The Great Migration of East Africa – no other wildlife event can compare! It is an epic natural event that is truly a privilege to witness. Each year between July and October, the enormous plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya come alive, where millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle embark on their illustrious 1 800-mile journey from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara. So what makes this such a special event? Simply put, it is the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world!
What is the Great Migration?
The vast plains of the African grassland spanning Tanzania and Kenya is filled with mineral-rich soil, which feeds the vegetation. These qualities attract wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle. As herbivores, they need to find the right quality and quantity of grass to support their diet. They want to be where the grass literally is greener! So directly after calving season, between December and March, the herds and the big cats that shadow them, migrate around the Serengeti, following the rains and the moveable feast around the savanna. Every day, we witness history in the making on this natural equivalent of London’s West End. It’s pure drama! By June, the dry season is in full swing in Tanzania, which starts to drive the herds up north, causing the Great Migration. The Maasai Mara plains are vital for wildlife as they fulfill essential ecological purposes interconnected with the wild.
A Special Event to Witness
Witnessing the Great Migration from Maasai Mara is such a special event to behold because it is such an important wildlife conservation area for Africa and, in fact, the world. Some of the most critical ecosystems in the world exist in this region. Their preservation is vital. So, where in the Maasai Mara would be best to view the Great Migration? The Mara Triangle would be a great place to start! It’s located in the southwestern part of the Maasai Mara and is within a distance from the river crossings where the Great Migration takes place. Staying at any Maasai Mara Conservancies is also a great way to ensure you have a fantastic Kenya Safari experience and possibly, witness the Great Migration for yourself.
Experts trips from private guides Tristan Dicks & Tayla McCurdy
We asked our expert guides for some tips on experiencing the Great Migration in true wandering style. Here’s what they said,
- Q:Where is the best place in Kenya to experience the annual Great Migration?
Tayla McCurdy: It’s really a difficult one to answer because there are so many unique places to stay! Personally, I absolutely love Sala’s Camp as it’s in the Southern section of the reserve where it’s nice and quiet! However, if you’re looking for views, then Angama Mara is the place to go. Situated along the Oloololo escarpment, you’ll have a stunning view of the Mara Triangle below you.
Tristan Dicks: It depends on what you are looking for! Kenya is so diverse with culture, wildlife, and terrain that it’s hard to pinpoint the best spot in Kenya. It literally has something for everyone. If you’d like to see the Migration, the best place is the Mara Triangle. The river crossings are less crowded from the Triangle side than the National Park, but both sides allow for incredible views of the herds.
- Q:Other than the Great Migration spectacle, what is it about the country that keeps you coming back?
Tayla McCurdy: The never-ending views. I’ve spent so much time in South Africa, where the bush is more woodland than anything, so it really opened my eyes after going to Kenya and seeing how vast the grasslands are. Quite literally! After a bit of time, you end up spotting the Askaris and finding big cats resting under trees hundreds of meters away!
Tristan Dicks: The beauty of the landscapes, the friendly people, and the cultural and natural diversity.
- Q: In your opinion, what is the most underrated experience in Kenya?
Tayla McCurdy: Hot air balloon safari along the Mara River from Little Governors!
Tristan Dicks: Probably seeing the dry northern reaches of the country and the Turkana, with its rich culture and completely different feel compared to other parts of Kenya. Personally, the remote northern reaches of Tsavo will always hold a special place in my heart.
- Q:Similarly, which are the most unique camps or experiences for viewing the Great Migration and why?
Tayla McCurdy: I see that Angama Mara has a new safari-tented camp in the Triangle itself. Again, Sala’s. I remember being surrounded by thousands of wildebeest a few years back while at a campsite. It’s just an incredible experience!
Tristan Dicks: It really depends on one’s budget as several beautiful camps across the Mara landscape offer unique viewing of the Migration. In terms of experiences, the balloon safaris are undoubtedly the most extraordinary way to see the Migration.
- Q:What cuisine do you crave most after leaving Kenya?
Tayla McCurdy: This is a no-brainer – Mandazis and Chapatis, obviously! I also have a favorite drink, called a Dawa. It means ‘medicine’ in Swahili, so it’s good for you!
Tristan Dicks: Chapatis and Mandazis – it’s a typical food across the region; Chapati is the Kenyan version of Roti and Mandazi is another flour-based food, similar to doughnuts, but less sweet and usually served without any glazing or frosting.
- Q: What do you never leave for Kenya without?
Tayla McCurdy: A good amount of sunscreen and a hat!
Tristan Dicks: That would definitely be my camera!
You’ll be delighted to know that in line with COVID-19 safety protocols, all the camps we are in partnership with offer COVID-19 PCR testing, with quick turnaround times of between 24 and 48 hours. So, now is the perfect time to book a trip to see the Great Migration in 2022. Get in touch today and start planning