The Best Places To See The Wildebeest Migration


Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In April?

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya Heather Richardson Anthony Ham
By Hans Cosmas Ngoteya , Heather Richardson & Anthony Ham

Long rains mean thicker vegetation and scattered herds, which makes viewing more of a challenge. But the rewards of the low season are lower prices and few other people as the migration makes its way north and into ‘big cat territory’.

Heather Richardson

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Lion on rock at Simba kopjes in Serengeti Tanzania

A lion rests on Simba Kopjes

Where is the wildebeest migration in April?

Because of the plentiful water, the animals tend to scatter, which makes them a little bit harder to find – for both predators and safari-goers alike.

The wildebeest leave the Ndutu region and head northwest past the Simba Kopjes and towards Moru. They continue moving slowly, as the babies are still small and learning to use their legs. Due to the difficulty of predicting where the wildebeest herds will be, the cost of safaris in Tanzania drops in April, with accommodation and tour rates at the year-round low.

However, this doesn’t mean that animals can’t be found. April is one of the best months for lion activity as the wildebeest cross into the Simba Kopjes rock formation – known for its lion prides.

Is April a good time to see the great migration?

This is the period of mvua za masika, Swahili for monsoon or long rains. Expect rainfall, mostly at night. The vegetation becomes very thick and lush, making wildlife spotting somewhat difficult.

An even bigger challenge is the roads. Some of the dirt roads get totally washed out and become almost impassable. The trade-off is stunning scenery on the empty plains, with unusual shots of thunder-strewn vistas. This is a challenging time to choose a great migration safari, but wildlife watching opportunities still exist.

Let it rain

For the animals and people living in the Serengeti and Maasai Mara, the long rains mean the difference between life and death.

Throughout the whole drought season, the Maasai tribes patiently await the rains to fill the rivers, water their crops and relieve their cows of thirst. Even today, many tribesmen perform rainmaking ceremonies. It’s called the mukwerera, and for a few days, all the members of the tribe gather around a holy muchakata tree to dance and pray to their ancestors for a generous amount of rain.

Unfortunately, climate change has taken its toll on the region. The droughts are now getting longer and the rains heavier, causing flooding. A recent study shows that the Horn of Africa is drier than at any other time in the last 2,000 years.

About the authors

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In April?

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya is a conservationist from Tanzania, a National Geographic Explorer, and co-founder of numerous conservation organisations including Ngoteya Wild, Landscape and Conservation Mentors Organization and Tanzania Wildlife Media Association.

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In April?

Heather Richardson

Heather is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She writes for the BBC, Sunday Times, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Departures Magazine, among others.

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In April?

Anthony Ham

Anthony has been travelling around Africa for more than a decade. He has returned many times, seeking out stories about the people and wildlife of west and north Africa.

In recent years he has broadened his horizons into more traditional wildlife haunts, exploring Kenya, Botswana and South Africa. You can see his work in Lonely Planet and Africa Geographic.

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