The Best Places To See The Wildebeest Migration


Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In November?

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

In November the ‘short rains’ start to fall in the Mara.

The plains return to their emerald green hue, and the migration is on the move southward, back to Tanzania’s Serengeti. Photographers revel in the heightened big cat activity and the stormy skyscapes.

Heather Richardson

Get the digested read

Where to begin? When to go? How to plan? So many questions, so little time. That's why we've asked leading Tanzania safari expert Heather Richardson to answer your most frequently asked questions in this handy five-part email series.

Zebra rain serengeti tanzania

Zebra enjoying rainy season on the Serengeti

Where is the wildebeest migration in November?

As the rest of the herds head back across the border, the Serengeti once again becomes the migration hotspot. The wildebeest and zebras are on the move, and most of them can be found in the Lobo and the Seronera Valley areas. In their quest for nutrition-rich grass, they form long columns stretching all the way to the central parts of the Serengeti.

Although it’s the wet season, the Serengeti is still an amazing place to experience. Photographers love to capture the skyscapes as huge, dramatic thunder clouds roll in over the savannah. You can expect cooler weather, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The animals become more active during this time of the year, especially big cats.

Is November a good time to see the great migration?

The rains from November to March are quite random and usually don’t last for more than a few hours. There’s a chance of heavier rain during this period but expect less than in the heavy rains of April. If it does rain, it will usually clear in one or two hours, and it’s more than likely that the shower will be localised. November is shoulder season, offering a combination of lower accommodation prices with good wildlife watching.

The silver lining of the wet season

Although the heavy rains are starting to fall, November is one of the best months if your intention is to see the big cats. As the wet season begins, plenty of predators seek out newborn herbivores, and the action can get very intense.

Photography also thrives. Many specialised photographic safari companies offer tours solely for taking pictures of the cats during this period. Watching the big storm clouds roll in can be a very moving experience, especially for photographers. The dark skies, the thunder and lightning all align to create beautiful dramatic backgrounds, and the light is ideal — particularly if you have a big lion hunting a zebra in the frame.

But storm clouds aren’t for everyone. If you do want to avoid the rains in November, your best option is to head down to Selous where the rains usually arrive later than other parks in Tanzania. The dry landscapes usually last until early December.

About the authors

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In November?

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 November?

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 November?

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.

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.