Wildebeest Migration is an annual migration of the biggest herds of the wildebeest in Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Only found in two places in Africa, the great Wildebeest Migration happens in Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve, the only places that have one of the ever seen animal movements across the parks. The great wildebeest migration is one of the most phenomenal natural spectacles in the world and involves an annual movement of millions of wildebeest, accompanied by zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, impalas across the greater Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.
Masai Mara Natural Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is located in the southwestern part of Kenya covering an area of 1510 square kilometers in the Great Rift Valley, a fault line stretching from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and into Mozambique and it features as an extension with Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in the Mara area. Masai Mara National Reserve has about for types of terrain such as the Ngama Hills to the east filled with short bushes and also the area has sandy soils, the Siria Escarpment forms the western boundary that is raised forming the fascinating plateau. The other type is the Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacias that support a great variety of wildlife such as the wildebeest. The largest part is known as the central plains consisting of scattered bushes and boulders on rolling grasslands favored by the plain’s wildlife.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is situated in the northern part of Tanzania which is found on the coast of East Africa. Serengeti National Park covers an area approximately 15000 square kilometers with three main sections where you will find the plains filled numerous wildlife and the savannah bushes growing on the splendid landscape.
Masai Mara National Reserve is adjacent to Serengeti National Park making it possible for the animals to move freely from one park to another throughout the year. Inside of Serengeti National Park, you will find wildlife such as the lions, cheetahs, leopards, different species of birds, baboons and the great number of wildebeest that keep wandering around the park. These animals can be spotted during night drives and day-game drives throughout the Serengeti National Park.
How the migration happens in Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park
The great migration is such wonder to experience and your timing is absolutely everything because there are no ways you can tell or predict the movement of the animals. In most cases, the weather of the area affects the movement because the wildebeest keep wandering in the park in search for the greener gazing grounds and water in the region. This means the type of season will trigger their movement and location.
Calving time: In the month of January, the herds are in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park moving back down south from the north-east region. And February through March, the wildebeest will remain the south because the lands still have green grazing grounds and the dry season is yet to come. In addition, new calves are born during this time and about 8000 calves are born per day.
Journey to the north: From the start of April, the wildebeest normally start moving northwards and many by the time have already started moving and they are already in the west of Serengeti National Park. In May, you get to view huge columns of up to 40 kilometers / 25 miles in length of wildebeest on their way to the north. By this time the dry season is starting and they move towards Mara River to get water.
By July, the herds have reached the western Serengeti National Park and Grumeti Reserves and stay in these areas for a while as they warm up to cross the brown waters of the river. The main reason as to why they wait at the waters is because of the Huge Nile crocodiles that are predators to the wildebeests.
Mara River crossing into Kenya: In August, after crossing the Mara River, the survivors can be seen grazing and begin crossing into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. For the travelers that want to continue viewing this magical journey, you will need to cross to Kenya and you will need a passport at the border.
In October, travelers flock Masai Mara National Reserve to witness the wildebeest that made it the reserve as they graze throughout the lands. As you witness the migration, you will also be able to benefit from the Maasai communities that have lived in the lands for centuries.
In the following months, you get to have other activities done in the Masai Mara National Reserve such as game drives since the vegetation is thin making it possible for wildlife spotting. The animals are many because of the presence of the rains that fill up the water bodies in the reserve. Travelers get the opportunity of doing the air balloon safaris and you are able to watch the wildebeest from the Arial view of the Reserve.
During late December, the herds return back to Serengeti National Park since the wet seasons start to show up in the lands and the green short grass starts to develop. The herds will pass via Seronera and make their way back to the calving grounds in the south of Serengeti National Park.
Both Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park have some of the best accommodation facilities including the camps that let you relax, and enjoy the panoramic view of the plains of the national park and reserve. Some of these include the following;
Serengeti National Park has Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Serengeti Migration Camp, Melia Serengeti Lodge, Kirawira Serena Camp, Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Seronera Wildlife Lodge, Ikoma tented Camp, Mawe Luxury Tented Camp, and Embalakai Authentic Camp.
For Masai Mara National Reserve, the accommodation facilities you will find include Maasai Serena Safari Lodge, Cottar’s 1920s camp, Base Camp Masai Mara, Mara Bush Camp, Mpata Safari Club, Matira Camp, Acacia House, Mara West Chalets, Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Elewana Sand River, Tembo Tented Camp Governors Private Camp, and Mara Ngenche Luxury Tented Camp.
In general, the great migration is a fascinating natural event that no one should miss during their African safari. The migration is such a wonder to the world that still happens in the wild and gives magical experiences to the people that get the timing right to watch as the animals move across the lands.