Maasai Mara Wildebeest Migration Safari

Migration of Wildebeest in the Maasai Mara National Reserve The migration of one million wildebeest or more from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the neighboring Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya is what is known as “The Great Migration.” It is one of the most amazing and exciting displays of animal behavior that can be seen […]
Maasai Mara Wildebeest Safari

Feb 19, 2023

Migration of Wildebeest in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

The migration of one million wildebeest or more from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the neighboring Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya is what is known as “The Great Migration.” It is one of the most amazing and exciting displays of animal behavior that can be seen anywhere in the world. Every year, the migration occurs as a result of the animals’ innate behaviors, which lead them to seek richer pastures in accordance with the climatic rainfall patterns that prevail over the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem. It is recommended that you arrange your trip for the middle of July for the seasons of 2021 and 2022. This is because this is when the migration normally begins in earnest, with the bigger herds of wildebeest beginning their march into Masai Mara. The migration continues until the end of August, after which it begins to taper down and continues until the middle of September.

While the exact numbers change from year to year, during previous migrations there were as many as 1.5 million wildebeest, almost a million zebras, and a vast number of other species that participated in the long journey that lasted for many weeks. Their travel is particularly fraught with peril since they must bridge the crocodile-infested Mara and Talek rivers along the route. Several of them are unable to escape the huge Nile crocodiles that are lying in wait for their victims throughout this portion of the voyage.

A Comprehensive Overview Of The Wildebeest Migration
In the interest of simplicity and clarity, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked concerns about migration that we get from travelers who are considering booking a safari in Kenya.

When in the year does the Great Wildebeest Migration take place? Although the migration into Masai Mara normally begins in July and continues until late September, the specific dates surrounding this time period are not predictable until the first huge wildebeest herds actually begin to collect at the northern tip of Serengeti as they approach the Mara. Since it is not always possible to determine precisely when the final leg of the migration will begin due to the fact that the first herds have been known to congregate in one location for an extended period of time without actually crossing into the Mara,

When would you recommend going to Masai Mara to get the finest view of the Great Migration? Taking into consideration that the migration is a gradual process that unfolds over the course of several weeks in a variety of locations along the Serengeti–Masai Mara border, we believe that the best time to view it is between the middle of July and the end of August. This recommendation is based on decades of experience. If we had to narrow it down any further to which month is ideal to watch the migration, we would probably choose August as the best month to do so.

Where do wildebeest travel to and where do they originate? The migration of wildebeest from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara is determined by a number of factors, including the weather, the availability of forage, and the mating and calving seasons. It is important to keep in mind that the wildebeest migrate throughout the year in a generally clockwise direction, covering vast areas that reach into Southern, Central, and Western Serengeti, before the year-long trek brings them to Masai Mara around July or August. This migration covers a vast area that includes all of Serengeti. Towards the end of October, they begin the trek that will take them back to the Serengeti, albeit this one is less spectacular and more like a sluggish dispersion.

What are your thoughts on the Great Wildebeest Migration? On a safari gamedrive in the Masai Mara Game reserve, which is performed in specially equipped vehicles driven by knowledgeable Driver-Guides, you will get the opportunity to see the Great Migration. It may be necessary to reach and place oneself at these spots during a day-long adventure in the reserve since there are numerous primary sites where the wildebeest cross the rivers. This is because some of the lodges and camps may be up to an hour’s drive from the optimal viewpoint points. The majority of visitors who come specifically to view the migration consider witnessing the river crossings to be a highlight of their trip. As a result, they wish to spend an adequate amount of time at these crossing points, which, by the way, have a tendency to shift slightly from year to year even though they remain within a generally consistent sublocality of the reserve.

Wildebeest Migration Taken One Month at a Time
Many people are under the impression that the Great Migration only takes place once a year; however, the migration is really a phenomena that occurs throughout the whole year and provides visitors with a variety of fascinating and novel opportunities to see animals at different times of the year. The river crossing is one of the most popular events of the migration, and it often takes place around the busiest time of year for safaris. Because of this, many people believe that this is the only time of year when wildebeest are moving or may be seen. This crossing often takes place at the Mara River during the months of late July and August, as well as sections of September, and then once again on their way back south, between the final two weeks of October and the beginning of November. Because of this, the optimum periods to see and monitor the yearly wildebeest migration in Masai Mara are as follows: The following is a broad breakdown of more or less where the herds are throughout the year, keeping in mind that it is impossible to forecast the movement of the herds since it is spurred by rain, which may be early, late, or “on time.”
December up to April
Herds of animals may be seen to the south of Serengeti National Park, between the plains of Ndutu and Ngorongoro, depending on whether or not it has rained recently. As a result, the most desirable location to be at during these four months is the Serengeti’s far south. During the month of February, the calving season begins, and there is a greater likelihood of seeing a wildebeest calf being born around this time. The herds are making rapid progress as they look for suitable meadows that will give them with nutrition for when their offspring arrive. When the lions and leopards are going to this location to hunt on the young and fragile calves, it is also quite possible that there would be an encounter between the predators. The herds start their migration to the north toward the end of March or the beginning of April, moving slowly and consistently. Many of them have already departed and are already in the middle or even western part of the Serengeti.

Wildebeest in Ndutu plains, Serengeti

From May until June.
During this time of the year, it seems like all of the migrating herds are making their way northward in search of new pastures and sources of water. The migration typically occurs in enormous columns that can sometimes be seen as the wildebeest funnel up into the central and western Serengeti. These columns can be up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length and often contain hundreds of thousands of animals. They are joined by a large number of zebras as well as a scattering of Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles. The end of the rainy season occurs in June; historically, this is the time of year when people cross the Grumeti River; however, this is mostly contingent on the water level in the Grumeti River ( here you may spot Nile Crocodiles). This bridge is not nearly as breathtaking as the crossings of the Mara River, however it is still quite impressive.

The Serengeti National Park is home to a variety of animals.

Between July and September
The moment has arrived for the main event, which is the beginning of the significant Mara River crossing. The herds have now entered the western part of the Serengeti National Park as well as the Grumeti Reserve, and they are taking a careful look at the murky waters of the rivers that they will need to cross. The herd of survivors keeps traveling northwards during the month of August, entering the northern Serengeti and starting their crossing into the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The herd splits up into smaller groups; nearly half of the animals are still in the northern Serengeti, the rest of the wildebeest will have made it across the Mara River, and the majority of the herds will be in the Greater Masai Mara area, where they will be feeding on the lush green grass resources before continuing their journey north towards the private conservancies (Mara North, Olare Orok). Watching the wildebeest herds make their way over the Mara River is often considered to be one of the most exciting and memorable parts of the migration.


The Months of October and November
The wildebeest herds are once again migrating with a greater degree of harmony; everyone is moving toward the south, passing through western Loliondo and the Lobo region of the Serengeti National Park on their way back to the green shoots. Both Kogatende and Lamai are now good places to look for the herds (Northern Serengeti). In a “regular year,” the first month of the brief rains would be November. The herds have now arrived in the Serengeti and are settled in the Lobo, Mbuze Mawe, and Seronera Valley regions, all of which have ample supplies of water. Because of the abundance of new grass, wildebeest have begun to congregate in the northeastern section of the Serengeti (in particular, near Lobo) in addition to the southern half of the park. In the process of calving again, predators find new territories, and the life cycle starts from the very beginning once more.

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