Each year, over one million wildebeest journey in synchronization across the vast plains of the Serengeti and the amber coloured hills of Maasai Mara in search of juicy grazing grounds. Numerous zebra and gazelle accompany the wildebeest as they migrate for over two thousand miles. They cover many destinations on the 10 Days Kenya Tanzania Safari and can be witnessed all year round. The movement patterns vary from year to year but we have the lead on where you should go to find yourself amidst the big migration.
Predators And Other Dangers
The wildebeest spend several months feeding and plumping up for the journey once they reach the dense plains of Maasai Mara. Grazing is the primary reason for the wildebeest migration but the fact that they constantly travel in large numbers makes hunting harder for the predators. Big cats take advantage of the grazing season. They often isolate a member of the herd whilst the vultures circle above waiting for remnants or an untimely accident. The predators are unable to follow the progressing herds throughout the entire journey as many are territorial, they can’t desert their territories or occupy those of others.
Crossing The Mara River
Shockingly land predators are not the biggest threat to the wildebeest during the migration, crossing the Mara River is. A cluster of wildebeest begin to gather at the river banks but no member of the herd dares to be the first to plunge into its crocodile infested waters. Eventually they are pushed into the water and have to swim to safety, trying their best to avoid anticipating jaws. Others get caught in the excitement and the weak swimmers don’t make it.
A Unique Safari To Witness The Wildebeest Migration
In Tanzania, the style in which you experience the migration can be tailored to suit your desires, whether that entails a luxury safari or camping safari is entirely up to you. The national parks offer remarkable landscapes and an abundance of wildlife sightings. This type of safari is accessible to a cost-conscious and independent traveller. The camp sites include comprehensive facilities and really give you a sense of the bush. A lodge is the perfect getaway if you seek a luxury trip where you can experience all the modern comforts. Particular wildlife activities including bird watching, photography and tracking are easily catered for and there is always something special for the little ones. We’ve simplified the task of determining the ideal wildlife safaris in Tanzania for you.
The Movement Of The Wildebeest Migration
Wildebeest are built to travel extensive distances with an undemanding efficiency, they require no more energy to run a certain distance than to trudge along at a snail’s pace. They’re constantly trying to save time, wildebeest even mate whilst they’re migrating and their infants begin walking instantly.
We have comprised an approximate timeline of where the great migration has lead the wildebeest and the best places to stay during this time.
January / February / March
The wildebeest tend to migrate to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation area during this period. Towards the end of January calving season begins and over 8000 calves are born daily. Pregnant females are enticed to the land due to the calcium and magnesium in the grass which is good for milk production. This is an excellent time to visit – the picturesque landscape is populated with herds which attracts packs of lions, hyena and a large amount of cheetah. You can expect to spot giraffes, elephants and buffalo in the acacia filled woodlands. Best places to stay: The migration is best observed at a mobile camp site, we advise that you pack our camping essentials that will effortlessly enhance your stay. Ndutu Safari Lodge is a great value for money and the Mwiba Lodge is an extravagant treat.
April / May:
The rainy season offers a tranquil safari experience and at this stage the wildebeest begin breeding. The short grasslands are no longer able to sustain the immense herds and many disperse into smaller groups. Some of the wildebeest and zebra will travel to the Serengeti’s Western Corridor whilst others head towards Seronera in search of pleasant grasses. Best places to stay: There is a possibility of catching a glimpse of the migration at Ndutu Safari Lodge or the Kusini Camp. During May the Serengeti campsite is an excellent location for spotting a variety of resident game.
The herds continue towards the Grumeti River in the west. You can anticipate buffalo elephant and hippo sightings as well as lurking crocodiles. Best places to stay: If you seek a luxury safari experience the Singita Grumeti Reserve is an excellent choice during June. They offer many activities such as wildlife viewing walks and night drives. Adventurous campers will enjoy Beyond’s Grumeti River Camp and Kirawira.
July / August / September / October
The action of the migration begins to increase as the wildebeest leave the Western Corridor. They generally reside in the northern region of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. The dry season is in full swing at this stage and the herds gather near the crocodile infested water. If you want to witness a river crossing, August and September are the best times to visit. During October the thunder clouds produce short rains that magnetise thousands of animals. Best places to stay: For absolute extravagance the Mara River Tented Camp is perfect. The Sayari Camp is an exceptional runner up with perfect tented rooms that are located only minutes away from frequent wildebeest migration river crossing stations. Bushtops and Nomad’s Lamai Camp offer tranquil accommodation. If you would like to stick to a moderate budget the Mara Explorers. An advantage to staying at many of the lodges and camps in this area is that you are able to drive off road in open vehicles and walk with a professional guide.
November / December
The rains continue throughout November and the herds begin to congregate again. December brings masses of wildebeest to the champagne coloured plains of the Southern Serengeti. The clockwise route of the migration comes to an end at this stage and the grazing lands are at their maximum density. Best places to stay: You may spot the wildebeest migration from Klein’s Camp and the area features magnificent sceneries.
Africa’s great wildebeest migration is an incomparable natural wonderment that captures the hearts of all who witness it.