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

Big Five of Southern Africa

From $7,995 per person 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.

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Essential Diversity: River and Desert

From $14,750 per person 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.

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

From $3,595 per person 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.

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Botswana Elephant Safari

From $8,125 per person This elephant-focused safari takes you to some of the best locations in all of Africa for seeing and interacting with elephants.

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Zambia Walking and Waterways Safari

From $8,395 per person Zambian safaris are distinguished by the vintage expedition-style adventure delivered under the care of exceptional guides in remote wilderness areas teeming with wildlife.

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Kenya Luxury For Less

From $9,995 per person 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.

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Kenya Family “Lion King” Safari

From $9,950 per person 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."

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Wild Kenya: Big Cats and Biodiversity in the Mara

From $3,995 per person 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.

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Ultimate Predators of Botswana

From $7,650 per person This safari includes our favorite private concession areas which have proven to provide exceptional opportunities to view Botswana's iconic predator species including lion, leopard, cheetah, and wild dog.

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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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