstrip, VAT
Excluded: Gratuities, Alcoholic beverages & sodas, National Park Fees, all items of a personal nature, flights.
TANAPA Serengeti NP fees
$24 Children 5 – 15 years
$71 Adults 16+ years
$35.40 East Africa Residents – Adults
$11.80 East Africa Residents – Kids 16+ years
Kids on Safari – What you need to know
We welcome children on safari – it is an incredible experience for children to connect with nature and learn respect for their surroundings. They are enthralled and stimulated, they play and make lists, count different species and notice the big creatures and the small. Their inquisitive minds can’t ask enough questions, they eat well and they collapse at night to sleep well.
All children coming on safari need to have completed a signed indemnity form and be accompanied by at least one adult. Throughout their time in the bush children will be under the supervision of at least one adult. We recommend that children should be able to sleep through the night. Children under the age of 5 must sleep in a tent with an adult. Children between 6 and 16 may not sleep alone but may share with other children.
Children are safe provided they follow safari and camp protocol.
Don’t walk alone at night – always walk in two’s and wear shoes.
No running at night & use a light
No food allowed in the tents
Tent zips to be closed always
Respect for nature.
We prefer children not to bring any electronic devices, but pen, papers & crayons; cards & books are welcome. Meals are simple: cereals for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch; and dinners are fish & chips; spaghetti bolognaise; hotdogs/boerewors rolls; chicken. Fruit or vegetables will be provided at every meal.
Enquire for Easter Kids Safari
TEL +255 686 493 065
7 Summits Africa 2018 Expedition dates released in preparation of the Brand Africa endorsed Pan-Africa Everest 2020 expedition, lead by African mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane.
7 Summits Africa released the dates of their 2018 #7SummitsAfrica Expedition in Nairobi, Kenya. This follows the hugely successful inaugural 2017 expedition that conquered 7 African Mountain peaks in 7 weeks during November / December 2017 – www.7summitsafrica.com. The 7 Summits Africa 2018 Expedition will take place between 25 October and 7 December 2018 and be led by Sibusiso Vilane.
The 2018 and 2019 #7SummitsAfrica Expeditions will be utilized for selecting and training an African team for the 2020 Mt Everest attempt, sponsored by Brand Africa. The next two Expeditions will not only prepare our African mountaineering team for the highest point on the planet, but it will again showcase the beauty and the bogs, the granite and the glaciers of the seven African peaks that make up the 7 Summits Africa Expeditions.
The expedition will lead the mountaineers to some of the best wildlife encounters in East Africa. For the first time, there is an opportunity for mountaineers from the global community to join the 2018 expedition. Limited spaces are available for individuals to join the entire expedition or part thereof as per the below dates:
25 October – 2 November 2018 – Mt Nyiragongo and Mt Karisimbi
2 – 15 November 2018 – The Rwenzoris, Mt Stanley and Baker
15 – 23 November 2018 – Mt Kenya
23 November – 7 December 2018 – Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro
7 Summits Africa is a marketing brand that promotes conservation through tourism on the African continent, destination marketing and new tourism product development to stimulate economic growth near marginalized National Parks and Reserves throughout Africa.
Carel Verhoef, founder of 7 Summits Africa, opened entries to the 2018 expedition on Monday 25 February, “It is a wonderful chance to be actively part of conservation, whilst having an incredible African adventure. The 2018 itinerary is fantastic, with mountaineers able to join the entire 44-day expedition or to achieve their goal over a longer period of time by climbing one mountain (or more). The mountaineering will again be combined with Africa’s best wildlife experiences; Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga and Volcanoes National Parks as well as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and encounters with rhino and big cats in Ol Pejeta Conservancy at the foot of Mt Kenya,” Verhoef said.
7 Summits Africa 2018 will support the NGO PAMS Foundation www.pamsfoundation.org in memory of founder Wayne Lotter who gave his life for conservation of Africa’s National Parks and Reserves.
As the leader of the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, Åke Lindstrom is marrying his two greatest passions: high altitude and African tourism development. Starting 4 November, the mountaineer who summits Kilimanjaro up to 10 times a year will lead a mixed-experience team attempting to summit seven African peaks back-to-back in seven weeks, to raise awareness of seven crucial causes.