The Serengeti Great Migration - February

03 June 2017

Tanzania's Serengeti Great Migration; a guide to February

The Serengeti is the ‘mother’ of all safari parks and the Great Migration one of the planets most impressive wildlife events; this is a park that epitomises the very essence of safari. Home to the largest herds on earth and with Africa’s Big Five on show, the Serengeti is one of those rare places that exceeds your expectations.

The 1.5 million strong 'Wildebeest Great Migration' is the parks major attraction and the majority of trips to the Serengeti should be designed around it. In this 12-part month by month blog series, I look at each month’s movements of the herds and all the other wildlife caught up in the action. I will also link you to my suggestions for the best places to stay throughout the year, to make sure you’re in the thick of the herds whenever you travel. And there are a few suggestions for how you might like to combine your Great Migration trip with other areas. Intrigued? Read on… 

The Serengeti Migration – February

February is often the peak of the Great Migration calving, when 500,000 young wildebeest are born in a matter of weeks! Adding to this amazing sight is the sheer volume of predators – statistically this is the highest build-up of predators anywhere in Africa, at any time of year. The focus is the southern Serengeti and northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Ndutu Plains, the heart of an endless sea of rolling plains and open skies has historically been the place that sees the biggest herds however at no other time of year does localised rainfall decide their movement as much as now. The best game viewing stretches from Ndutu to Kusini, as far south as Kakesio, and as far north as the Moru Kopjes (effectively the majority of the southern Serengeti, with a focus around Lake Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area).

Summary – Amazing for the Great Migration’s calving period and a very high concentrations of predators. A very popular and very productive time of year to travel. The probability of seeing cheetah hunts is high.

VIDEO OVERVIEW - Below is a 60 second video overview of the movement of the Great Migration in February.

WHERE TO STAY? Follow this link to a blog and video on where best to stay for the herds in February.

WHAT IS THE BEST SAFARI IN FEBRUARY? Beneath the video below is more information on the parks I would combine with the Serengeti in February, and also my suggestion for the best safaris.

What parks are best to combine with the Serengeti in February?

  • The Ngorongoro Crater is virtually impossible to turn down. This spectacular game-drive area may be busy, but how often are you going to have the opportunity to drive on the floor of an extinct volcano… and with one of the highest densities of animals anywhere all around you?! The setting is nothing short of exceptional.
  • The Serengeti is vast. In February I’ve always believed the best trips involve two locations in the park so you either a) maximise your chance of seeing the ‘mega’ herds by spitting your time across two locations in the southern plains or b) explore a quiet part of the park (such as the far north), where you will basically have a game drive area all to yourself!
  • Nearby Lake Manyara is always a nice ‘soft’ introduction to the region. Famous for its tree climbing lions it is a busy park in terms of tourists and for that reason, is a location that splits opinion amongst guides. It’s interesting for an afternoon drive on a first day.
  • Only a few people visit Tarangire in February, preferring to wait until the herds arrive later in the year. It is an interesting addition to an itinerary if you are trying to avoid the crowds, and a place to go to if you are prepared to potentially work a little harder for your sightings.
  • My secret spot in the north is Lake Natron, for the quality of walking, the sheer beauty of the volcanic scenery, and the fact you are far off the tourist track – I think it’s well worth a visit. You have to want to be adventurous, though!
  • And finally, the beaches of the Zanzibar Archipelago or Tanzania's mainland coast…or further afield to the Seychelles or Mauritius? The beach options are endless, and picture perfect.

 

The best Serengeti safaris in February

I’ve always believed the best trips in February start with the Ngorongoro region (potentially with Lake Manyara) before heading into the Serengeti for a stay with the herds in the southern plains of the park. I’ll often split a clients stay between two parts of the southern plains in February, with Kusini, Moru and Ndutu being the three main areas to choose from.

I’d then suggest splitting your location in the park and including another location in the far north or west. Lamai Serengeti’s reduced rates are very attractive whilst Singita’s Faru Faru has always been an expensive favourite! At this time of year, the Serengeti is wild, remote, and with very few tourists, so you can enjoy amazing lodges at reduced rates and a quiet part of the park all to yourself! Personally I’d always include Lake Natron for a couple of nights of adventure!

Are you looking to arrange a safari?

If so, then we would love to help you design it! With all the information on the internet today we quite often find clients somewhat confused and flooded with information. The best thing you can do is to speak to someone in the YZ office about your plans. We have three members of staff who have worked in the Serengeti and can talk you through the best options for you, at the right time of year.

Wies ([email protected], pronounced Veece!) is a professional safari guide and camp manager, while Lauren ([email protected]) worked for Legendary Expeditions and Mwiba. They know the Serengeti backwards… and they love to chat about it!

Please feel free to get in touch with either them or myself on [email protected].