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 migration wildebeest 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 wildebeest migration patterns that each 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 wildebeests 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 African 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 annual migration of wildebeest seasonal patterns:
Wildebeest Migration in the Months of January, February, and March
In January, the serengeti 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 tanzania 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 serengeti 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.
The great migration of wildebeest and zebra make 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.
Wildebeest Migration Within the Months of August, September, and October Each Year
As of August, the migration of the wildebeest 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.
By the wildebeest migration October or in September, the primary chaos has eased. 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 Occurring 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.
Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration
The wildebeest migration Masai mara is one of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in the world. It involves the movement of approximately 1.5 million wildebeest, along with large numbers of zebras and other herbivores, between the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya.
The great wildebeest migration kenya follows a cyclic pattern that is dependent on the availability of fresh grazing and water. Typically, it begins in the southern Serengeti around January and February, as calving season commences. The wildebeest herds gradually move northwest, crossing the Grumeti River around June and July. By August, they reach the northern Serengeti and make their way to the Mara River, forming dramatic scenes as they cross the treacherous waters, often attracting crocodiles and predators.
Once they enter the Masai Mara in Kenya, the wildebeest spread across the vast grasslands, feeding on the abundant vegetation. The best time to see wildebeest migration is until October or November. As the short rains start in the Serengeti, the herds begin their journey back south, completing the migration cycle.
The Masai Mara provides a prime vantage point for observing the migration, with its open plains, river crossings, and diverse wildlife. It’s an extraordinary opportunity to witness the dynamic movements of these animals and the challenges they face during their annual migration.
Wildebeest Time of Migration
Best time to see wildebeest migration in Tanzania
The best time to see the wildebeest migration in Tanzania is generally from December to July. During this period, the wildebeest herds are in different regions of the Serengeti ecosystem, including the southern and central parts. The precise timing can vary each year, so it’s advisable to consult with local experts or tour operators for the most accurate information. The calving season, which typically takes place in January and February, is a particularly captivating time to witness the migration in Tanzania, as it offers opportunities to observe newborn wildebeest and witness predator-prey interactions.
Best time to see wildebeest migration in Masai Mara
The best time to see the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara is typically between July and October. During this period, the wildebeest herds have crossed the Mara River into the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The months of August and September, in particular, offer excellent opportunities to witness the iconic river crossings and the intense predator-prey interactions that occur during this time.
Best time to see wildebeest migration in Serengeti
The best time to see the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is generally from December to July. During this period, the herds are spread across different parts of the Serengeti ecosystem, depending on the availability of grazing and water. The calving season, which occurs between January and February, is a particularly remarkable time to witness the migration as the wildebeest give birth to their young in large numbers, attracting predators and offering incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.
Facts About Wildebeest Migration
Check out these interesting wildebeest migration facts!
- The wildebeest migration is not only a spectacular sight of mass movement but also a dramatic showcase of predator-prey interactions. Large numbers of wildebeest crossing rivers, such as the Mara River, attract crocodiles lying in wait for an opportunity to ambush. Additionally, the migration provides ample hunting opportunities for predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, creating a dynamic ecosystem spectacle.
- Wildebeest exhibit a remarkable synchronization in calving during the migration. The majority of wildebeest give birth within a relatively short period, usually during the early months of the year. This synchronized calving is thought to provide survival advantages to the young calves as they benefit from the safety of numbers and increased vigilance against predators during this vulnerable stage of their lives.
- The wildebeest migration time of year occurs during the dry season in East Africa, which is generally between the months of June and October. This time frame corresponds to their movement from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It is during this period that the wildebeest traverse rivers, such as the Mara River, and face formidable challenges while seeking fresh grazing areas and water sources.
- The best time to see the wildebeest migration is typically between July and September when the herds are in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. During this period, the wildebeest often engage in dramatic river crossings, presenting incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. It’s important to note that the exact timing can vary each year due to weather patterns, so it’s advisable to consult with local experts or tour operators for the most up-to-date information.
- The blue wildebeest migration refers to the annual movement of the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) in East Africa. Blue wildebeest are a subspecies of wildebeest known for their migration patterns. This migration involves vast herds of blue wildebeest, often accompanied by other herbivores, and is considered one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles on the continent.
Wildebeest Migration Safari
A Wildebeest Migration Safari offers a unique and unforgettable wildlife experience. It allows you to witness the dramatic spectacle of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals crossing rivers, traversing vast plains, and navigating their annual migration routes. Professional safari guides provide expert knowledge, ensuring you have the best opportunities to observe the migration and witness incredible predator-prey interactions. It’s an adventure that immerses you in the natural wonders of East Africa and offers an up-close encounter with one of the world’s greatest wildlife migrations.
Check out these wildebeest migration safari packages!
Where to Stay in Tanzania and View the Wildebeest Migration Serengeti
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
Do wildebeest migrate?
Yes, wildebeest do migrate. They are famous for their annual long-distance migrations in search of food and water. The migration involves vast herds of wildebeest moving between different areas to follow the availability of fresh grazing and to access water sources. This behavior is particularly notable in the blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) species found in East Africa.
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 Tanzania and Kenya. 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.
Why do wildebeest migrate?
Wildebeest migrate primarily to find fresh sources of food and water. By moving to different areas, they can access greener pastures that provide a more abundant food supply. Additionally, migration allows wildebeest to avoid regions where resources have become scarce or depleted, ensuring their survival and the continuity of their species.
When do wildebeest migrate?
Wildebeest migrations typically occur during the dry season in East Africa, primarily in Tanzania and Kenya. The exact timing of the migration can vary, but it usually takes place between the months of June and October. This period coincides with the annual movement of wildebeest from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, driven by the search for food and water.
What’s the best place to see wildebeest migration?
One of the best places to witness the wildebeest migration is in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. These two adjacent protected areas form the main stage for the wildebeest migration. The Serengeti hosts the wildebeest during the dry season, while the Masai Mara receives them during the rainy season. Both locations offer incredible opportunities to witness this spectacular natural phenomenon, with large herds of wildebeest crossing rivers and vast plains.
How far do wildebeest migrate?
The distance covered by wildebeest during their migration can vary depending on the specific route and the availability of resources. On average, wildebeest migrations can cover a distance of several hundred kilometers (or miles). For example, the annual migration between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya spans a distance of approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) round trip. Wildebeest undertake this long journey in search of fresh grazing areas and water sources to sustain their survival and reproduction.
How many wildebeest migrate every year?
Approximately 1.5 million wildebeest undertake the annual migration between the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. This massive number includes both adult wildebeest and their young calves. Alongside the wildebeest, significant numbers of zebras and other herbivores also participate in this migration. The collective movement of such a vast number of animals is a remarkable spectacle and one of the most impressive wildlife migrations in the world.
When is the wildebeest migration?
The wildebeest migration typically occurs in East Africa, primarily in Tanzania and Kenya, and follows a cyclical pattern throughout the year.
Where is the wildebeest migration?
The wildebeest migration primarily takes place in East Africa, specifically between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. These two protected areas form the core regions where the migration unfolds. The wildebeest herds move back and forth between these locations, following a circular route that covers a vast expanse of savannah, grasslands, and riverine ecosystems. The Serengeti hosts the wildebeest during the dry season, while the Masai Mara attracts them during the rainy season, creating one of the world’s most renowned wildlife spectacles.
How do wildebeest know where to migrate?
Wildebeest rely on a combination of innate instincts, environmental cues, and social learning to determine their migration routes. They have an innate sense of direction and a natural instinct to move towards areas with fresh grazing and water. They also respond to environmental cues such as changes in weather patterns and vegetation, and they learn from the behavior of other herd members, collectively guiding their migration.
How do wildebeest migrate?
Wildebeest migrate by moving in large herds, often consisting of thousands or even millions of individuals. They undertake long-distance journeys, following a cyclical pattern between different regions in search of food and water. The migration typically involves crossing vast plains, traversing rivers, and navigating various terrains.
How far is the wildebeest migration?
The distance covered by migrating wildebeest can vary depending on the specific route taken and the availability of resources. On average, the migration can cover a distance of several hundred kilometers (or miles).
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