Lauded, and understandably so, as one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth, if not ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’, sure to leave you in utter awe and absolute amazement, the annual Wildebeest Migration of East Africa, or ‘the Great Migration’ … or simply, ‘the Migration’ … is without doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If the opportunity arises, if the opportunity can be created, the spectacle of watching hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, moving en masse across the vast plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania, towards the grasslands of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and then back down again, is a Bucket List, and unforgettable, expedition not to be missed.
Immense numbers of wildebeest, estimates range to between 1.5 and 2 million animals, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, eland and impala, move in a roughly clock-wise pattern each and every year, seeking fresh grazing, and high quality water, in a continuous wildlife drama.
With all of this on offer, it is not surprising then, that there is an assortment of well-placed lodges, in either of the Serengeti, or the Mara ecosystems, from which guests can choose to observe the extravaganza. Determined by annual rainfall patterns, the precise timing of the Great Wildebeest Migration is slightly tricky, but generally speaking, the biggest visual exhibition of the wildebeest is expected from May until August each year.
Having said this though, the wildebeest movement is ongoing, if you plan well, and with a bit of African luck, the continuous wildebeest crusade can be intercepted at any number of junctures along their migratory way.
With many guests vying for the best vantage point from which to view the perpetual phenomenon, we’ve put together our list of preferred luxury camps and lodges in Tanzania from where it is possible to to marvel at the mercurial show.
Tanzania’s best Migration camps & lodges
Sanctuary Serengeti Migration Camp
With the knowledge that the rains rule the location of the migrating wildebeest throughout the year, Sanctuary Serengeti Migration Camp moves between three different sites across the Serengeti National Park, following the herds.
Offering ten luxury safari tents, each en suite with indoor bucket shower, hairdryers and plug points, each tent is overseen by a personal attendant who takes care of guests for the duration of their visit. Generally speaking the camp is located in the Western Serengeti from April to July, in the Northern Serengeti from August to November, and in the Southern Serengeti from December to March each year.
Sanctuary Serengeti Migration Camp is intimate and classic Africa, with dining area, bar area and lounge area, as well as comfortable sofas, strategically positioned to soak up the surrounding vistas.
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
Located in the Serengeti National Park, some 335kms from Arusha, perched high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, adjacent to the famed Western Corridor and the Grumeti River, Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge offers outstanding viewing of the Migration.
On the larger side, and therefore better suited for the more budget conscious traveller, the lodge is composed of 66 charming en suite rooms, amongst which, one spacious Suite; the traditional ‘rondavel’ design of the lodge and rooms blend seamlessly into the living African landscape.
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is a fusion of traditional African architecture and world-class style, complete with vanishing horizon pool looking out over the infinite plains where the Big Five roam. The Lodge is accessible via a one-hour flight from Arusha into the Seronera Airstrip, followed by a short 27km transfer.
Perfectly positioned around a rocky outcrop (or ‘kopje’), and directly in the path of the Wildebeest Migration, the luxurious Sanctuary Kusini is the only permanent camp in the remote and unspoilt southern section of the Serengeti National Park.
The lodge comprises just twelve tents that have spectacular views of the endless plains, with communal areas including a dining area, a lounge, and a library; each capacious en suite tent is equipped with mosquito netting, hairdryer and in-room safe, each serviced by it’s own personal attendant who will take care of guest’s every need for the duration of their stay.
andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp
Located in the remote western area of the Serengeti National Park, directly on the route of the Migration, andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp comprises a mere ten, rustic-yet-sophisticated, spacious safari tents.
Tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest, all tented suites are equipped with overhead fans and romantic outdoor showers. Accommodating 20 guests in total, overlooking a cool and tranquil hippo pool, this is an intimate lodge, which enjoys not only fabulous wildebeest sightings, but exceptional year-round viewing of other game, including the famed African Big Five.
Endemic to the dense riverine forest in which the camp is built, and no where else in the entire Serengeti, at Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, you will also find the Black and White Colobus monkey.
andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas
The epitome of extravagant camping (or glamping!), andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas, is a luxurious semi-permanent tented camp that roams the plains of the Serengeti.
The extravagant tented suites are en suite – with flushing loos, and lavish linens; the camp itself is complete with chandeliers, silver- and crystal-ware, and even boasts a private butler service. With a meagre nine tents nestled at each carefully selected private campsite, andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas provides the ultimate in intimate and outstanding game viewing.
Combined with the authenticity and romance of a classic Tanzanian safari, viewing of the actual wildebeest river crossing, whilst camping in style in Africa, gets no better than this.
Located in the far north of the Serengeti National Park, Sayari Camp sits close to the famed Lamai Wedge, allowing easy access to the Mara River, with it’s multiple crossing points for the animals of the Wildebeest Migration.
Comprised of 15 extra comfortable en suite tents – each beautifully appointed, with shower, as well as bath-for-two – the camp is split into two wings, one wing with six tents, it’s own lounge and dining area, the other wing with nine tents, it’s own lounge and dining area. With sweeping vistas over the remote Northern grasslands of the Park, this intimate and contemporary camp delivers a dash of magic to the plains, together with exclusive wildebeest viewing and outstanding wildlife encounters.
Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge
The luxurious Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge lies within the main corridor of the Wildebeest Migration.
The contemporary, yet undeniably African lodge, rests amongst the large boulders of the site, providing simply spectacular views of the African landscape from the bar, sitting, and dining areas respectively, as well as from the swimming pool and various decks. The camp comprises 15 lavish glass-fronted en suite tents, each with shower, freestanding bath, and private plunge pool.
For particularly good views of the wildebeest crossing the Mara River, the Kuria Hills is an elegant and ideal choice.
Singita Mara River Tented Camp
Singita Mara River Tented Camp lies on the world-renowned Mara River in the Lamai Triangle area in the far north of the Serengeti National Park.
With just four one-bedroomed Suites, and two Family Tents, Singita Mara River Tented Camp is a small luxury camp.
Ideally oriented to maximize endless views of the Mara River, with a minimum environmental impact, the camp is an elegant blend of Maasai colours and raw leather, offering cool relaxation and a plunge pool in the main area.
In addition to spectacular viewings of the wildebeest river crossings, the isolated location of the camp in the Serengeti Mara ecosystem, also ensures outstanding game viewing of the consistent and abundant year-round wildlife, including the Big Five.
Let the experts at Southern Destinations help you plan your migration safari as part of an unforgettable trip to Tanzania.