Migration Safari

One of the once-in-a-lifetime animal encounters is the Migration safari also known as the annual great wildebeest migration, which is only found in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). For lovers of animals and the outdoors, it has emerged as one of the most sought-after safari activities.

Migration safari/ The Annual Great Wildebeest Migration.

The Serengeti-Mara habitat is traversed annually by over a million wildebeests in what is known as the “Great Wildebeest Migration.”  The animals travel along a well-worn path in search of grass and water in columns made up of wildebeest and a variety of companions.  They travel across the Serengeti National Park to the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, over the plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, into southern Tanzania, and then make a clockwise loop back to where they started. As thousands of animals are taken or eaten by predators and thousands more are born, filling the numbers and sustaining the cycle of life of these wildebeests, there are always interesting moments along the way.

The great wildebeest migration safari is made up of approximately 1.5 million wildebeests, 350 000 Thomson’s gazelles, 210,000 zebras, thousands of Elands, and other hoofed creatures that take part in what has been dubbed “the greatest show on Earth” every year. As the first group consumes the tops of the tallest grass, the second group will consume some of the medium-height grass, until finally it is nearly gone, at which point the herds move on. These three main groups of migrant grazers have different eating habits. Additionally, it indicates that each group sticks to its own kind, with little overlap in their distributions. In the entire Serengeti region, the grasses of the plains have the highest levels of calcium and protein.

The wildebeest’s ability to navigate their travels is unknown, although it is thought that their response to the weather-after the rains that encourage the growth of new grass plays a major role in how they decide where to go. Although some experts contend that animals can detect rain from more than 50 kilometres away and that they react to distant lightning and thunderstorms, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

The Migration Safari in January, February and March.

Since the annual great wildebeest migration safari takes place, it always ends in January with a southward trek that takes the animals through the Ngorongoro conservation area and along the eastern edge of the Serengeti national park. Here, the plains are more abundant with nourishing grass, giving the herds the ideal surroundings for nurturing their newborn calves. Although this migratory circuit has no real beginning or end other than the birth and death of the animals, it seems reasonable to refer to the wildebeests’ breeding season as the migration’s beginning.

The herds reside in the short-grass plains in and around Olduvai Gorge and the lower northern slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater highlands in late January or early February. It is anticipated that between 8,000 and 400,000 calves will be born here in the space of two to three weeks. Due to the abundance of weak young calves, the local predators are forced to act quickly and hunt with ease. This is because there are so many wildebeest around. Consider visiting Serengeti National Park in the months of January, February, and March and staying in the southern Serengeti area, which also provides direct access to Ubuntu, Kimondo, and Olakira, the seasonal camps that accompany the seasonal Serengeti migration, if you’re interested in seeing the calving season and the drama of big cats on the hunt.

The Migration Safari in April and May.

After giving birth in February and March, the migration safari, that is the wildebeest start to move their heads north-west towards the fresher grass of the Central Serengeti in April. They are followed by thousands of zebra and smaller groups of antelope by this time, and by May, the columns of wildebeest stretch for several kilometres as the animals begin to congregate by the Moru Kopjes, which is the home to the last black rhinos in Serengeti National Park. One of the few sites in the Serengeti national park that allows migration viewing at this time of year (April or May) in central Serengeti is the Dunia Camp in Moru Kopjes.

Male wildebeest start to engage in head-to-head combat at the end of May. They then continue their journey at their own pace, grazing along the way. Gradually, the movement gathers energy for all the animals, and then they all start to move into the Serengeti’s Western Corridor. The seasonal campgrounds, such as the Ubuntu Migration Camp, will have shifted at this time of year to accompany the migration, giving visitors access to see the wildebeest cross the Grumeti River.  The herds gather in great numbers along the river’s banks along its channels and pools, which they must pass in order to continue their trek. There are still enough wildebeest to give the Grumeti crocs an authentic safari experience, even though the wildebeest crossing on the Grumeti River is not as noteworthy as one of the famed Mara River crossings in Kenya. It’s also important to keep in mind that May is Ubuntu’s low season, making safaris at this time of year a terrific deal even though there are considerably less tourists in the Serengeti national park.

The Migration Safari in June and July.

With dense herds of wildebeest in the western Serengeti region and along the southern banks of the Grumeti River, the dry season begins in early June.  Because there are crocodiles in the river, every migratory animal will have to face the challenge of crossing, making it one of many terrifying experiences for the animal. As July gets underway, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals continue to migrate north along the western edge of the Central Serengeti towards an even riskier barrier: the Mara River, which is situated in the park’s northernmost region. The best wildlife event on Earth is undoubtedly the Wildebeest River crossing along the Mara River. However, timing is all dependent on nature, so the safari experience is not guaranteed. The animals typically start at the beginning of high season in July.

For guests who are interested in migration safari experience a little bit more intensely and closely during the month of July, when the herds are normally found in the Northern Serengeti, there are seasonal camps that are open. The animals crossed the Mara River into Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve in the middle of July. The finest place to stay in Maasai Mara to view the migration is Rekero Camp, which has a large deck overlooking the Tarek River and Mara River.

The Migration Safari in July, September and October.

By the end of July, the herds had successfully crossed the Mara River and were dispersed throughout the northern Maasai Mara, with many of them still present in the northern Serengeti. The fear and disorientation at the crossings, along with waiting predators and raging currents, can result in a significant loss of life in years when the river is flowing at its fullest. The crocodiles, however, not to mention the lions and other large predators who watch the banks, ready to ambush any wildebeest that make it to the other side, take their toll even in years of rather gently flowing water. There is no single crossing; at some locations, there are only a few people, while at others, a large group of animals are moving continuously for hours.

By September to October, the main chaos has ended and the migrating rows began to move eastwards.  However, as they get ready to cross the Mara River once more for their return trip southward, the wildebeest will once more encounter its choppy waters.

The Migration Safari in November and December.

The wildebeest migrate from Kenya into the eastern Serengeti after the East African brief rains in late October and early November, passing via the Namiri Plains, a region renowned for its exceptional cheetah sightings. They cover the entire eastern and southern regions by December.

The Serengeti’s southernmost grasslands receive abundant rainfall in the first few months of the year, attracting not only herds of wildebeest but also tens of thousands of zebra and other plains species. As the new calving season begins, the cycle continues.

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