The Great Migration is on!
Millions of wildebeest can now be seen flooding the plains in East Africa as these great animals move in search of greener pastures. The Great Migration is a nine-month cycle of movement where wildebeest accompanied by zebras, gazelles and impalas are on the move, crossing rivers with hungry crocodiles lurking in the waters.
It is an exciting time to be visiting the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania, where the annual Great Migration is about to take centre stage, one of the greatest wildlife shows on Earth. Between late June and October the river crossings take place (sometimes backwards and forward over the same rivers!) but it is also good to know that there is wonderful wildlife viewing year-round. Here we take you through a month by month guide of this wonderful circle of life.
In January, February and March the Wildebeest are calving on the southern grasslands of the Serengeti, which means great visibility of animals in one place. This takes place in various Tanzanian safari hot-spots such as the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti and is of great interest to the thousands of predators looking for their next meal. Don’t forget your camera!
The rainy season is in April and May. Rains in the bush tend to be afternoon storms rather than continuous showers. Game viewing and photography is generally excellent. When the rains end in May, the land dries fast and the grazing animals move on, heading for their dry season refuge.
In June the wildlife move north through the Serengeti “Western Corridor” into the Lobo area. To get to the grassy plains of Kenya the animals must pass through the crocodile infested waters of several rivers, notably the Grumeti in Tanzania.
In July and August herds are crossing over the Sand and Mara Rivers and into Kenya. A good portion of wildlife still remains in the Serengeti year round, and crossing back and forth is not uncommon.
In the dry season, September and October, big herds are up in the Mara, minus up to a quarter of a million who didn’t make it along the way. It is green and pleasant in Maasai Mara and the wildebeest will be happily grazing. There is resident game in the Serengeti eco-system making for fantastic game viewing.
During November and December much of the grass of the Maasai Mara has been devoured. The animal’s instinct tells them to move southwards to the Serengeti, where the rains are once again beginning, so they return south through the Seronera to the Serengeti, completing the cycle.
Life and death is played out beneath the great East African skies and to witness this is a spectacle you would never forget.