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By Julian 07 June 2017

Tanzania's Serengeti Great Migration

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…

A Guide to the Serengeti Migration in April

April is the final month that the herds still spread across the southern plains. Calving season has ended by now but there is still enough rain and fresh grass to keep the herds in the southern plains for the majority of the month. Exactly when they move north is impossible to predict but some years can see the first herds moving up into the heart of the Serengeti in April, starting their big push to the dry season grazing grounds of the northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara. Historically however, the Ndutu plains are still the area to focus on – a fact that’s backed up satellite tag data we have access to, and the Serengeti’s best guides. Game viewing is prolific and the park is very quiet due to the risk of some rain. But overall, in our opinion, a very clever time of year to travel.

In summary – Rain along with long grass in some areas can put off some travellers but focus on the Ndutu Plains and potentially Moru and the game viewing, the Great Migration, and the fact that prices are super-low makes April a clever time to travel. A wonderfully quiet Serengeti.

Video overview - Below is a 60 second video overview of the movement of the Great Migration in April.

Where to stay? Follow this link to a blog and video on where best to stay for the herds in April.

What is the best safari in April? Beneath the video below is more information on the parks I would combine with the Serengeti in April, and also my suggestion for the best safaris.

Serengeti Migration   April

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

  • 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.
  • The Serengeti is vast. In April 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 Singita or Grumeti in the west), where you will have luxury lodges at low prices and 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 but the villages in the area are the main reason for my inclusion of Manyara on many trips.
  • Only a few people visit Tarangire in April; the majority of the good camps are closed due to the rains. Much of Tarangire becomes a swamp
  • And finally, the beaches of the Zanzibar Archipelago or Tanzania's mainland coast may be slightly 'iffy' at this time of year due to the rain…but further afield, the likes of the Seychelles or Mauritius are superb. The Seychelles is wonderful in April.


The best Serengeti safaris in April

I’ve always believed the best trips in April 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 specifically around the Ndutu plains – it’s always been the best place for travel in April although Moru runs Ndutu a close second.

I’d then suggest splitting your location in the park and including a location in the Serengeti’s western corridor. &Beyond Grumeti River Camp is a cracking price at this time of year but for clients looking for the best of it all then Singita’s private Grumeti Reserve in the far west is superb. Budgets go sky high with this option, but combining somewhere like Singita’s Faru Faru with the Ngorongoro and Serengeti mobiles is as good as safari gets. And April’s low season rates make the trip more competitive than peak season…by far!!

Are you looking to arrange 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], 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].

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