The Great Wildebeest Migration: 3 Tips to Know Before You Go

No matter what time of year you travel to witness Africa's Great Migration, the key to making the most of your trip is being prepared. Heed this advice to ensure that you’re primed for the adventure of your life.

1. Bring the right viewing tools.

It’s important to keep a safe distance from the animals to avoid altering their behavior for both their safety and yours. If you want up-close-and-personal-views, you’ll need to have the right tools: Binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto camera lenses are all great options for taking in the details and getting that in-your-face feel without being anywhere near their well-horned faces.

RELATED: The Best Time and Places to See the Great Migration

Get a unique perspective of the migration from a hot air balloon. ©andBeyond.
Get a unique perspective of the migration from a hot air balloon. ©andBeyond

2. Read up on the local people.

Depending on where you travel to see the great migration, you may interact with local communities, such as the Masai Mara in Kenya. Knowing a little bit about them beforehand can help you connect with them respectfully. After all, you’ll be on their turf!

For example, the Masai Mara are traditionally a nomadic people, who live by herding cattle and goats, and are often known for the bright red robes they wear. Until recently, the main way for young Maasai to earn their status as warriors was to kill a lion, but since lions are now endangered, they have largely stopped this practice. In the 20th century, the Maasai were widely affected by colonization and forced to leave much of their land as it was the most fertile in the area. These days, they are one of the few ethnic groups that has mainly stuck to its original ways, continuing to live a pastoral way of life.

The Masai Mara people hold onto many of their traditions started by their ancestors still to this day. ©Olonana Camp.
The Masai Mara people hold onto many of their traditions started by their ancestors still to this day. ©Olonana Camp.

3. Pick the right safari camp for you.

When experiencing the migration, you can choose to stay in camps that stay put all year round, or ones that move along with the migration. Discover the difference between mobile and permanent camps, then find the best option for you, whether you're searching for a camp that's chasing the action or a place where the Great Migration comes directly to you. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Either way, it will be an experience you’ll never forget.

Camp selection plays a big role in your migration viewing experience. ©Serengeti Safari Camp.
Camp selection plays a big role in your migration viewing experience. ©Serengeti Safari Camp.

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Jamie Mehrotra