July is primetime viewing for what many consider to be the main act of the migration theatrics – the crossing of the Mara River.

Tanzania_wilderbeast Marariver

The famed river crossings, a classic scene of the wildebeest migration

Where is the wildebeest migration in July?

The herds will migrate from Tanzania to Kenya and into the golden grasslands of the Maasai Mara. Head to Kogatende or Lamai for the best chance of viewing the crossings, but be patient: some days will see thousands cross, others none.

This is when the famous Mara River crossings begin, especially at the end of July. In search of fresh grass, the migration keeps pushing north through some of the most beautiful areas of the northern Serengeti. As the landscape transforms from lush and green to the iconic golden savannah fields, it gets easier to spot wild game of all kinds.

Elephants, giraffes and even smaller game can be spotted miles away. You will see the sort of beautiful landscapes you dream of, so it’s worth the struggle with the crowds.

Is July a good time to see the great migration?

In July the weather is warm with hardly any rainfall at all. Sunny skies bring about beautiful mornings and evenings which are extraordinary for photography. As the land dries out, driving conditions are much improved over previous months.

But with the pleasant weather comes the big wave of tourists. Prices go sky high, and you need to book in advance to guarantee a bed. If you’re looking for a budget safari, try a different season.

The drama of the river crossing

The wildebeest converge at the river, congregating on the banks awaiting the moment when the more fearless among them will take the plunge. Meanwhile, scavengers and predators await.

Driven by hunger, those on the frontline jump, then the rest follow. As they reach the other side, they learn that getting out of the river is just as dangerous as jumping in – sometimes the opposite bank wall is too steep and the rocks offer little grip.

Yet the wildebeest seem programmed to carry on with their journey. Some break their backs leaping from the steep banks, but what matters is to keep going. This is the last step of their long journey, and they must reach the opposite bank without drowning or being swept downstream by the river current. The ones who don’t get eaten by crocodiles make their way out – while some get trampled on in the process.

About the authors

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In July?

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 July?

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 July?

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.

Need expert advice?
I'm here to answer any of your questions
Anthony Ham

Why Horizon Guides?

Impartial guidebooks

Impartial travel guides

Our guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for impartial travel advice.

Expert itineraries

Expert itineraries

Suggested itineraries and routes to help you scratch beneath the surface, avoid the tourist traps, and plan an authentic, responsible and enjoyable journey.

Specialist advice

Specialist advice

Get friendly, expert travel advice and custom itineraries from some of the world's best tour operators, with no spam, pressure or commitment to book.