The Great Wildebeest Migration
The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of wildebeest which is accompanied by other animals in large numbers such as zebras, and other animals which are in small numbers and these animals include Grant’s gazelle, Thomson gazelle, impalas and elands. This migration is done annually and was fairly predictable until in recent years where is a little bit altered by the weather conditions but is still as predictable as it was before. The animals in the Serengeti migrate annually throughout the year seeking for fresh grazing grounds and they are migrating in accordance to rainfall which ensures the growth of fresh feeding grasses that ensures their survival and the survival of their offspring’s. These animals are entirely dependent on the rainfall pattern each year to perform their migration.
The month by month wildebeest migration in the Serengeti starts when the short rains begin around early November, a little late November and December the herds of wildebeest arrive on the short grass plains of the Serengeti around south and east of Seronera, around Ndutu and around Ngorongoro conservation area. In these areas wildebeest and zebras are seen everywhere feeding on the fresh grasses. The animals stay here through January, February and march with most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February and March. Then around April they start their great migration north.
Around May the wildebeest all seem to be moving north seeking fresh grasses and water, the area around Moru kopjes and west of Seronera is filled with a series of moving columns of wildebeest which contains hundreds of thousands of other animals such as zebras and scattering Thomsons and Grants Gazelles.
Around June the wildebeest migration is often stopped on the south side of Grumeti River which has some channels that block or slow their migration north. Then they cross the Grumeti River and by doing so they provide an annual feast for the Grumeti River’s large Crocodiles.
During July and August the migration continues moving northwards and often spreading out across a broad front some heading through Grumeti reserve and Ikorongo, others north through the heart of the Serengeti national park.
Around September the herds are seen spreading out across the northern Serengeti where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle. This river gushes through the northern Serengeti from Kenya’s adjacent Maasai Mara Game reserve. Here herds can be seen crossing the Mara River and this is very spectacular, there are often of great panic and confusion. It is often common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day and then back south a few days later.
By October the wildebeest herds are migrating again with more accord and all are heading south, through western Loliondo and Serengeti national park’s Lobo area, Returning to the green shoots which follow the rains on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti in November to start the migration circle again.
The itinerary for the wildebeest migration can be arranged passing through Natron all the way to the Serengeti, but the exact itinerary will depend on the location of the migration herds at that time.