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  • The Great (Wildebeest) Migration in Serengeti National Park

The Great (Wildebeest) Migration in Serengeti National Park

Introduction

The highlight of an East African safari is having the chance to experience the Annual Great Migration in either the Serengeti or Masai (Maasai) Mara National Reserve, depending on the time you plan to travel. Both parks are equally spectacular to witness the largest movement of wildlife on earth, when over a million Wildebeest migrate and are joined by hundreds of thousands of zebra and Thomson's gazelles with the main predators always being close by.

The Great Annual Migration is a natural event and the timing changes month by month; year by year, depending on the weather and when the rains start. Therefore there can be no guarantee in advance where the annual migration will be at any specific time.

Generally the migration is in Kenya's Masai (Maasai) Mara between the months of July/August to November, heading southwards, when the short rains are due to start, towards Serengeti National Park, in Tanzania.

The best time to go on safari and witness the event in Serengeti National Park is December to February and from May to July.

In December the migrating Zebra's begin to give birth in the northern part of the Serengeti and from late January through to about middle of March, is the Wildebeest calving season, when large herds tend to concentrate in the Southern Serengeti National Park spilling over to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. During these months, the plains with their new fresh, abundant short-grass, provide the perfect feeding ground for migrating animals to stay for about 10 - 12 weeks.

The Predators; such as Lion, Cheetah, Leopard and hunting dogs with vultures circling overhead. are never far away as there is always the chance of an easy hunt on a newly born or young Wildebeest, Zebra or even a Gazelle. This is the prime time for a safari in the Serengeti.

During the months of April or early May the migration is due to be in the south-western region of the Serengeti. At this time the area is extremely wet with many roads being impassable, these 2 months it is not recommended for Migration viewing

However, afterwards, June and July is generally a perfect time to catch the wildlife migrating along the Western Corridor, slowly heading northwards. And come August the Migration is in the far north, heading in Kenya.

Note that provided the rains come as predicted July and August is the most favourable time to catch the popular river crossing on the Mara River from Masai (Maasai) Mara National Reserve.

Note: The migration monthly timetable is to be used as a guide. The Great Migration pattern varies from one year to the next, as it all depends on the start of the rains. Be aware that it is possible for the herds to be anything from between 50 to 200 kms range from where the animals are expected to be at any given time of the year.

JANUARY
The migration is concentrated in the south-eastern Serengeti National Park, spilling over into the Ngorongoro Crater - the wildebeest start to give birth

FEBRUARY
The short-grass plains are the main feeding ground for over 1.7 million Wildebeest, 800,000 Zebra and many Gazelle. Predators follow close by, feeding on the newly born. There is plenty of food for the predators at this time. This is the main month for Wildebeest births. The great herds are on the move towards the Ndutu Woodlands. This month is also known as the calving season.

MARCH
The commencement of long and heavy rains is the time when the fresh grass is now depleted from several months of grazing and newborn Wildebeest are strong enough to move and keep up with the migration. Now is when the migration heads westwards towards Maswa Game reserve in search of better grazing.

APRIL/MAY
Heaviest rainy month and the herds are in the Maswa area, with the Wildebeest being almost evenly scattered in the region, although it is not a great month to view them as the region is very wet and roads are often impassable.

JUNE
Rains comes to an end and the herds start migrating northward, crossing the Grumeti River, where many Wildebeest and Zebra lose their lives every year, but provide a yearly feast for the huge crocodiles who wait at the popular crossing points. This is a popular time for sighting the large cats. July /August All going on schedule, the migration should now be in the northern Serengeti crossing over to Kenya's Masai Mara.

JULY/AUGUST
Regarded as the best months to see the River Crossing on the Mara River from Masai Mara, offering fantastic photographic opportunities.

SEPTEMBER
The migration should now be in Kenya's Masai Mara Nature Reserve just across the northern border from the Serengeti National Park. This is the best said to be the best time to visit Masai Mara.

OCTOBER
The time when Maasai Mara Nature Reserve having plentiful supplies of water and good grazing, hence a popular month to view the great herds in the Masai Mara.

NOVEMBER
If the short rains come this month, the migrating herds of Wildebeest, Zebra and Gazelle will start to head southwards, out of the Masai Mara National Reserve, crossing Kenya's border into Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

DECEMBER
Usually the migration will now be arriving on Serengeti's Southern plains, where there is abundance of new, fresh young grass to feed on. When the migration heads southward to Southern Serengeti, the migrating Zebras begin to give birth.

If viewing and experiencing the Great Migration is on your safari wish-list, then there are a few points that you should take into consideration when planning what will undoubtedly be a once in a lifetime experience.

Establish where the migration is likely to be at the time you visit and should consider a private safari for just you and your group. This will provide you with greater flexibility for changing the itinerary or making diversions to ensure you catch the movement as you go along. A private safari will provide you with the ability to stop for as long as you wish in one place which is especially important if you want to get capture the migration in some great photos.

Recommended Migration Safaris in the Serengeti

The Great Serengeti Migration Safari in Tanzania
The Great Serengeti Migration Safari in Tanzania
Come and see the World's Greatest wildlife migration visiting Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire. The best time to visit is December to February and from May to July.
10 Days - USD $2,662
Tanzania: Great Tour and Zanzibar Beach Holiday
Tanzania: Great Tour and Zanzibar Beach Holiday
This Safari covers the highlights of Tanzania: the migration in the Serengeti, the stunning Ngorongoro Crater and the wild and adventurous Selous Park. At the end of this trip you will relax on a pristine beach in Zanzibar
19 Days - USD $12,955
Great Wildebeest Migration Lodge Safari, Tanzania
Great Wildebeest Migration Lodge Safari, Tanzania
This safari allows you to witness the very best of Tanzania. You will revel in all the wildlife viewing opportunities on the fabled plains of the Serengeti, around Lake Manyara, Tarangire & Ngorongoro
11 Days - USD $5,770
Big Five Safari in Tanzania - 7 days
Big Five Safari in Tanzania - 7 days
This safari takes you through the highlights of the unrivalled Parks of Northern Tanzania. This region has a natural abundance of wildlife, and protects the annual migration of millions of animals.
7 Days - USD $2,156
Short Wildebeest Migration Safari in Tanzania
Short Wildebeest Migration Safari in Tanzania
This Safari gives you a chance to visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ngorongoro Crater to experience Wildlife and Bird Watching, Scenery, Culture, Ethnic, Photography, and Historical Site.
3 Days - USD $969
The Best of Northern Tanzania Safari 11days
The Best of Northern Tanzania Safari 11days
This safari takes you through the highlights of the unrivalled Parks of Northern Tanzania. This region has a natural abundance of wildlife, and protects the annual migration of millions of animals
11 Days - USD $2,604
 

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