20 Best Places to Stay to See the Wildebeest Migration

The Great Migration is a natural phenomenon as old as the land itself. Every year, about 2 million animals follow the rains on a death-defying, 3 000-km (1 900-mi) odyssey.

It’s drama on a truly epic scale, and one of the main reasons why so many travellers go on a Wildebeest Migration safari year after year. Witnessing one of the famous river crossings is like watching a live National Geographic film. Colossal herds of grunting gnus plunge from the banks into the water and thunder across the river while dodging Jurassic-sized crocs. It really is one of Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles.

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Since nature sets the schedule, planning a successful Wildebeest Migration safari takes experience and extensive local knowledge. That’s where we come in. Since 1998, Go2Africa has tailor-made trips to the Serengeti and Masai Mara for thousands of travellers to witness the Great Migration.

To help you be in the right place at the right time, we’ve rounded up 20 of our best places to stay to see the Wildebeest Migration. But before we take a closer look at these luxury safari lodges and camps, it’s important to know that the best time to go on a Migration safari depends on what you want to see and experience…

When to See the Migration

When to See the Wildebeest Migration

The Great Migration takes a full year to complete a single cycle, which means that you can see the mega-herds throughout the year. But because the animals cover huge distances, certain highlights only happen in specific months:

Event Approximate Time Place
Calving (birthing) season January to March Southern Serengeti
Intense predator action January to March Southern Serengeti
Rutting (a period of sexual excitement, reproductive activity and mating battles between males) January to March Southern Serengeti
Grumeti River crossings May to July Western Serengeti
Mara River crossings July to September Northern Serengeti & Masai Mara
On the move October to December Masai Mara & Northern Serengeti

Note: the above are guidelines only. The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round journey and the popular river crossings cannot be predicted, although they generally occur between May and September. Sometimes the herds stay put for two weeks, other times they could cross four times in one day!

Best Places: Year-round

Best Places to Stay Year-round

1. Kichakani Serengeti Camp

Kichakani-Serengeti-Camp-

Kichakani, Swahili for ‘in the bush’, is a luxury mobile camp based in two set locations in the southern and northern Serengeti. The camp’s evocative style pays homage to the early explorers of safari’s heyday, while combining contemporary elements to give the camp an air of modern-vintage. The tents are comfortable and stylish, featuring wooden decks and en suite bathrooms. Thanks to Kichakani’s moveable nature, there’s little impact on the environment as it follows the Wildebeest Migration across the Serengeti.

Why we love it:

  • Based in two set locations to experience the Migration year-round
  • Elegant, contemporary take on a classic tented camp
  • Mess tents can open on the sides to reveal the breath-taking landscape
  • Morning and afternoon game drives with expert guides

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • Year-round

2. Serengeti Under Canvas

Serengeti-Under-Canvas

This mobile camp moves five times a year to follow the movements of the Wildebeest Migration. Serengeti Under Canvas keeps it intimate with only nine tents in private campsites that boast breath-taking wilderness settings. But don’t let the thought of the rugged outdoors fool you – you’ll be far from roughing it. This is the ultimate in luxury mobile camping, complete with a private butler service, chandeliers, silverware, cosy beds with downy duvets, and en suite flush toilets. Custom-made rugs and polished brass samovars will add a touch of elegance to your Serengeti Migration safari.

Why we love it:

  • Mobile (moveable) camp that gets you as close as possible to the wildebeest action
  • The ultimate luxury camping experience – private butler, silverware and elegant décor
  • Incredible game viewing on daily game drives
  • Complimentary use of Swarovski binoculars for the duration of your stay

Suited for:

  • Families – children of all ages are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • Year-round
Best Places: Jan–Mar

Best Places to Stay During Calving & Rutting Season: January to March

3. Sanctuary Kusini

Sanctuary-Kusini

Kusini has the advantage of not only being the sole permanent camp in the southern Serengeti, but also being in an area that supports a high density of wildlife throughout the year. That said, it’s between January and March that the region really comes into its own. It’s a valuable pit stop during the Great Migration’s calving season, when the roaming wildebeest and zebra give birth to around a quarter of a million babies. And, of course, where there is vulnerable and easy prey in abundance, opportunistic predators are not too far away. Needless to say, the game viewing at Kusini is absolutely thrilling.

Why we love it:

  • Tranquillity – the only permanent camp in the southern Serengeti
  • Spectacular views and stargazing from surrounding kopjes (rocky outcrops)
  • Located on the path of the Great Migration
  • Fantastic area to see lion, leopard and cheetah

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • January–March

4. Four Seasons Safari Lodge

4-seasons

Elegantly perched on a sequence of elevated platforms and walkways, Four Seasons Safari Lodge is as close to a 5-star bush hotel you can get. Choose from a variety of exceptionally well-appointed rooms, suites and villas that are packed with every creature comfort imaginable. Our favourite rooms are the ones with private balconies that look directly onto the animal watering hole next to the lodge – here, you can watch a herd of elephants enjoy their morning drinks as you sip on your own.

Why we love it:

  • Waterhole right next to the lodge, well-frequented by elephants
  • Full-service spa and fitness centre
  • Three restaurants and a variety of rooms to choose
  • Free-form infinity pool with incredible views

Suited for:

  • Families – kids of all ages are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • November–March

5. One Nature Nyaruswiga Camp

OneNatureNyaruswigaLuxuryCamp-Bathroom-StandardRoom

This ultra-luxe safari camp is perfectly situated in the heart of the Serengeti. Framed by scenic hills and boundless plains, this valley-like region’s lifeblood is the Seronera River. The upscale tented suites are jaw-droppingly beautiful and feature elegant brass furnishings, wood-burning fireplaces and African Eucalyptus wood pillars. You’ll certainly feel like royalty experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime Serengeti Migration safari at One Nature Nyaruswiga Camp.

Why we love it:

  • Elegant canvas tents featuring silver chandeliers, wood-burning stoves and freestanding copper bathtubs
  • Astral observation deck equipped with a high-powered telescope
  • Heated plunge pool and Jacuzzi
  • A picturesque setting in the heart of the Serengeti

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • November–March

6. Namiri Plains

namiri_plains_-_tent_exterior

This luxury tented camp is in the remote eastern Serengeti, an area that was closed to tourists for about 20 years to allow the cheetah population to recover. Today, it’s a sanctuary for these nimble cats and a fantastic place to see the world’s fastest land animal chase down its prey. The region is also one of the few areas in the eastern Serengeti with permanent underground water sources, which makes for superb game viewing. Namiri, a Swahili word meaning ‘big cat’, certainly lives up to its name with incredible sightings of lion, cheetah and leopard in the region.

Why we love it:

  • Wonderfully secluded – the nearest other camps are over an hour’s drive away
  • One of the best places in the Serengeti to see cheetah
  • Fantastic big cat (lion, leopard and cheetah) sightings on game drives
  • Walking safaris – exploring the Serengeti on foot

Suited for:

  • Couples

Best time to see the Migration:

  • November–March

7. Mwiba Lodge

Mwiba-Lodge-

This sophisticated hideaway overlooks a rocky gorge on the Arugusinyai River, located in a private game reserve contiguous with the southern Serengeti. The reserve is dedicated to conservation and maintaining the balance between wildlife and local communities. If you’re looking for a tranquil and uncrowded Serengeti Migration experience, look no further than Mwiba. The reserve is only available to a handful of guests.

Why we love it:

  • Beautiful setting among massive stone boulders and ancient trees
  • Infinity-edge pool overlooks three springs frequented by wildlife
  • Ultimate exclusivity – all bookings receive a private safari vehicle and guide
  • Cultural excursions to a local tribe’s village

Suited for:

  • Families – children of all ages are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • November–March
Best Places: May–Oct

Best Places to Stay to See the River Crossings: May to October

8. Singita Faru Faru Lodge

singita_faru_faru_lodge_-_fire_place

Singita is synonymous with magnificence and Faru Faru Lodge is yet another feather in the luxury brand’s cap. Set alongside the Grumeti River in their own private game reserve, Singita Faru Faru offers splendid views over the river and caters for every creature comfort. Air-conditioned suites with large panoramic windows allow you to take in the vistas without leaving the comfort of your bed, while Swarovski telescopes help you spot wildlife on the never-ending plains. Watercolours and pencils are thoughtfully provided, should you feel inspired to paint or sketch a once-in-a-lifetime memento.

Why we love it:

  • Built on a hill overlooking the Grumeti River – a key location for wildebeest crossings
  • Two swimming pools, a spa and fitness centre
  • Babysitting services and tailor-made activities to suit each family
  • Understated elegance, contemporary décor and design

Suited for:

  • Families – children of all ages are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • May–July

9. Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp

Grumeti-Serengeti-Tented-Camp

This camp is set on the banks of a tributary of the Grumeti River, the location of the Wildebeest Migration’s river crossings that occur between May and July. The safari-chic tents all boast private verandas with frontage to the river and its seasonal pools, which are loved by the boisterous bloats of hippos. The area is also known for its big lion prides – you’ll more than likely find yourself alone on a sighting in this exclusive part of the Serengeti.

Why we love it:

  • Resident hippo pods can be seen in seasonal pools in front of your tent
  • Feeling of exclusivity – few other lodges in the area
  • Encounter big lion prides and hyena clans on game drives
  • Hot-air balloon safaris for a bird’s-eye view of the mega-herds

Suited for:

  • Families – children of all ages are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • May–July

10. Sayari Camp

Sayari-Camp

This luxury camp is based in the northern Serengeti and boasts a prime location to witness the Wildebeest Migration’s rip-roaring crossings over the croc-infested Mara River. The views from the camp are exquisite, and there’s no better place to soak it in than from the rim-flow pool – you might even spot an elephant or two ambling by. Sayari’s spacious tented suites feature mahogany floors, walk-in showers, generous bathtubs, and verandas on which you can laze away the afternoon with a book from the camp’s plush library.

Why we love it:

  • Prime location to see the dramatic Mara River crossings
  • Very spacious tents and en suite bathrooms
  • Solar-powered micro-brewery – the first of its kind in the bush – producing unique beers and sparkling water
  • Specially modified photography vehicles

Suited for:

  • Families with kids older than 5 years
  • Photographers

Best time to see the Migration:

  • June–October

11. Kuria Hills Lodge

Kuria-Hills-Lodge

Harboured within the northern Serengeti’s remote Wogakuria Hills, this lodge defines safari elegance with its contemporary design. The region is incredibly scenic and its open woodland and tree-lined streams attract a variety of animals throughout the year. Kuria Hills Lodge is in close proximity to the Mara River, the Serengeti’s natural border with Kenya’s Masai Mara and centre stage for the Wildebeest Migration’s perilous river crossings.

Why we love it:

  • Gorgeous views from glass-fronted tented suites
  • Private plunge pools
  • Located close to the Mara River for Migration crossings
  • Tents are discreetly set among granite boulders to ensure privacy

Suited for:

  • Families – special programmes and activities for kids under 12

Best time to see the Migration:

  • June–October

12. Lamai Serengeti Camp

Lamai-Serengeti-Camp

When you sink into one of Lamai Serengeti Camp’s poolside loungers with a book in hand, you might find it hard to bury yourself in the pages. The views from this camp are simply jaw-dropping, and it’s likely that gazing over the Serengeti plains from your elevated position will be far more satisfying than reading. Set high up in the beautiful Kogakuria Kopjes, this elegant camp offers comfort and convenience while preserving an eco-friendly ethos.

Why we love it:

  • Elevated camp with incredible views over the Serengeti plains
  • Near wildebeest crossing points at the Mara River
  • Healthy concentrations of lion, leopard and buffalo to see all year round
  • Bush walks through small valleys, river lines and rocky outcrops

Suited for:

  • Families – kids over 8 years are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • June–October

13. Mara River Tented Camp

Mara-River-Tented-Camp

Another splendid property in the Singita stable, Mara River Tented Camp is the embodiment of sustainable tourism. Operating off the grid and relying entirely on a custom-built solar system for power, this camp removes the unnecessary use of energy and non-biodegradable materials. Furthermore, its location in the Serengeti’s Lamai Triangle not only delivers excellent game viewing throughout the year, it also puts you in the front seats for the Migration’s river crossings spectacle.

Why we love it:

  • Located on a dramatic bend in the Mara River, offering unrivalled viewing of the wildebeest river crossings
  • Special kids’ activities like learning how to track animals, astronomy, and bush survival techniques
  • Extensive cellar with rare and premium wines
  • Year-round concentrations of big cats and elephant in the area

Suited for:

  • Families – children aged 10 years and older are welcome

Best time to see the Migration:

  • June–October

14. Serengeti Bushtops

Serengeti-Bushtops

This luxury tented camp is the ideal base for a rewarding Serengeti Migration safari – a 5-star oasis to which you can return after watching thousands of wildebeest thunder across the Mara River. Soak away the dust in your private hot tub while watching the setting sun paint the African sky hues of amber, an experience complemented by Bushtops’ glorious cuisine, superb wines and attentive service. Crown your day in the wilderness with stargazing and a tipple of your choice beside a crackling campfire while listening to the guides’ tales of derring-do.

Why we love it:

  • One of very few permanent camps in northern Serengeti
  • Prime location near the Mara River
  • Spacious tents with large private decks
  • Full-day safari excursions with guides, trackers, and bush lunches

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • June–October

15. Sanctuary Olonana

Sanctuary-Olonana1

This gorgeous safari lodge combines contemporary architecture with time-tested Maasai building practices like mudding and stone walls. Not only does it add warmth and character to the property, but it also makes Sanctuary Olonana one of Africa's leading eco-lodges. The suites are simply out of this world: incredibly spacious and beautifully decorated with just the right colours, hand-crafted Maasai spears, patterned prints and Edison-bulb pendant lights. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open out from the lounge to the terrace with superb river frontage and front-row seats for the daily hippo soap opera. And then there’s the food…

Why we love it:

  • Outstanding lodge set on a private stretch of the Mara River
  • Exceptional suites with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fold open to reveal the river
  • Marble- and slate-accented bathrooms featuring spacious tubs and rainfall showers
  • Cultural visits to local Maasai village

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

16. Angama Mara

Angama-Mara

Location, location, location. With possibly one of the best positions in Kenya, this remarkable owner-run safari lodge sits high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and enjoys sweeping views of the Masai Mara’s champagne-coloured plains. Step into the shoes of Robert Redford and Meryl Streep as you savour an old-world picnic for two on the rocky crest of the famous Out of Africa kopje. Maasai blankets, comfy cushions, sparkling wine and delicious snacks will add a fabulous twist to your Masai Mara Migration safari – and of course, that view.

Why we love it:

  • Perched on the edge of the Oloololo Escarpment, high above the Masai Mara
  • Private road directly into the reserve – only a 10-minute drive
  • Exquisite meals prepared with fresh produce from the shamba (kitchen garden)
  • Romantic picnics in the exact spot featured on the Out of Africa movie poster

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

17. Rekero Camp

Rekero-Camp

Rekero Camp is perfectly positioned next to a main crossing point used by the wildebeest to ford the Talek River every year. Witnessing this perilous quest from the comfort of your riverside tent brings a whole new meaning to an ‘armchair safari’. But the game drives at Rekero are just as rewarding. The area is famous for its high concentration of lions – including the resident Rekero pride – plus you’ll see cheetahs, leopards and elephants on your daily drives.

Why we love it:

  • Prime position – watch wildebeest cross the Talek River without leaving camp
  • Excellent lion, cheetah and elephant sightings on game drives
  • Afternoon naps in the daybed on your tent’s private veranda
  • Specially modified photography vehicles

Suited for:

  • Couples
  • Photographers

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

18. Mahali Mzuri

Mahali-Mzuri-

Part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition, Mahali Mzuri is a luxury tented camp set in a private conservancy neighbouring the Masai Mara National Reserve. Working with the local Maasai tribes, Mahali Mzuri is not only designed to leave a minimal environmental footprint, but also strategically placed to offer superb game viewing and showcase the conservancy’s alluring scenery. A wonderful home away from home during your Masai Mara Migration safari.

Why we love it:

  • Situated in a private conservancy, away from the crowds
  • Contemporary and stylish tents with spectacular views
  • Off-road game viewing – not permitted in the national reserve
  • Full range of treatments available at the spa

Suited for:

  • Group bookings – you can have the entire camp to yourself to celebrate special events like anniversaries, birthdays or even weddings

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

19. Il Moran Camp

Il-Moran-Camp

An exquisite property in the tried-and-tested Governors’ Camp Collection, Il Moran offers a top-of-the-range safari experience. The camp is hidden away on the forested banks of the Mara River, which makes it a wonderfully tranquil retreat from the Wildebeest Migration’s action. With only 10 guest tents, Il Moran is intimate and peaceful – a fantastic option for couples or honeymooners looking for that extra bit of exclusivity.

Why we love it:

  • Intimate camp (only 10 tents) nestled in a riverine forest
  • Dining deck raised above the Mara River – enjoy the antics of hippos below
  • Located close to a launch site for hot-air balloon safaris
  • Specially designed photography safari vehicles

Suited for:

  • Couples and honeymooners
  • Photographers

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

20. Naboisho Camp

Naboisho-Camp

One of only eight boutique camps in a private conservancy, Naboisho offers guests a serene safari experience away from the Masai Mara National Reserve’s tourist crowds. Although it’s conveniently close to the reserve to witness the Wildebeest Migration’s spectacle, Naboisho also delivers incredible game viewing right on its doorstep. You’ll see cheetah, elephant, lion and giraffe aplenty, and enjoy special activities like off-road game drives, night drives, bush walks and fly-camping – activities not permitted in the national reserve.

Why we love it:

  • Situated in a private conservancy, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of lion
  • Fantastic cheetah sightings during game drives
  • Specially modified photography vehicles
  • Walking safaris with fly-camping excursions in a remote part of the conservancy

Suited for:

  • Families with kids over the age of 5
  • Photographers

Best time to see the Migration:

  • July–November

Ready to Start Planning Your Migration Safari?

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