The Great Migration of Wildebeest and Zebra in Serengeti is nature’s greatest show and one of the most mind-blowing wildlife phenomena, which includes almost two million hooved animals a year.  The wildebeest migration is known by many to be one of the Ten Natural Wonders of the World. You will never get to see such an enormous number of animals moving, in harmony with each other, for a never-ending year-long cycle that covers over 1800 miles moving clockwise across Tanzania and Kenya with the rhythms of the rains. As they cross from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, they head out to Masai Mara Reserve found in Kenya after crossing the Mara River. The animals migrate in search of better water sources and new grazing grasslands. The calving season as well as the river crossings during which the animals must escape the hungry giant crocodiles are the main highlights of this migration.


Also known as the gnu, the wildebeest is a member of the antelope family. They have a large, box-like head with curving horns. The front end of their body is heavily built, while the hindquarters are slender with spindly legs. They have a gray coat and a black mane as well as a beard that can be black or white. There are several races of wildebeest. The species forming the large herds of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Kenya and Tanzania is known as the western white-bearded wildebeest.  It is estimated that there are about 1.5 million wildebeests that take part in this migration.

Wildebeest often graze in mixed herds with zebra and various types of antelope, which gives heightened awareness of potential predators. They are also alert to the warning signals emitted by other animals such as baboons.  It is estimated that over 250,000 wildebeests die during the migration from Serengeti to Masai Mara.  Due to the large distances, they travel loss of life is due to exhaustion, hunger, thirst, and predators.

Zebras and other antelopes

It is estimated that there are 500,000 Burc hell’s zebras in addition to about 300,000 various types of antelopes among which are the Thomson’s gazelles, Grant’s gazelles and elands that take part in this migration.

Whether this is your first safari experience, or you have been on many, the wildlife spectacle of the Great Migration offers an almost overwhelming experience. Many of the lodges and safari camps are located in great positions for the arrival of the migration throughout the parks.  Other than during August to October when the migration is in Kenya, Tanzania is the place to be.