Unmissable Safari Hotspots: Where to guarantee spectacular wildlife sightings on your next adventure

When you envision a safari in Africa, images of lions, crocodiles, and dramatic predator-prey encounters likely spring

When you envision a safari in Africa, images of lions, crocodiles, and dramatic predator-prey encounters likely spring to mind. Yet, pinpointing the best locations to witness these natural spectacles – including the Great Wildebeest Migration – can be challenging. However, understanding the natural movements of animal herds, particularly during river crossings, can greatly enhance your chances of witnessing these incredible wildlife moments.

Thanks to Discover Africa’s HerdTracker, a tool designed to predict the movements of herds and identify common river crossing points, planning your safari has never been easier. HerdTracker’s innovative technology ensures that you’re in the right place at the right time, optimising your opportunity to see nature in its most raw, thrilling, and unfiltered form.

Here are Discover Africa’s top five recommended locations where you can experience unforgettable wildlife river crossings – without any of the guesswork.

Discover Africa Safaris
Discover Africa Safari is a leading safari travel planning company based in Cape Town, South Africa. Founded in 2002, Discover Africa specialises in providing bespoke safari and travel experiences across Africa. With a passion for the continent and a commitment to sustainable tourism, Discover Africa aims to deliver unforgettable journeys while preserving Africa’s unique wildlife and cultures.


1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania 

Mahali Mzuri

The Serengeti is renowned for its central role in the Great Migration, an annual phenomenon that sees millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores trek across the plains in search of new pastures. River crossings here, particularly at the Mara River, are nothing short of spectacular.

The HerdTracker platform encourages guides, travellers, and others to share their sightings throughout the duration of the Great Migration. As a result, you can watch video footage of thousands of animals plunging into the Mara River, facing deadly obstacles like Nile crocodiles and strong currents.

Best time to visit: July to September

Nearby lodge to stay at: Mahali Mzuri

2. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya 

Adjacent to the Serengeti, Kenya’s Maasai Mara is another hotspot for the Great Migration. The Mara River crossings here are world-famous and often get featured in wildlife documentaries.

Mara bushtops

The dense concentration of wildlife in the Maasai Mara means more frequent and accessible river crossings, making it a prime location for safari enthusiasts.

Best time to visit: July to October

Nearby lodge to stay at: Mara Bushtops

Watch this live link to a lodge on the Maasai Mara reserve.


3. Grumeti River, Tanzania 

Grumeti Lodge

Located in the western corridor of the Serengeti, the Grumeti River offers a different yet equally thrilling river crossing experience. The mighty Nile crocodiles that lie in wait for the migrating herds add an extra layer of excitement and danger to the crossings. For the crocodiles, it’s an annual feast at the wildebeests’ expense.

Best time to visit: May to July

Nearby lodge to stay at: Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge

4. Chobe National Park, Botswana 

Chobe Lodge

While less renowned than the Serengeti or Maasai Mara, Chobe National Park offers its own unique river crossing spectacle. Elephants frequently cross the Chobe River, sometimes numbering in the hundreds. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 50,000 them call this park their home – but they face the threat of some of the only lions in Africa that actively hunt elephants.

Best time to visit: April to October

Nearby lodge to stay at: Chobe Safari Lodge


5. Luangwa River, Zambia 

South Luangwa National Park is known for its vibrant wildlife and dramatic river crossings. The Luangwa River is particularly famous for its hippo and crocodile populations, making the crossings here especially dynamic and action-packed.

Luangwa River Camp

Best time to visit: June to October

Nearby lodge to stay at: Luangwa River Camp



Tips for an unforgettable river crossing experience: 

  • Timing is everything: Use Discover Africa’s HerdTracker to stay informed about the best times to witness river crossings. The HerdTracker tool uses over 10 years of accumulated data from animal movements, advice from local guides, and even insights from climate data. As a result, it can predict the movements of the herds up to 12 months in advance.


  • Be patient: River crossings can be unpredictable and challenging, demanding a great deal of patience and persistence. However, for those who are willing to wait, the rewards can be extraordinary. Witnessing wildlife navigate these crossings, whether it’s a herd of elephants, a pride of lions, or a spectacular migration of wildebeests, can be an unforgettable experience that’s worth the wait.


  • Get geared up: Binoculars and a good DSLR camera with a zoom lens are essential if you want to capture the action. After all, you might want to preserve these stunning scenes as a memento.


  • Follow the experts: Experienced guides and trackers can enhance your chances of witnessing a river crossing. Their knowledge and expertise help them take you to the right spots at the right times. By relying on their guidance, you can increase your opportunities to see these remarkable events and make the most of your trip. HerdTracker relies on these professionals for data, and you should too.


Whether you’re an avid wildlife photographer or a first-time safari-goer, witnessing a river crossing is a highlight of any African safari. Thanks to Discover Africa’s Herd Tracker tool, you can strategically plan your trip to catch these sightings and tick them off your bucket list. From the bustling Mara River in Kenya to the serene Chobe River in Botswana, these locations promise memorable encounters with nature at its most raw and powerful. Let HerdTracker guide you to the adventure of a lifetime and give you a front-row seat to nature’s drama.