The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration
This is the magical race for the key stakeholders in the great Serengeti Wildebeest migration. This surprising movement begins with two million wildebeest animals moving right from the southern part of the Serengeti National Park after giving birth to new calves between January and March. At this time, Serengeti National Park is full of guides, and the air in the park looks so much different as the visitors fly into the world’s largest and oldest National Park.
A lot of debate is on why the wildebeest have to move from the south of the Serengeti national park to all the way to Kenya in the Masai Mara National Reserve. The animals move or walk for more than 800 meters, and this has been described as the longest animal movement record that has ever existed in the world. The animals’ movements happen at the time when the grass is so nutritious and short, especially during the rainy season in Serengeti National Park. During this time, the grasses are shorn, and this makes it easier for the animals to see through the predators and make the best ground for the young calves.
The plain and the dry conditions usually cause the wildebeest animals to move or migrate and look for the greener patches in the area or part of the Serengeti national park where they do exist. In search of the greener pastures on the western side of the park, they finally find these pastures. The grasses in the northern augmentation of the habitat receive the greatest precipitation, yet they are the least nutritious. This is the wildebeest’s dry-season retreat, which lasts until the south becomes green again. The result is a clockwise movement from south to west to north and back to south.
In general, the great wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park and the way it occurs in a circular pattern can only be found in Tanzania. This movement begins in the southern Serengeti national park and this is the time when millions of calves are born. Remember that lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards are constantly hunting for the newly born babies and this offers or provides the best wildlife sightings that you don’t need to miss out on.
When the drought sets in, which usually happens in May, the herds shift to the north in the Masai Mara in Kenya to find the lush green pastures or grass, and later, these are followed by the zebras and the gazelles. The herd has to take the risks as they cross the river that is heavily infested with crocodiles that are always waiting patiently to kill and eat them. There are several lions as well in Serengeti, and it is believed that Serengeti has got the highest population of lions in the whole of Africa, and you will see some of these lions taking advantage of the opportunity of hustling with the prey in the form of wildebeest as they are trying to move away.
As the short rains get underway, the Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration returns back to Serengeti. That is in October and by December, the movers walk through the small Serengeti settlement in the central area of the Serengeti National Park and it is where the Serengeti visitors’ information center is found.
As you plan to come to Tanganyika, especially in the Serengeti National Park, you need to know exactly when the great animal movement will happen, and thus it is very important that you make a very good decision such that you don’t miss this wonderful activity. I’m going to give you the detailed information that would help you choose the best time to travel to Tanganyika and make an informed decision.
Let’s see what happens between December and April.
This month, the main calving ground of the wildebeest animals can be seen, and it can be traced to the south of the Seronera. Need to know that the Serengeti National Park plains span the areas of the Ndutu adjacent to Ngorongoro. The animals move to this wonderful destination because of the presence of rain that happens in November and December. The movement of the wildebeest stays here up to when the rains do appear in the months of April and early May.
The fantastic news is that this section of Serengeti National Park is now open to the public, and the scenery is particularly beautiful during this time. In the Ndutu region and the southeastern fields, February is often calving season, making it the greatest and most optimal time to come. Because there are so many wildebeest, zebra, and other ungulates, and they give birth to so many calves, the show serves as a magnet for hunters. The gang may relocate in March or April in search of greener pastures. Seeing the actual transfer during this time is more difficult, although you are likely to encounter incredibly large crowds moving.
Then how about a big move in May-July?
This is also one of the periods when the calving is done and the wildebeest animals have finished eating the greed grass and are now preparing themselves for the long trek since the calves are ready and can walk with the mothers and fathers. It is very hard to predict the exact date when this starts, but it can be any time in between the months of May and July. This is a great time for you to witness one of the world’s most amazing natural phenomena: over 1,000,000 walking creatures crammed into a 40-kilometer-long stretch. The mob will advance towards the Western Corridor during the relocation, where they will face the most significant deterrent: crossing the Grumeti River. Many species do not survive the crossing because they are being watched by the space’s population of strangely huge crocodiles waiting to consume them. The party might congregate on the waterway’s southern bank and stay there for up to fourteen days before crossing the stream.
From August to September
Once the wildebeest have crossed the Grumeti River, they continue and await to cross the last challenging river, known as the Mara River, in July or August. This is the point where most of the photos of the Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration are taken from, and at this stage, the crossing is so interesting with the wildebeest trying to run away from the crocodiles within the river. Later, the mass movement pushes toward the northwest fields and the Kenyan Masai Mara National Reserve. The months of August and September are thought to be the best for visiting Serengeti National Park and viewing the Great Migration as the herd advances into Kenya’s Masai Mara. Nonetheless, migration patterns imply that almost half of the group remains in Tanzania, in the Mara-Serengeti region. During this season, smaller groups of wildebeest (well, think little… crowds could number anywhere between 500 and tens of thousands of people) frequently cross the Mara River, to and from, for unclear reasons. This is a fantastic chance to stay in one of the Serengeti Mara campgrounds.
From October to November, there is a large movement of wildebeest.
Yes, once the wildebeest have crossed the Mara River, there is a clear indication that they will at some point cross the river back when they start their journey back to the southern direction. This usually happens in October, although it can happen at any time prior to that. The crowd will cross the northern fields and the Lobo region during this time. This area of Serengeti National Park is rather unfrequented, so if you want to witness the movement in relative peace, now is the time. In late November, the wildebeest return to the short-grass plains and calving grounds around Ndutu. Furthermore, the Great Migration begins all over again from this point forward.
Therefore, you can move at any time. It’s good that you move at the time when the wildebeest are crossing either the Mara or Grumeti rivers to have a wonderful experience.