What Is The Great Wildebeest Migration.
The Great Migration is a huge journey of animals, the biggest on Earth. Picture this: up to 1,000 animals in every square kilometer, forming massive groups of wildebeest that can be spotted from space.
Here's the incredible part: more than 1.2 million wildebeest, 300,000 zebras, and other gazelles are always on the move in the Serengeti-Mara area, looking for good grass and water. Each wildebeest, guided by its survival instincts, travels 800 to 1,000 kilometers following ancient paths. But it's not an easy journey—hungry predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and crocodiles ensure that only the strongest make it through. This whole event is called 'the greatest show on Earth.
The animals' route takes them from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south of the Serengeti in Tanzania, through the Serengeti, into the Masai Mara in Kenya, and back again. But the journey is full of dangers: young calves are grabbed by predators, slower ones are caught by lion groups, some get hurt on steep river slopes, crocodiles get their share, and the tired ones can drown.
The Great Migration is a continuous circular journey of over a million animals in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Wildebeest, accompanied by various companions, follow an ancient route in search of grazing and water. Starting in Tanzania's southern Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, they move clockwise through the Serengeti, reaching the Masai Mara in Kenya, and returning later in the year. This migration involves calving, predator-prey interactions, and the birth of thousands of animals, contributing to the ongoing cycle of life.
What Happen There?
The three groups of migrating grazers have distinct grass-eating habits. As one group grazes the top of the tallest grass, the next group targets medium-height grass, gradually consuming it until it's nearly gone, prompting the herds to move on. Each group mostly sticks to its preferred grass type, with only a small overlap in their distributions. The plains' grasses, where they feed, boast the highest protein content in the entire Serengeti, along with high calcium levels.
Although it's not entirely clear how wildebeest know where to go, the general belief is that their journey is mainly influenced by the weather. They tend to follow the rains and the growth of new grass. While not scientifically proven, some experts suggest that the animals may respond to distant lightning and thunderstorms. There's even a notion that wildebeest could sense rain from more than 50 kilometers away.
The best time to see the Great Migration
The best time to witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is generally from late June to October. During this period, the migrating herds are in the northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Here are key factors to consider for the best experience:
Calving Season, occurring from January to March, is a significant and fascinating period during the Great Migration in the southern Serengeti. This timeframe marks the birth of young wildebeest, adding a poignant and captivating dimension to the natural spectacle. The vast herds give birth to their calves in the lush, southern plains, creating a nursery of new life. This season attracts predators eager to prey on vulnerable newborns, showcasing the intricate balance of the circle of life in the Serengeti ecosystem. For those seeking an immersive experience and the chance to witness the miracle of birth amid the wilderness, the Calving Season is an ideal time to visit the southern Serengeti.
River Crossings, occurring from late July to August, stand out as a captivating highlight during the Great Migration. This dramatic phase sees the migrating herds attempting to cross the treacherous Mara River, where they confront crocodile-infested waters. The spectacle of thousands of wildebeest and other animals navigating the river creates thrilling wildlife encounters. The river crossings are a dynamic and awe-inspiring event, showcasing the determination, risks, and resilience of the migrating herds as they traverse challenging landscapes. For those seeking the excitement of these dramatic river crossings, late July to August is the optimal time to witness this thrilling aspect of the Great Migration.
From April to mid-June, it's the Season of the Trek North and The Rut during the Great Migration. This time marks the herds' journey northward through the Serengeti plains, leading to their eventual migration into Kenya's Masai Mara. The wildebeest and other grazers cover significant distances as they search for fresh grass and water. Additionally, The Rut occurs during this period, representing the mating season where males engage in elaborate displays to attract females. While not as visually intense as river crossings, the Season of the Trek North and The Rut provides a unique view of the migration, showcasing the animals' movements and natural behaviors.
From mid-June to November, it's the Great Migration River Crossing Season, a spectacular phase in the migration's annual cycle. During this period, the migrating herds face the challenging task of crossing rivers, particularly the Mara River, as they continue their journey through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. These river crossings are visually stunning and dramatic, with thousands of wildebeest and other animals navigating crocodile-infested waters. This season provides a thrilling spectacle for wildlife enthusiasts, offering unparalleled opportunities to witness the resilience, determination, and survival instincts of the migrating herds as they traverse these formidable aquatic obstacles.
What time of year is the Great Wildebeest migration?
The migration happens throughout the year, and the animals' behavior shifts with their location. From January to March, they gather for calving in the southern Serengeti, Tanzania, then move north. In July, river crossings start as they head into Kenya's Masai Mara. By the year's end, the herds move southward, returning to Tanzania. This continuous cycle showcases the dynamic and ever-changing movements of the Great Migration.
What month is the Great Migration in Tanzania?
The Great Migration predominantly occurs in Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park. The optimal months for observing this remarkable event are from November to September, offering varying highlights depending on the timing of your safari. The calving season takes place approximately from January to February, providing an opportunity to witness the birth of new life. On the other hand, river crossings, a thrilling phase of the migration, typically commence around July. Planning your visit during these periods allows for a diverse and captivating experience of the different stages of the Great Migration in the Serengeti.
Visit The Serengeti Great Migration with Travel wise safari.
Embark on an extraordinary journey with Travel Wise Safari to witness the Serengeti Great Migration—an exclusive and immersive experience awaits you. Our seasoned guides ensure you ample time to relish the wildlife spectacle, providing insights into the diverse and captivating ecosystem. Trust our expertise to guide you on the best times for your visit, whether it's the breathtaking calving season in January-February or the thrilling river crossings starting around July.
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