The Crossing – A Great Migration Marvel


The mighty Mara River is the most treacherous obstacle for migrating mammal herds of the Serengeti; and Esirai, our mobile migration camp, provides a front-row seat for this spectacle of nature.  


Millions Of Animals Show Up for This Migratory Event

Image Credit: Dori Caspi


The cyclical Great Migration is truly a sight to behold. The figures fluctuate but in most years the herd numbers over 1.5 million. Most of the animals are wildebeest, but there are also around 300,000 Zebras joining in on the journey.


Taking Time to Build Courage to Cross

Image Credit: Dori Caspi

The crossings over the Mara River typically occur between July and October when the wildebeest have migrated to the northern reaches of the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing.

The Mara River is a significant obstacle they must traverse on their journey, and while awe-inspiring, it requires a great deal of patience to witness.

The wildebeest may take hours or even days to work up the courage to enter the waters of the Mara, and the herds can shuffle indecisively near the river banks and wait for one of their numbers to take the first step – only to turn back and try again at another time.

An Unstoppable Wave of Perseverance

Image Credit: Dori Caspi

Being the first wildebeest to cross is a seriously daunting task. They must be vigilant for predators, including crocodiles in the water, and must also navigate the muddy riverbed, avoiding getting stuck and scrambling up steep banks.

Sometimes, the crossing fails, and the herd must begin the process again. Finally, one brave (or foolish) wildebeest takes the plunge, and a surge of movement follows as the rest of the herd follows in an unstoppable wave. It is a must-see natural event.

Dangers Abound Between River and Fresh Grazing

Image Credit: Dori Caspi

The wildebeest are driven by their instincts to follow the rain and the promise of greener pastures, even if it means putting themselves in great danger.


Unfortunately, the sheer number of animals crossing the river creates chaos; many drown and float in the current, some are taken by crocodiles lying in wait, and others fall prey to lions and other big predators lurking on the other side of the river, waiting to pick off the vulnerable, wet and exhausted animals.


It may seem brutal but the crossings are nature’s way of providing a vital food source for predators and scavengers, helping to sustain their populations too during the dry season.


Our Esirai Migration Camp

Esirai, Entara’s mobile migration camp, which we pack up and move with the seasons, is carefully designed to balance intimate, easy comfort with a light environmental footprint.

It enables our guests to stay in unique and secluded areas while following the Great Migration from the south of the Serengeti all the way north to the Mara River Valley.

So, if you want to witness the river crossing up north, or are looking to safari in the Serengeti over a quieter period during the southern calving and rutting seasons, we are perfectly positioned to accommodate you on your Great Migration safari adventure.

Time Your Safari to Meet Your Needs

We believe that all seasons have perfect reasons to safari with Entara, but here’s a Top Tip: September is a quieter travel period and offers the best chance to witness the Great Migration without too many other people around!


Book Direct

Online Booking


Traveller Enquiry