If the world's a stage, then the plains and grasslands of east Africa put on the most magnificent of shows. Each year, nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and other animals move through Tanzania and Kenya, driven by seasonal rain and drought in what is known as the Great Migration. Safaris put you in the middle of the action, with accommodations, meals, transportation and game viewing included in the cost of the trip.
Though the timing of the annual migration varies from year to year, the general movement of animals begins in January with calving season on the plains of the southern Serengeti and in the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.
Over the next several months, herds move westward and northward through the Serengeti, sometimes in columns up to 25 miles long, in search of greener pastures. Territorial predators like lions, cheetahs and hyenas are plentiful as they take their pick of the slower calves passing through each area.
In July and August, the millions of animals make their way across the Mara River toward Kenya's lush Masai Mara. Herds scatter around the abundant grasslands of the Masai Mara until October or November, when the start of the short rainy season prompts them to begin their journey back to breeding grounds in the south. But the show isn't over; soon it will be time to begin again!
Note: This is a general description of the migration pattern. The exact timing of the Great Migration cannot be predicted, as it depends on each year's rainy season and other variable factors.