Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Wildebeest are a large antelope uniquely found in Africa, from Kenya to Namibia. Their name is derived from the Afrikaans word for “wild beast.” It is interchangeable with gnu (pronounced “new”), a Khoisan word that is characteristically onomatopoetic in its similarity to the sound the animals make when casually grazing together. There are two species: the blue wildebeest, which gets its name from the quicksilver sheen of its hide, and the black wildebeest, which was brought to near extinction until their reintroduction into a small selection of nature reserves in South Africa, Eswatini, and Lesotho.

Wildebeest will be seen in most safari areas, but the concentrated migration known as the Great Migration is special to the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Tanzania and Kenya.

Due to the prolific number of wildebeest in the great migrating herds of the Serengeti and Masai Mara, many people are intent on seeing the community of wildebeest rather than individuals. From the vast grasslands of the Serengeti, it is possible to observe these gnus in the thousands from horizon to horizon.

Wildebeest Itineraries

Intrepid Zimbabwe Explorer: Victoria Falls, Hwange and Canoeing Mana Pools (Origins Collection)

Step back in time to the era of exploration with our Intrepid Zimbabwe Explorers itinerary, customized for remote adventure in some of the most pristine wilderness on Earth.

Big Five of Southern Africa

Southern Africa is an incredibly diverse region with varying weather, landscapes, cultures, and wildlife. This itinerary covers three major highlights of Southern Africa: The Greater Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta.

Essential Diversity: River and Desert

This safari is designed for the safari connoisseur seeking rarity, exclusivity and luxury along with the full diversity of wildlife. The itinerary includes private guiding and vehicle at both safari camps, offering the ultimate in flexibility and maximizing the opportunities to see wildlife you want to see, while maintaining supreme comfort and luxury.

Wonders of the Crater and Trek to Lake Natron with optional Serengeti Biologist Finale (Origins Collection)

Our Tanzania Trekking and Wonders of the Ngorongoro adventure is the very epitome of getting off the beaten track. This adventure takes you on foot through the volcanic landscapes of northern Tanzania, traveling through areas that are impossible to reach by road.

Essential Tanzania: Best of Wildlife and Ancient Culture (Origins Collection)

Our Essential Tanzania Adventure brings you the best when it comes to safari - outstanding wildlife viewing in the Serengeti; the awe of exploring a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ngorongoro Crater; an authentic deep-dive into local culture and ancient history with visits to a Maasai village and the Olduvai Gorge; and top-notch guiding with your elite, naturalist guide from The Wild Source.

Botswana Elephant Safari

This elephant-focused safari takes you to some of the best locations in all of Africa for seeing and interacting with elephants.

Best of Botswana: From the Kalahari Desert to the Okavango Delta (Origins Collection)

Return to the origins of humanity as you head deep into the heart of Botswana and the world-famous Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert. These are two of the most iconic safari destinations in all of Africa, and you'll experience the best of Botswana in just one week with this adventurous journey.

Big Cats & The Great Migration (River Crossing Season) – Group Trip 2022 – FULL

This is the opportunity of a lifetime to go on safari with The Wild Source’s unbeatable team of big cat biologist-guide, Sosy Maira, and highly talented guide and photography expert Joshua Kumbi.

South African Splendor: Cape Town and Sabi Sands Safari

Southern Africa is an incredibly diverse region with varying weather, landscapes, cultures, and wildlife.

Classic Zimbabwe: Hwange and Mana Pools with Victoria Falls

This adventure-level safari features classic bush camps, thrilling walking safaris, and an excellent value.

Zambia Walking and Waterways Safari

Zambian safaris are distinguished by the vintage expedition-style adventure delivered under the care of exceptional guides in remote wilderness areas teeming with wildlife.

Quintessential Tanzania: River Crossing Season

With the Great Migration of nearly 2 million animals in the area, the Northern Serengeti is the stage for one of nature's most famed events - the dramatic migration crossings of the Mara River.

Botswana Desert and Delta Safari: Outstanding Value, Top Wildlife and Diverse Landscapes

This safari is customized to take advantage of the best opportunities for the green season in Botswana to observe diverse wildlife.

Kenya Luxury For Less

This safari includes some of our favorite unique Kenyan accommodations and a huge variety of activities, all for an incredible discount- over 40% off of the high season rate.

Wildebeest Calving and Cheetah Conservation Safari

True to our biologist background, on this safari you will have an active role in cheetah conservation as you help record data with an interactive tablet app and share your findings with local wildlife biologists.

Ultimate East Africa: Exceptional Guiding in Northern Tanzania and the Masai Mara

This incredible itinerary features East Africa's top guides on a private safari through Tanzania and Kenya.

Kenya Family “Lion King” Safari

Kenya is the original safari country and still delivers the classic game viewing experience. This family safari is inspired by Disney's 2019 remake of its classic animated film, "The Lion King."

Wild Kenya: Big Cats and Biodiversity in the Mara

Kenya is the original safari country and still delivers the classic game viewing experience. Featuring the Masai Mara Reserve, which is quite likely the most productive wildlife viewing area in all of Africa, this is a superb location for serious game viewing and photography.

Wildebeest Videos

Best Places to See Wildebeest on Safari

The Great Migration wildebeest herds in Ndutu, Tanzania
The Great Migration herds in the southern Serengeti.
The Great Migration of over 2 million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle occurs cyclically between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The migration is ever-continuing, and it is important to plan your visit to place yourself in a good location for the time of your travel to increase your chances of encountering the herds. The migration can be seen at any time of year, but there are two climax points that many people aim for: Calving Season and River Crossing Season.

During the calving season, typically from January to March, herds congregate in their largest numbers on the short grass plains of Ndutu in Tanzania. This is the best time to see tens of thousands of animals milling around together, as well as the irruption of new life with roughly 400,000 calves born in just three weeks. This in turn leads to tremendous predator viewing.

The other dramatic highlight is the most filmed spectacle in Africa, the migration crossings of the Mara River. Huge crocodiles lie in wait as the herds leap into the water and attempt to swim to the other side. Crossings tend to occur between July and October and can be seen almost daily, although they can require a great level of patience from the viewer as it can sometimes take hours for the herds to muster up the courage to cross.

Other Areas of Note

Zambia

Liuwa Plains National Park of Zambia is one of the safari world’s hidden gems. Liuwa has the second largest migration of wildebeest with 30,000 moving seasonally in and out of the park in big numbers, creating twice-a-year peak opportunities to visit.

Other

The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania also has large numbers of wildebeest, as does Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Most major parks and safari areas will have wildebeest; however, large concentrations are not found outside of the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem and Liuwa Plains.

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