The annual cycle of life is turning full circle.

The rains have returned, and the wildebeest are on the move back toward the rich grasses of Ndutu. With pregnant bellies, they’re looking for the best spot to calve in the coming months.

Rains zebra Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area Tanzania

'Green season' in the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Where is the wildebeest migration in December?

In the last month of the year, the migration has reached the southernmost plains of the Serengeti, looking for better grass.

During this time of the year, a lot of other species give birth to their youngsters, so if your aim is to see cute babies, this is the time to go. The wildebeest are in the fifth month of their pregnancy and slowly start making their way back to the nutritious grass of Ndutu where they will soon give birth to their calves in January and February. The next generation of wildebeest is almost here.

Is December a good time to see the great migration?

December marks the height of the green season in the Serengeti. It’s a wet period, so occasional showers can be expected throughout the whole month. The temperature drops, the evenings turn cooler and it’s a bit harder to spot the animals due to the plentiful water sources.

As far as visitors, December becomes a very busy month with the end-of-year holidays coming up, so you may want to avoid the hotspots around the Ngorongoro Crater and other popular locations.

A brief history of safari

Arabic and African cultures have been exchanging goods and ideas for centuries. Large caravans of traders would travel across vast territories to peddle their wares from one city to the next.

The word safari originated from the word safar, which is an Arabic verb that roughly translates as “to make a journey”. From there, you get the noun safariya, or “journey”. Safari is actually a Swahili interpretation of the Arabic word.

In the 19th century, the ‘great white hunters’ from Europe started to use the phrase to describe their escapades into sub-Saharan Africa in search of game. Their accounts of spectacular adventures spurred others to follow in their footsteps, and soon the colonial settlers saw money to be made. They started organising and promoting safaris for affluent outsiders.

About the authors

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In December?

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 December?

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 December?

Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned travel journalist and guidebook author and is one of the world's leading authorities on Africa safari, wildlife and conservation. He has been travelling to Africa for more than two decades to research Africa safari guidebooks for Lonely Planet. He is widely published in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Monthly, Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), National Geographic Traveler, BBC Wildlife, Lonely Planet Traveller, Africa Geographic, The Independent, Travel Africa, among many others.

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