The wildebeest migration occurs in the savanna ecosystem of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. It includes 1.5 million wildebeests and 200000 zebras along with thousands of topis, Thompson’s gazelles and impalas which migrate in separate huge herds looking for green pastures and water. The rainfall seasons change every year and so the animals follow a path that rotates through the two national parks.
The great migration is in Tanzania in the months of December, January, February, March, April, May and June to July. During these months, important events of the migration happen in Serengeti National Park including birthing season and Grumeti River crossings.
By end of the year in December and the start of the New Year from January to February, the wildebeests are giving birth in the southern plains of Serengeti National Park. More than 8000 calves are born every day according to National Geographic (NATGEO Wild) statistics. The big cats: lions, leopards, cheetahs and other small predators such as African wild dogs and jackals lie in ambush to devour the helpless young animals. Many calves survive and the number of wildebeests will increase. The migrating herds get bigger moving from the south to the western part of Serengeti National Park which includes the Grumeti Game Reserve. Around April to May, the calves are mature enough to handle the obstacle that lies ahead – crossing of the Grumeti River lasts until June to July. But before the first river crossings take place, the animals scatter into several herds across the central Serengeti. Known also as Seronera Valley, the Big Five animals especially black rhinos, elephants and leopards are common sights in the area.
Once through the central Serengeti, the mating season of the wildebeests starts around May to July in the Grumeti Game Reserve. The animals have to cross the major Grumeti River and the smaller Mbalagati River after which they move northwards through Ikorongo controlled hunting area.
With the abundance of water and pastures, the wildebeests will activate their energy for the biggest and final obstacle of their migration. The Mara River crossing takes place from August to September. After crossing over from Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, the wildebeests scatter in separate herds which occupy the famous Mara Triangle until October to November when they again cross the smaller Talek river to return to Tanzania. This area has several camps and lodges positioned along the path where animals path.
Given that each country has got a unique safari experience, deciding whether to go to Kenya or Tanzania for a migration safari depends on several factors. Most importantly what do you want to get out of your holiday? Choose Kenya for spectacular Mara river crossings and big cats sightings in Masai Mara National Reserve. In addition, Kenya combines the migration with great unique traditional safaris including Amboseli National Park home to the last of Africa’s big tusker elephants and beautiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro; the camel riding safari in Samburu wilderness; the pink flamingos and black rhinos in Lake Nakuru National Park and the unique experiences in Nairobi city such as the giraffe manor centre and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Winding up with a beach holiday in Lamu or Mombasa along the coast of the Indian Ocean makes Kenya safari great.
Going to Tanzania on the other hand offers the opportunity to view the
There are different activities to view the migration such as game drives, hot air balloon safaris and walking safaris, and mobile and fly camping experiences. Each provides a unique way to view wildlife and nature thus you need to choose what you prefer while booking the migration safari. If hard for you, GoExplore Safari experts help you out with a great migration safari experience in Kenya and Tanzania.
Besides just viewing wildlife, several activities are available to incorporate into your trip. From city tours, visiting the Maasai people, boat rides, photography safaris, bird watching and adventures of different kinds including rafting and kayaking trips.
The cycle of the wildebeest migration involves different events such as the calving / birthing season, the mating season and the river crossings. Each phenomenon occurs in a different park thus it’s important to have in mind a certain event and plan your safari accordingly. By doing so we will determine the best time of the year to plan to your migration trip to Kenya or Tanzania.
There are different styles of safari accommodation in East Africa. It’s much better to book that which suits your travel budget but also allows you to view the migration and wildlife. For instance, mobile camping is a great choice for those intending to track and follow the wildebeest migration from point A to point B. Permanent lodges and camps on the other hand allow you to stay in one position from where you can always go for activities away and return back in the evenings.
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