Animal migrations in Africa. We defy you not to think of the Great Migration in the Serengeti – and we’ve got a handy Serengeti planning guide here, and a guide to the best camps to see the migration here – but did you know there are numerous other migrations across the continent? From the watery to the downright ‘batty’, we’ve done our research and come up with the top five animal migrations in Africa. Enjoy!
Liuwa Plain Wildebeest Migration
Liuwa Plain, Zambia
They might be wildebeest, but this isn’t the Serengeti. Instead, we’re on the golden grasslands of Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia’s far western corner, home of the continent’s ‘other’ (and second largest) wildebeest migration. Here, the 40,000 ungulates move north to greener pastures in July, before heading back down south as the rains build in late October. The numbers might not be as spectacular as the Serengeti, but the setting is remote and wild and the experience is superbly intimate, making it one of our favourite animal migrations in Africa.
Stay at Time + Tide King Lewanika from October to February for your chance to witness the Liuwa Plain blue wildebeest migration on the safari of a lifetime.
The Southern Right Whale Migration
Hermanus, South Africa
Between June and November, cast your eyes over the crashing waters of South Africa’s southern coastline for you might just spot another of Africa’s animal migrations, this time of the watery kind. Every year, hundreds of Southern Right whales migrate to the ocean around the Western Cape and Hermanus to calve and nurse their young. Often only metres from the shore, the area offers some of the best whale watching in the world, either from a specially-adapted boat or from the rocky shoreline. If you miss them in Hermanus, hire a car and drive up the Garden Route – the 900-kilometre Whale Route extends all the way from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay and chances of seeing the magnificent mammals are high.
Kasanka Bat Migration
Kasanka National Park, Zambia
We love uncovering a good wildlife secret, and the Kasanka bat migration in Zambia was no exception. The Serengeti’s movement of wildebeest may be the most well-known animal migration in Africa, but the bat migration takes the title of the largest, with over 10 million fruit bats flocking to the Kasanka National Park. The tiny, straw-coloured mammals are attracted by the fragrant fruits of the forest, ripened by the onset of the rains. At dusk, the skies darken as the bats take flight in a mesmerising show of fluttering wings and loud chatter to munch on the seeds. The best vantage points are the treehouse platforms and hides dotted around the area but you’ll have to be quick – the bats begin arriving at the end of October and are almost entirely gone by December.
Get in touch with us to find out more about trips to Kasanka for the bat migration – and in the meantime, start designing the rest of your Zambia safari here.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
The most famous of all the animal migrations in Africa and quite possibly nature’s greatest show on earth, the annual Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara is hard to beat. A spectacular show of life and death, from the beginnings of new life on the glossy-green plains of the Southern Serengeti in January, to the frantic thrashing and splashing of the Mara River crossings in July and August, there’s always something to see. And there’s always a good time to visit too for the beasties are constantly on the move, forever searching for fresh grass on their migration routes as old as time.
In December and January, the summer rain turns Botswana’s arid, lunar-like Makgadikgadi Pans into a vibrant wonderland of green grass and fresh nutrients. And where there’s green grass, there’s often a bevy of ungulates and this time, it’s the turn of the zebra. It’s thought that around 40,000 of the mammals migrate in a virtually straight line from Namibia across Botswana’s Makgadikgadi and the Kalahari Desert, culminating in an explosion of black and white stripes at the Boteti River in April. If that wasn’t exciting enough, predators lurk in abundance taking the opportunity to feast on the easy prey. Now, how’s that for an animal migration in Africa?