The Great Wildebeest Migration – Overview, the Move Throughout the Year and More
Overview of Wildebeest Migration
More than a million animals move through the Serengeti–Mara region in an ever-shifting cyclical movement known as the Great Wildebeest Migration. Columns of wildebeest are constantly migrating in search of grass and water, accompanied by a variety of buddies. It’s not uncommon for animals to leave Tanzania’s southern Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to give birth in Kenya’s Maasai Mara before returning to Tanzania’s southern Serengeti in late summer or early autumn. In the process of replacing the population, which has been decimated by predators, many more animals are born, creating an exciting and dramatic cycle of life.
To Begin, How Does the Great Wildebeest Migration Start?
The great wildebeest migration has been the most incredible herd movement ever recorded. In fact, the densely packed herds of wildebeest (up to one thousand animals per square kilometre) make them visible from orbit.
The Serengeti-Mara environment is home to 1,200,000 wildebeest and three hundred thousand zebra, as well as gazelle and topi, on a daily basis in search of food and water. There are between 800 and 1,000 kilometres of migratory patterns that each wildebeest will follow in order to survive. With voracious predators like these, only the strongest survive in this natural spectacle that has been dubbed “the greatest show on Earth,” which is located in Africa.
In Tanzania’s southern Serengeti, during the wildebeest migration, animals are taken on a circuitous route from the Ngorongoro Conserved Plains through the Serengeti, Kenya’s Masai Mara, and back again. All animals on the walk are at risk: newborn calves are kidnapped from their mothers, lion prides bring down the slow, courageous ones, and crocodiles devour the weak and weary.
While one herd eats only the tallest grass, the subsequent herds graze on some medium-height grass until it is virtually all devoured, and then the herds move on. This shows that the distributions of each group are primarily independent of one another. Serengeti’s highest protein and calcium content are found in the plains grasses.
Wildebeest migration’s path is unknown; however, it is generally considered that they follow the rains and the sprouting of new grass as a means of navigation. Some experts believe that the creatures respond to distant lightning and thunderstorms, despite the lack of scientific data. Wildebeest may also be able to detect rain more than 50 kilometres away.
The Great Wildebeest Migration’s Yearly Path
The wildebeest migration is year-round, regardless of whether they are calving or trying to cross rivers while circumventing predators. You can continue to read below and to learn more about the Great Migration’s seasonal patterns:
Wildebeest Migration in the Months of January, February, and March
In January, the wildebeest migration makes its way over the Serengeti’s eastern border and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When it comes to raising newborn calves, there is no better place than these fertile plains.
There is no genuine beginning or end to this migratory circuit, save for birth and death. Still, it seems natural that wildebeests’ birthing season be referred to as the migration’s beginning. Short-grass plains near Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge attract the herds in late January or early February, where they reproduce. The birth of approximately 8,000 calves a day is common here in a two- to a three-week timeframe.
With so many newborn calves to prey on, predators from all directions take advantage of the situation, chasing the wildebeest in great numbers. Asilia’s migratory camps in the southern Serengeti, Olakira, Kimondo, and Ubuntu are the best places to see calving and big cat hunting drama.
The Great Wildebeest Migration Taking Place in the Months of April and May
The wildebeest migration herds move towards northwest after giving birth in February and March, drawing hundreds of zebra and smaller antelope groups. By May, the Serengeti’s wildebeest migration had reached the Moru Kopjes, near Dunia Camp, one of the few Serengeti lodges open to visitors during this time of year for observing the animals’ annual migration. The wildebeest’s mating season begins in late May, and the males fight it out. A leisurely pace is maintained throughout “the rut” while wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle munch on the route to their final destination.
Wildebeest migration herds begin to gather in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor as the march picks up speed. The location of Ubuntu Migration Camp is likely to have changed by now in order to better accommodate the annual wildebeest migration as it crosses the Grumeti River. Nearby river pools and channels, the herds assemble in considerable numbers in order to continue their journey. It’s not quite the spectacle of the Mara crossings, but there are enough wildebeest to feed the Grumeti crocodiles. In May, Ubuntu’s slow season, it should be noted. There are fewer visitors in the Serengeti, making safaris better. On the other hand, the wildlife viewing is just as good.
The Great Wildebeest Migration Happening in June and July
There are large numbers of wildebeest in the Western Serengeti and along the southern banks of the Grumeti River in June, when the dry season begins. A crocodile-infested river is the first of many risky and nervous river crossings for every migrating mammal.
Many of the Serengeti’s wildebeest migration herds and zebras are making their way northward along the park’s western boundary as the months of June and July pass, heading toward an even more dangerous barrier: the Serengeti’s northern Mara River. These river crossings are among the most exhilarating wildlife encounters on the globe. But timing is largely upon nature; they usually begin in July.
Asilia’s movable migratory camps and Sayari Camp enable access to the Northern Serengeti during the month of July when the herds are most likely to be found (for those looking to indulge just a little bit more). Rekero Camp’s guests will be able to watch the animals crossing the Mara River in the Maasai Mara later in July when the river is at its highest level. Mara and Talek river crossings, which are regularly featured in spectacular sights, can be seen daily at this time.
The Great Wildebeest Migration Within the Months of August, September, and October Each Year
As of August, the wildebeest migration herds have crossed the Mara River and are spread throughout the northern portion of the Maasai Mara, with many remaining in the northern Serengeti. When the river is at its worst, the combination of fleeing in fear, predators lurking nearby, and the swift currents can lead to a significant number of being drowned or devoured. Crocodiles, lions, and other massive predators lurk around the banks, ready to pounce on any wildebeest that manages to make it through the gentler waters. At certain spots, there are only a few creatures, while at others, a large number of creatures travel continually for hours.
Primary chaos had eased by September or October, and migrant columns had begun to move eastward. However, the wildebeest will have to cross the rushing waters of the Mara River once more as they prepare to return to the southern plains.
The Great Migration Occuring in November and December
The wildebeest migration herds move south from Kenya and into the Serengeti’s eastern reaches, passing through the Namiri Plains, a site known for regular cheetah sightings, after the East African short rains in late October and early November. By the end of December, they had spread to the east and south.
New year’s rains in the Serengeti’s southernmost regions have soaked the grasses. Hundreds of thousands of zebras and other plains animals congregate here, drawing large herds of wildebeests. The calving season has begun again, and thus the cycle has been restarted.
Where to Stay in Tanzania and View the Wildebeest Migration
Asilia’s Great Wildebeest Migration Camps
It is located along the wildebeest migration route; our venues ensure that our visitors may observe the migration at any time of the year. In order to provide visitors with the best possible view of the Great Migration, three of these sites are mobile and move across the Serengeti year-round. One of these camps is Ubuntu Migration Camp, another is Kimondo Migration Camp, and the third is Olakira Migration Camp.
Serengeti National Park is home to our expedition camps of Sayari, Dunia and Namiri, respectively.
Rekero tucked in Masai Mara, Encounter Mara and Naboisho, which are all located in the Conservancy of Mara-Naboisho, are the best places to see the migration in Kenya.
Questions and Answers About the Great Migration
When describing a massive migration of wildebeest, why do people use the term “The Great Wildebeest Migration”?
Most animals migrate during the Great Wildebeest Migration. In the Serengeti and Maasai Mara habitats, almost 2 million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate clockwise every year (Kenya). Every day, they face crocodile-infested waterways, predators, and natural disasters like drought and flooding in a bid for survival.
For a unique perspective on the wildebeest migration process, stay at one of the several camps overseen by Asilia Africa. Close proximity to the location of Sayari Camp in the Northern Serengeti, there are numerous crossing points of the Mara River in the area. While some of our permanent camps include swimming pools, we have three moveable sites in the Serengeti that move between two or three areas each year so that we may be close to the migration’s excitement.
How to see the Great Wildebeest Migration at its best?
All year long, people flock to see the Great Wildebeest Migration. It’s calving season for the wildebeests in Tanzania’s Serengeti, which means that predators have an easier time snatching up prey. Once they reach central Serengeti in July, herds begin their first river crossing and take their chances against crocodiles waiting to pounce. To get ready for calving season and predator threats, the herds move into Kenya’s Maasai Mara beginning in August. By year’s end, the herds return to the Serengeti.
Are wildebeest migratory, or do they remain stationary throughout their lives?
It is not uncommon for herds numbering in the millions to go from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Kenyan side on an annual basis. The Great Wildebeest Migration is referred to this phenomenon.
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