As African wildlife lovers head into late summer and early autumn, the talk is only about the wildebeest migration. Why is Migration so popular? And is it as exciting as they say? In this post, we answer the most popular questions about the event.
What Is the Wildebeest Migration?
The beauty of a safari is that there is more behind the simple observation of animals. In the savannah, you’re not just seeing an animal in its natural habitat. You’re witnessing the incredible power of nature and the instincts it’s given each individual. All animals in the savannah have one instinct: to survive. But it manifests itself differently in each species. That’s the magic of safari.
Antelopes, for example, are herbivores. To survive, they need fresh grass. So they roam the park in search of new pastures. You can see the best manifestation of this instinct in the Serengeti, where migration of wildebeest goes on almost all year round. It peaks in July, August, and September when thousands of antelope migrate to the neighboring Masai Mara in Kenya.
What Is Interesting About Great Wildebeest Migration?
It is perhaps the most dramatic spectacle in the African wilderness. Antelopes want to save themselves from starvation but put themselves in even greater danger. Of the several thousand ungulates that run to new pastures, there will always be those that never make it to their destination.
Indeed, to get from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara, the antelopes must cross the Mara River. This river is teeming with crocodiles that lurk and wait for their prey. Predators like lions have long known all the routes of defenseless animals. They also observe their movements and wait until one of the antelopes strays from the herd and attacks it.
Other antelope species migrate with the wildebeest, as do zebras. Migration is exciting because it allows you to see how animals interact with each other. When you are on safari you see lions, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, and so on. During the great wildebeest migration, you can see them very close to each other. That’s the food chain in action.
How Can I Be Sure I Will Get Into Migration in Good Time?
Of course, nature has its whims. It is at least not professional to give a 100% guarantee. But the good news for our tourists is that our guides know their countries perfectly. Your chances of seeing the migration increase with our experts.
When going on a wildebeest migration safari in the Serengeti, you should consider the seasonality. The movement of antelopes through the park takes place in several stages:
In January, antelopes concentrate in the southern Serengeti, near the borders of Ngorongoro. By this time, the first rains have already fallen here.
This month is also spectacular in the wild as antelope calves are born. The northern Ngorongoro borders provide ideal conditions for the calves at this time. However, predators like to hunt newborns. Being on safari during this time you can witness a ferocious hunt for lions and leopards.
By this time the cubs are strong and ready to head for the western edges of the park. But they are still too young to maintain a fast pace. So in March, the migration slows down a bit.
During the heaviest rainy season, the antelopes continue their way along the western borders of the Serengeti northwards.
May to June
The cubs have matured enough to keep up a brisk pace. The rains are stopping and the animals keep moving north in large columns.
The animals reach the Grumeti River. Here it is also possible to see the river crossing. But the Grumeti River is not as rushing as the Mara, so the spectacle will be less dynamic here.
Migration in Serengeti Park is at its peak. Herds are on their way to the northern borders at this time and are ready to cross the Mara River. The water level in the river is high and the current is strong, making crossing the river difficult for the animals.
Tourists in Kenya at this time may catch the last of the antelopes crossing the river in Masai Mara Park. And when herds of animals that have managed to overcome an obstacle flee over the horizon.
After months of fighting, a lull finally arrives. The antelopes reach new meadows full of green grass. Here they stop for a while before heading off with renewed vigor.
Antelopes gather in herds and leave the lands of the Maasai Mara.
In December, antelopes reach the southern part of the Serengeti, where a new migration cycle begins.
Migration is interesting at any time of year. Whatever period you have planned your trip to the Serengeti or the Maasai Mara, Iconic Expeditions guides will take you to the best locations to catch the highlights of the migration.
How to prepare for a migration trip?
- The great migration season is the most popular in Tanzania, so you should plan your trip well. Even if you have booked a safari a year before your intended trip, it’s okay. This way, you get guaranteed rooms in the best lodges where the migration takes place.
- Set aside a few days to visit the Serengeti. Your chances of seeing exclusive moments will be much higher.
- And most importantly, choose a reliable company where you will get comprehensive advice on any safari-related issues. Where you’ll get the service of qualified guides, you’ll travel in new safe jeeps and stay in the best lodges.
If you are reading this article, you’ve already found one! Submit your request for the Great Migration in Tanzania to the Iconic Expeditions team. Let your African adventure begin!
Do you have any other migration-related questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below. We’ll be happy to answer them!