This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu
Wildebeest
Asset 12

Wildebeest

Wildebeest in Africa

Wildebeest are a group of antelope, although its superficially bovine appearance sometimes sees them mistaken for buffalo. Known for their spectacular migrations, this these resilient beasts are one of Africa’s most successful herbivores.


About image

Quick facts about Wildebeest

Scientific name: Connochaetes sp. Habitat: Open savannah & grasslands
IUCN status: Least concern Adult weight: 250–290kg

The lugubrious-looking blue wildebeest is the better known of two wildebeest species, the other being South Africa’s rare black wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou).

A large, robust antelope of the hartebeest (Alcelaphinae) tribe, it is identified by its dark grey/brown colouration and front-heavy profile, embellished with handlebar horns, black beard and luxuriant tail. Wildebeest use their broad muzzles to crop short grass and often feed alongside zebra and other grazers.

Family groups and bachelor herds may coalesce in gatherings many thousands strong when migrating in search of fresh grazing. All females give birth at the start of the rainy season – the explosion of youngsters overwhelming the many predators, such as lion and hyena, lying in wait.


64km/h

Max. running speed

2.5 mya

When wildebeest evolved

33%

Proportion of day spent grazing (Serengeti rainy season)

5

Regional subspecies

Africa's top camps for seeing wildebeest

Based on 1069 reports by our travellers since Mar 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting wildebeest. Simply follow the key below.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for wildebeest

% of travellers who saw wildebeest

Top 10 camps for wildebeest

% of travellers who saw wildebeest

Where to see wildebeest in Africa

Wildebeest inhabit short-grass plains and bushy savannah in eastern and southern Africa. You’ll find them in numerous reserves, from Kenya to South Africa, but the greatest spectacle is their annual migration across the Serengeti.


Top tips for viewing wildebeest

The Serengeti’s celebrated ‘Great Migration’ involves an annual clockwise cycle of up to 1.5 million blue wildebeest, alongside zebra and various antelope, following seasonal rainfall towards optimum conditions for feeding and calving. To catch this spectacle, and perhaps witness the drama of a river crossing, take advice when planning your safari.

Large herds also roam Zambia’s Liuwa Plain and Tanzania’s Tarangire, although the huge migrations across Botswana’s Kalahari are no more, courtesy of veterinary cordon fences. Most other savanna reserves support smaller but healthy populations, provided permanent water is available. Check out Zambia’s Luangwa Valley for the shy Cookson’s wildebeest, a local subspecies. Watch rival male wildebeest contest a territorial skirmish and you’ll soon see these animals as more than just predator bait.

image

Holiday ideas to see wildebeest

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good wildebeest sightings


Itinerary image

Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look at Namibia from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,990 - US$6,340 per person

Itinerary image

Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,630 - US$3,730 per person

Itinerary image

The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,590 - US$15,200 per person

Itinerary image

Hartebeest Self-drive Safari

16 days • 8 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

This self-drive safari focuses on the best cultural experiences in Namibia. Visit a Himba village and enjoy three days living with the San Bushmen interspersed with some excellent wildlife watching.

US$3,870 - US$4,240 per person

Itinerary image

Ostrich Self-drive Safari

14 days • 9 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Great value self-drive adventure through the epic desert landscapes of southern Namibia and South Africa’s Kalahari, visiting highlights such as Fish River Canyon, the ghost towns of Lüderitz and Sossusvlei’s dunes.

US$2,200 - US$2,780 per person

View all holidays to Africa

Our top destinations for wildebeest

Click below for detailed information about wildebeest in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.


Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team