Africa is renowned for its incredible wildlife and natural wonders, and among its many marvels are the spectacular animal migrations. While you have most likely heard of the Great Wildebeest Migration, there are other migrations that are equally as captivating and awe-inspiring.
1. The Great Wildebeest Migration, Tanzania & Kenya
Undoubtedly the most well-known animal migration in Africa, the Great Wildebeest Migration unfolds across the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Approximately 2 million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles, traverse the vast plains in search of fresh grazing lands. This circular migration follows the rhythm of the seasons, driven by rainfall and the pursuit of greener pastures.
One of the most extraordinary highlights of this phenomenon is witnessing the legendary river crossings, where the resilient animals navigate treacherous waters.
Fun animal fact:Wildebeest have an excellent sense of smell and can detect rainstorms from a distance of over 30 miles, which helps them anticipate the arrival of fresh grazing opportunities.
2. The Zebra Migration, Botswana
Botswana’s zebra migration is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. Each year, in perfect harmony with the arrival of the rainy season, thousands of zebras embark on a magnificent journey across the Chobe River, as well as the Savuti and Linyanti regions, in their tireless quest for water and abundant grazing grounds.
Witnessing the zebra migration is nothing short of a captivating experience, as the landscape of Botswana is filled with a mesmerising tapestry of black and white stripes.
Embark on an unforgettable adventure with our bespoke Zebra Migration Safari itinerary which can be tailored to cater to your unique preferences and requirements.
Fun animal fact:Zebras have excellent colour vision, allowing them to differentiate between various shades of green, which helps them locate the best grazing areas.
3. The Flamingo Migration, Kenya
Every year, millions of vibrant pink flamingos embark on a remarkable journey, transforming Kenya's lakes into a sea of pink! Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria are the main destinations where these elegant birds gather in massive flocks.
The flamingo migration typically happens during the dry season, from June to early March, when the lakes' alkaline waters are filled with plenty of food such as algae and small invertebrates. The synchronised flight of the flamingos, as they form a beautiful 'V' shape in the sky, showcases their harmonious coexistence.
Fun animal fact: Flamingos have been observed flying at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet during their migrations, taking advantage of high-altitude winds to cover vast distances.
4. The Sardine Run, South Africa
Named one of the 'Seven Wonders of the World for 2023' by Conde Nast Traveller, this annual natural phenomenon between May - July is one of nature's best shows. It’s also the largest biomass migration on the planet!
Millions of sardines migrate along the east coast of South Africa attracting a wide variety of marine life including dolphins, sharks, and whales. The sheer abundance and coordinated movements of these marine creatures will leave you in awe of the power and beauty of nature!
The best way to witness the Sardine Run is on a boat, or even better if you are brave enough to scuba dive the water with an experienced guide.
Fun animal fact:Sardines produce a large number of eggs which is advantageous during the Sardine Run as it contributes to the survival of the species.
5. The Kasanka Bat Migration, Zambia
Known as the largest mammal migration in the world, the Kasanka bat migration occurs every year from October until December. This natural phenomenon witnesses the arrival of no less than 8 million straw-colored fruit bats from the Congo to feed on the bountiful Masuku fruits within Zambia's Kasanka National Park.
As dusk approaches, the bats emerge from their roosting sites in an incredible spectacle, forming massive black clouds that fill the sky.
Fun animal fact:The straw-coloured fur of the fruit bats helps them blend into their African savannah and forested habitat, making it easier for them to hide from predators and remain inconspicuous during daytime roosting.