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The Great Wildbeest Migration

The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the "Seven New Wonders of the World".  Over two million animals migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya during July through to October. Nowhere in the world is there a movement of animals as immense as the wildebeest migration. Making it one of the wonders of the world. Only in East Africa. Experience it with us this coming season.

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The migration has to cross the Mara River in the Maasai Mara where crocodiles will prey on them. This is one of the highlights as the animals try and cross the Mara River alive.

In the Maasai Mara they will be hunted, stalked, and run down by the larger carnivores. The Maasai Mara also has one of the largest densities of lion in the world and is no wonder this is the home of the BBC wildlife channels Big Cat Diary.

The stage on which this show is set is loosely termed the Serengeti Ecosystem, about 40, 000 square kilometers pretty much defined by the dominant migration routes of the white bearded wildebeest (Connochaetestuarinus mearnsi) and comprises parts of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south; the Serengeti National Park and the adjacent Maswa Game Reserve and other ‘controlled’ areas in the center, east and west; and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve to the north.

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2 Million +

The principle the wildebeest, whose numbers appear to have settled at just under 1.5million, with supporting roles from some 350,000 Thomson’s gazelle, 200,000 zebra and 12,000 eland. These are the main migrators and they cross the ranges of over a quarter of a million other resident herbivores and, of course, carnivores. The lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and lesser predators await the annual coming of the migration with eager anticipation.

In reality there is no such single entity as ‘the migration’. The wildebeest are the migration –there is neither start nor finish to their endless search for food and water, as they circle the Serengeti- Mara ecosystem in a relentless sequence of life and death. ‘The only beginning is the moment of birth,’ notes acclaimed East African author and photographer Jonathan Scott, who has spent the better part of the last 30 years chronicling the events of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. Similarly the only ending is death.


No Two Seasons Are Ever The Same

There is little predictability about the migration, and questions as to which is the best month to view it are likely to get different answers from different people. According to Scott (BBC Big Cat Diary), ‘You could spend a lifetime in the Serengeti-Mara waiting for the typical migration. The finer details of the herds’ movements are always different. It is a dynamic process which defies predictions: no two years are ever quite the same.’

Probably the most important element of the environment to its inhabitants is the weather and the cycle of four seasons per year undoubtedly has the defining influence on the migration.
The seasons are reasonably defined: the ‘shortdry season’ is typically December to February/March; the ‘long rains’ fall overa six week period from March through April and into May; and the ‘long dryseason’ is from June to September, with the two-week ‘short rains’ falling anytime from October into November.
There are however, no guarantees about these dates. For more of this join our safaris in Maasai Mara to witness the most phenomenal natural spectacles inthe world! Karibu!