Wildebeest migration occurs both in Serengeti national park & Masai Mara national wildlife reserve and is also termed as the great wildebeest migration which is a fascinating and exhilarating experience that attracts several tourists from all over the world to witness this great movement of mammals with in Serengeti and Masai Mara eco systems. Wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park & Masai Mara national reserve involves a huge population of millions of Wildebeests together with hundreds of Zebras and other mammals such as Gazelles, Impalas and other animals as their predators follow them closely such as lions, jackals, Leopards, cheetahs, Hyenas among others and plenty of birds up in the skies including Vultures that makes the entire view of the migrating wildebeests more stunning and interesting. The Wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park & Masai Mara national reserve is mostly influenced by the fresh savanna vegetation thus wildebeests always move following the greener pasture all year round. This wildebeest migration starts from Serengeti national park to Masai Mara National reserve and back to Serengeti national park but the cycle moves on since their nature is that they must migrate thus nothing can stop the movement as long as it’s their time to move so it’s always crucial for tourists to know more about climatic conditions in both Serengeti and Masai Mara eco systems in order to target the best visiting period to watch Wildebeest migration in either Serengeti national park or in Masai Mara national reserve.
Wildebeests migrate in clockwise direction starting in Tanzania where they breed from to Kenya where they mate from and the cycle continues. In fact, wildebeest migration starts right away from breeding time to mating and the cycle continues throughout the year.
From December to March, as the southern part of Serengeti national park receives rainfall, a huge herds of Wildebeests alongside other mammals such as Zebras, Gazelles, Elands, Impalas among others are seen grazing on the fresh vegetation cover with in the southern part of Serengeti national park as their predators such as lions, hyenas, cheetahs are targeting the young wildebeests for their next meals since this is the breeding season and a lot of calves are bone with the climax of calving seen in February. This marks the beginning of the wildebeest migration with in the plains of Southern part of Serengeti national park that thrills with green vegetation during rainy seasons. At these time a huge population of wildebeests is born and the they start teaming up as they as the rains reduce and the vegetation in the south becomes dry in the months of March to April, these mighty wildebeests joined by other herbivores such as Zebras, gazelles, Elands, and many other small mammals join the millions of wildebeests as they start their migration to follow South –Central Seronera area heading to the fresher and green vegetation around Maswa game reserve in the south western part of Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area and by the beginning April, the vegetation also gets dry. December to march therefor marks the really beginning of wildebeest migration and it occur in the southern part of Serengeti national park. Making it the best time to Visit the park and witness a huge sum of wildebeests and other mammals teaming together to start their migration or already on migration.
From April to June, the wildebeests and other mammals proceed their migration to the western part of Serengeti national park and they are seen grazing in the western corridor following Grumeti river for fresh vegetation where they cross over amidst hungry crocodiles in River Grumeti but the fit survives and get to the other side of the river with rich vegetation where they graze throughout may as heading towards Mara river in the northern part of Serengeti national park as they target to cross the Mara river and graze in the opposite side of the river.
From July to September, a fascinating experience is witness as the wildebeests fiercely and painfully cross over the Mara River within Masai Mara –Serengeti ecosystem. The wildebeest are attracted by the thrilling vegetation on the opposite side of the river due to the rains thus tourists witness the struggle as several wildebeests drown in the river, other are seen being grabbed by the hungry crocodiles but the rest of the group has to push on until they get to the opposite side of the river where they also find hungry predators waiting to consume the weak ones but this doesn’t lead to extinction of wildebeests they still remain the largest population of mammals in the park. By the end of September the wildebeest are seen grazing in the savanna grassland of Masai Mara. This is yet the mating season of these wildebeests and the best time to visit Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya and it goes on up to the beginning of October depending on rain patterns.
From October to November, the Eastern part of Serengeti national park near river Grumeti receives rain thus abundant of food is available in the plains of Serengeti national and this then attracts the wildebeest to start their migration from Masai Mara back to Serengeti national park for fresh food as Masai Mara starts to experience dry months. Since the wildebeest migration occurs in clockwise direction so from Masai Mara, Wildebeests will take the same route via western part of Loliondo and proceed to Northern part of NCA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) corridor where they finally cross Grumeti river to the southern part of Serengeti national park where they will arrive in December in preparation for calving that goes on till late February and the Migration starts again.
What is the reason behind Wildebeest migration?
- Wildebeest migration is influenced by rain patterns as the wildebeests migrate to areas that receive rain.
- Wildebeests are attracted by fresh and green vegetation which is said to contain Phosphorous and Nitrogen thus they always migrate in search of these two crucial minerals.
- Wildebeests also migrate because it’s their nature that they must migrate and nothing can stop them not even a terrible encounter with the crocodiles while crossing rivers but they must migrate.
When is the best time for wildebeest migration experience?
Since the wildebeests are known of migrating annually, it’s always better to target the best months of visiting Masai Mara and Serengeti national park.
The months of July to September are best months for tourists who wish to experience a thrilling Wildebeest migration since it’s the period when these wildebeests are crossing Mara River and they stay in Mara till the beginning of October when they start their migration back to Serengeti national park. The months of December to March are favorable for tourist to visit Serengeti national park and enjoy a view of a huge population of wildebeests as they prepare to start the migration after calving.
However, at any given period of time wildebeests are seen but scattered amidst other mammals thus not giving the best experience expected as compared to the specific months of the real eye catching scene.