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Meet Julian, Director, Yellow Zebra Safaris, cropped
By Julian 12 July 2017

YZ co-founder Julian provides the ultimate guide on where to stay to see the Serengeti's Great Migration in June. Take a look below:

Firstly, where are the herds? June is a major moving month, and because of that the location of the mega-herds can be quite tricky to predict. The Serengeti’s Western Corridor is a great place to focus as over 50% of the herds head out to this area in late April and May. They will often stay there for the next few weeks, well into June. The remainder of the migration heads directly north and enters the northern Lobo and Kogatende areas of the Serengeti from approximately the 15th June onward. Due to how widely the herds can be spread in June it is a month in which I would often recommend that clients split their time between the western corridor and the heart of the park as well as Lobo farther north. By splitting your time between two areas, you will cover the entire area the migration can be found… and therefore increase your chances of hitting the mega-herds.

At the end of June the first crossings usually happen on the Mara River, but I’d urge clients to be cautious relying on the northern Serengeti in June – the grass can be long and the herds unpredictable. The mega herds are usually a long way behind, moving into the northern Serengeti in July. For this blog I will split up the month into the first two week until the 15th June and the final two weeks to the end of the month.

THE VIDEO BELOW – an overview of where to stay in June to maximise your chance of seeing the herds.

BENEATH THE VIDEO - a write up of my favourite lodges and recommendations for where to stay that covers all price points

Serengeti Migration   where to stay June

The Serengeti Migration's best camps and safari lodges in June

There are two different styles of property to choose from. The first is the famous ‘Serengeti mobiles’ that follow the herds, and the second is the ‘permanent lodges’ (or camps). The Serengeti mobiles tend to cater for the more adventurous traveller, however I would always encourage people to consider the idea of the mobile camps; they are much more comfortable than people expect and are often the highlight of a safari.

To help you understand what you get for your money, we split the Serengeti’s properties into three different price brackets – Value, Classic, and Luxury. It's worth mentioning that the prices below do NOT include any long stay deals etc. Therefore our safaris can often be less expensive than this nightly rate.

1st June – 15th June: focus on the Western Corridor and central plains

Focusing on the Serengeti's Western Corridor for the first two weeks of June is the right move. Camps in the northern areas such as Lobo may well report the first few herds moving through the area, but the crossings of the Grumeti are going on in the Western Corridor and historically this is where the mega herds are located.

‘Value’ Serengeti camps (approximately $500 - $650 per person per night)

Mobile Camps – Very few low cost mobiles go into the Western corridor but the stand out option is Chaka Camp. Privately owned and run, Chaka’s location is great for June and offers reliably good resident game. It is a classic, well, priced mobile property where the sense of adventure is tangible from the moment you arrive.

Permanent Lodges – Mbalageti Safari Lodge is a property I’ve always struggled with – it is rather dated, and although it has a broad range of room categories tends to cater for the driving trips we try to avoid. If you are set on staying in a permanent lodge then the camps in Moru, south of the heart of the park are the camps I’d suggest. Nasikia’s Naona Moru and Lemala’s Ewanjan are great camps at good prices.

My suggestion for the ‘Value’ price bracket - Stay away from the camps around Ikoma – the traffic around that area is awful. I’d encourage clients to choose Chaka for the Western Corridor in June or Lemala Ewanjan if permanent lodges are your style. Travel too far into June however and Lemala’s location is an issue for the reliability of the herds.

‘Classic’ Serengeti camps (approximately $750 per person per night)

Mobile Camps - Step up a level to our Classic bracket, and the likes of Nomad Tanzania’s Serengeti Safari Camp and Asilia’s Ubuntu are well worth considering. Chaka Camp should also be considered at the top end of the Value category however I have always been a fan of Serengeti Safari Camp, due to the authentic approach of Nomad Tanzania, the company that runs the camp. Also, they offer four nights for the price of three most years and you can get additional value for money by combining Serengeti Safari Camp with another of Nomad’s properties elsewhere – Entamanu at the Ngorongoro for example, or Lamai in the far north.

Permanent Lodges – There are very few good quality permanent lodges in the Western Corridor. The likes of Serena’s Kirawira is an option but this large hotel chain is not known for its small safari camps. Personally I would strongly encourage clients to go mobile in June for the classic price bracket.

My suggestion for the ‘Classic’ price bracket – Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp epitomises everything about safari and the location is perfect. I’d recommend this property above all others.

‘Luxury’ Serengeti camps (approximately $1,000+ per person per night)

Mobile Camps - &Beyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas is a mobile camp that focuses on luxury above all else… the honeymoon option for a mobile camp, maybe! Legendary Expeditions also run their mobile camp up in this area, an expensive but well-run outfit.

Permanent lodges - &Beyond’s Grumeti River Camp is well worth considering, while the pick of the bunch is the Singita collection – a collection of five properties in an exceptional private reserve. Sasakwa is a destination itself - a vast lodge with tennis courts and swimming pools, whilst its sister properties Faru Faru and Sabora are absurdly good smaller bushcamps.  The stand-out option here for me is Faru Faru.

My suggestion for the ‘Luxury’ price bracket – &Beyond’s Grumeti River Camp is a fantastic western corridor location, however if the Singita collection is open (the owner often shuts the camp around this time) then Singita Faru Faru is the place to stay, a property that is one of my top three in Africa. For opulent luxury its all about Sasakwa.

15th June onward: focus on central Seronera/the West but also Lobo in the north

There is a distinct movement north in June. The mega herds start leaving the western corridor at some point in June with the end of the month seeing good herds pushing up to Lobo in the central heart of the northern Serengeti. If you are very lucky then the river crossings are starting to happen now.

‘Value’ Serengeti camps (approximately $500 - $650 per person per night)

Chaka Camp is the best of the western corridor mobiles however when splitting your time between two areas, the ideal scenario is to combine camps that are in the western corridor/central Seronera and also Lobo in the north of the Serengeti. This should take away your focus of going for a mobile camp.

The key is to work with a company that will give you a reduced rate for a four-night stay between the two areas. Nasikia Camps run Naona Moru in the heart of the park and Nasikia Migration Mobile in Lobo – the locations are good and the camps well priced.

Competition to the Nasikia camps would be Lemala Ewanjan and Lemala Kuria Hills, where the luxury on offer for the price is undeniable. The only issue however is these camps’ locations in the central Serengeti and the far north at Kogatende (not Lobo), are not quite as good as Nasikia’s locations.

My suggestion for the ‘Value’ price bracket – Nasikia’s Naona Moru and Migration Mobile are the camps I would recommend for the split stays in late June.

‘Classic’ Serengeti camps (approximately $750 per person per night)

Mobile Camps - Nomad Tanzania’s Serengeti Safari Camp is the stand-out property in this price bracket. I have always been a fan of Serengeti Safari Camp due to the authentic approach of Nomad Tanzania, but it is their locations that are absolutely perfect for splitting a stay between 15th June and the end of the month. One of Nomad’s Serengeti mobiles is located in the north of the Musabi Plains in the west, while their other mobile property opens up in Lobo.

Permanent Lodges - If mobile camps are a tad too adventurous, then I’d suggest splitting your time between Pioneer Camp (at Moru) and Migration Camp. Both run by Elewana, they offer a good rate when staying in both properties during one trip. I’d also mention Nomad Tanzania’s Lamai Serengeti which, based at Kogatende in the far north, is in low season in June and often sees the first river crossings.

My suggestion for the ‘Classic’ price bracketNomad Tanzania’s Serengeti Safari Camp is the stand out option for mobiles and a general contender for anyone travelling to the park in June! Adding on a couple of nights at Lamai Serengeti to try and see the river crossings is a superb option for value alone.

‘Luxury’ Serengeti camps (approximately $1000+ per person per night)

Mobile Camps - Again, due to the time of year and lack of high quality mobiles, the focus should be on permanent lodges – choosing mobile camps restricts the quality of a safari in June. The exception to the rule would be &beyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas however the permanent lodges at this luxury level are nothing short of superb.

Permanent Lodges - Many people believe the outstanding option in this top bracket is combining the Singita Reserve with their camp – Singita Mara – in the far north of the Serengeti at the Lamai Wedge. However I’ve always believed that Singita is too far north for this time of year, so as much as I believe that Singita’s Faru Faru should always be included, I would suggest swapping Singita Mara for either Lamai Serengeti or Elewana’s Migration Camp.

My suggestion for the ‘Classic’ price bracket - Lamai Serengeti followed by Singita Faru Faru would be my top choice for trips from the 15th June onward.

A final mention on the large hotels –The Serena and Sopa are the most popular large hotels at this time of year; their locations are good, albeit a little too far north for most of the month. Of the two I have always preferred the Serena. The Four Seasons however, located much further north is a super-luxurious large hotel just north of the central Serengeti. I shudder at its size and its commercial approach to safaris if I’m honest, but the property certainly caters towards clients looking for luxury and that re-assurance of a large hotel as opposed to an adventurous smaller property.

Are you thinking about going on 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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