The Annual Wildebeest Migration arguably regarded as one of the world’s greatest game shows, is underway. Already the past few weeks, ‘minicrossings’ and other signs of the coming migration have been sighted.
Soon millions of wildebeest and Zebras will begin the epic migration from the Serengeti through the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in search of fresh grass.
During the months of December through March, the seemingly unending plains of the southern Serengeti and the Conservation Area are inhabited by enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra coming to graze on rain-ripened grass.
In the calving season, in late January through mid March, the herds concentrate at the Ndutu and Salei plains in Southern Serengeti/Ngorongoro Conservation Area, attracting the attention of predators like lion, cheetah and hyena. We have outlined a comprehensive timeline of the migration below.
Come the months of April and May the depleted plains are unable to sustain the endless herds. The migration, sweeping west and north, moves from the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti/Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the long grass plains and woodland of Serengeti’s western Corridor, almost to Lake Victoria.
This is the period during the long rains and is considered off-season for wildlife viewing in East Africa since roads are often impassable. Ndutu Safari Lodge, Kusini Camp and the Serengeti Serena Lodge are fine for wildlife viewing during this time. So are campsites in the Ndutu/Naabi area.
By the end of May the wildebeest have exhausted the Western Corridor’s best pastures and the herds must move further north. Entering the Lamai Wedge and the Mara Triangle, where breeding occurs from May through June.
This is a transitional period between the rains and the dry season. The Serengeti Serena is a central, easily accessible lodge for viewing the migration at this time. Grumeti River Camp, Migration Camp and Kirawira Camp are also options. Seronera and Moru area campsites are best.
July, August, September and October
By July the countless herds have amassed along the swollen Mara River – a final barrier from the short sweet grasses of the Maasai Mara. Sometimes the crossing place they have chosen is shallow allowing the majority of animals to pass safely. In other areas the waters boil with drowning wildebeest and slashing crocodiles.
During this period the wildebeest reside in the Mara. The Governor’s Il Moran Tented Camp is an ideal place to watch the herds this time. Other tented camps include Governor’s Main Camp, Little Governor’s Camp, Bataluer Camp, and Mara River Camp. The Moru area campsite is best.
The arrival of the short rains calls the migration southward. During the short rains of November the wildebeest migration is best viewed from either Lobo Wildlife Lodge or Klein’s Camp. Campsites in the Lobo area are best.
As November ends the wildebeest migration is making its way back to the southern Serengeti and early in the year they once again give birth – the circle of life is complete and nature’s greatest game show ends until the following year.