A Guide to the Serengeti Great Migration in November

By Julian 10 July 2017

TANZANIA’S SERENGETI GREAT MIGRATION: A GUIDE TO NOVEMBER

The Serengeti is the ‘mother’ of all safari parks and the Great Migration one of the planet’s 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 park’s 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’ll 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 recommendations for how you might like to combine your Great Migration trip with other areas. Intrigued? Read on…

A Guide to the Serengeti Great Migration in November

November is a major moving month, as the herds head through the Serengeti towards the southern short-grass plains. This month sees the mega-herds on the move as the actual ‘Great Migration’ takes place. Towards the beginning of November, the Mara river is still the place to be with river crossings still happening. However, the first herds will be reaching the central Serengeti, so there is a good argument for splitting your time between two locations in the park – Kogatende and Seronera/Moru is often perfect. From the 15th onwards, river crossings are rare, so we often suggest that clients focus on areas around the central Seronera river valley and Moru (south of central).

Summary – A busy month for the herds, but one that offers great value due to low-season rates. A very clever time to travel, in my opinion – doing a spilt location at this time of year is a great safari with the chance of the last river crossings.

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

WHERE TO STAY? I've written an accompanying blog and video on where to stay for the herds in November.

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

 

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

This is a very difficult topic – because the dry season often continues into November….meaning the vast majority of Tanzania is superb across the whole month! Even with rain, Northern Tanzania, (the Serengeti and Ngorongoro in particular) is reliably brilliant for game, but the onset of the light rains will have an affect on game concentrations in the dry season parks – such as Tarangire and the southern and western parks of Selous, Ruaha and Katavi.

I’ve always found it helps clients to consider options for trips that stay just in northern Tanzania, and also options that include the south and west of the country.

The north (throughout November)

  • The Ngorongoro Crater is virtually impossible to turn down. This spectacular game-drive area can be very busy at other times of year, but April sees the ‘Crater’ in one of its quietest periods. Besides, 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.
  • Tarangire is a fantastic choice throughout much of November. This park is most famous for its elephant herds which start to mass on Tarangire’s rivers and swamps from July onwards. It is a wonderful, off the beaten track gem of a safari park that is officially just ‘off peak’ in November. I’d include Tarangire up to the 20th November or so.
  • 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!

The south and west (best in early November)

  • Tanzania’s west is the place of safari enthusiasts and chimpanzees. Katavi is as wild a park as anywhere I’ve been, while Mahale is the finest destination in Africa for viewing chimps. The cost of trips out here takes prices to another level (flights are over $1,000pp alone!), but the experience is truly special.
  • Try to be slightly clever with your budget, however, and Tanzania’s Ruaha is a cracking park where big game is at its best. I love designing trips that focus on the Serengeti and Ruaha…the value and authenticity is superb whilst the predator concentrations are unrivalled. Likewise, nearby Selous offers amazing boating safaris and a different experience overall.

The beaches

  • Finally, the beaches of the Zanzibar Archipelago or Tanzania's mainland coast are superb. Mozambique is also excellent but tricky to include due to difficulties with flights. Further afield and the Seychelles or Mauritius are superb. 

The best Serengeti safaris in November

I’ve always believed the best trips in November start with the Ngorongoro region (potentially with Lake Manyara) before heading into the Serengeti for a stay with the herds in the northern parts of the park (to catch the last river crossings) and also the central plains of the park specifically around Moru.

If you are looking to stay in northern Tanzania then a combination of Tarangire, the Crater and the Serengeti is the trip I would do. We can be clever with internal flights and only do a one night Crater stay that means you see the Ngorongoro quickly and move on, making the most of the area. Alternatively, miss out the Crater area altogether and simply focus on the two migrations – the elephants in Tarangire and the Serengeti’s wildebeest Great Migration.

However, a trip I always love designing is the Serengeti for the river crossings and Ruaha in central Tanzania for sheer wilderness and predators! These two areas have such unbelievably good game and complement each other in terms of very different habitats. Ruaha will always be one of my top three big game parks. If you have slightly longer then including the boating in Selous is a great way to finish.

Are you looking to go on a safari?

If so, then we would love to help you design it! With all the information on the net 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]afaris.com, 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].