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Wildebeest migration - Grumeti River Serengeti

The crocodile infested Grumeti River is one of the first obstacles facing the wildebeests on their migration from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara during the Great Migration. Often overshadowed by her bigger sister, the Mara River, the Grumeti is no less impressive once the wildebeest arrive.                                                                                           

The Grumeti River spans the western corridor of the Serengeti National Park, flowing westwards into Lake Victoria. 

The western corridor stretches 50 km and comprises vast savannah grasslands, riverine forest, rolling hills and shady acacia groves. 

This area of the Serengeti is seldom visited due to its remoteness. However, those that do venture this far are rewarded with a great variety of year-round wildlife, including giraffe, hippo, cheetah, elephant, large Nile Crocodiles and good leopard and lion populations. 

Grumeti’s remote location means that you will not be distracted by a trail of safari vehicles. Around 30 safari vehicles gather on the banks of the Mara River during The Great Migration, but Grummet’s banks will be occupied by half as many vehicle

Although increasingly unpredictable, the marching column of wildebeest, zebra and antelope, usually spend two weeks between May and June crossing the Grumeti River. 

The neighboring Grumeti Reserve is one of the few places in the Serengeti where you can spend a few hours on foot exploring the African wilderness. 

Alternatively, glide across the early morning sky in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the river and plains. 

There are only a few accommodation choices in the western corridor year-round, but in peak season mobile camps are set up that follow the migration. 

The Grumeti River is a great choice for those who want to avoid travelling in the peak season from mid-June to September, when the parks are busier and travel more expensive. 

The Grumeti River crossings usually occur within a 1 or 2-week window in May and June, but predicting the precise time is impossible, as the migration follows the rains. 

River crossings on the Grumeti usually occur as the long rainy season transitions into the dry. So intermittent rainfall is likely, which could affect roads and planned excursions. The grass is also typically longer and greener, making wildlife more difficult to spot. 

The Grumeti River is located in the remote western corridor of the Serengeti, which easily adds an extra 3-4 hours to your journey if driving – an important consideration if you are crunched for time. Alternatively, daily flights to Grumeti Airstrip are possible but can be expensive.