The name itself, the Great Migration, implies animals are on the move. That means you have two options for viewing the action: Stay put or track them. It's a lot like watching your friend run a marathon. You either wait for them at mile 18 or follow them along the route, high-fiving them every chance you get.
In Africa, it's less about standing on a corner, and more about setting up camp, literally, at either a permanent or mobile property. As you've probably guessed, permanent camps remain in a fixed location year-round, while mobile ones move two to three times per year based on the migration pattern. Find out where you need to be when during the migration season here, then learn more about these two camping styles to help you decide which is best for your personal viewing pleasure.
The biggest advantage of permanent camps is their accommodations. Many have a small number of spacious, elegant tents, usually under 10, which keeps the atmosphere personal and cozy. Most come with flush toilets, Wifi, and groomed or wooden walkways, which is especially useful when it rains (keeps sloshing in mud to a minimum). While you'll likely still be taking bucket showers, you may have the option of air conditioning at one or two of these properties.
Photo courtesy of Lamai Serengeti.
The main downside is that you might not be in the heart of the action if the camp of your choice doesn't match the migration route, which can be unpredictable from year to year. On the flip side, most permanent camps are strategically set up in scenic locations where there is plenty of year-round wildlife nearby. Read our viewing tips here!
Since the migration depends so much on environmental factors, it never follows the same exact route twice. Mobile camps evaluate where they should set up season-by-season, moving from south to either west or north, usually in July, to help ensure you're in the thick of the migration. If you want an up close view of the long march, and you’re fine with slightly more basic accommodations, a mobile camp could be the right choice for you.
Photo courtesy of Legendary Expeditions.
The word “mobile” suggests that these camps pick up and move regularly, but they actually only move a few times per year, so you won’t have to worry about lugging all your belongings for a surprise location change. Since they’re not constantly on the go, some mobile camps are able to invest in more luxe amenities, like toilets that flush and lavish beds. However, others might not have a working toilet or electricity.