Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti and Masai Mara
Wildebeest migration in Serengeti and Masai Mara: the wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve sees over 2 million of wildebeests joined together with several hundreds of Thomson’s gazelle, zebra and thousands of elands, impalas and other mammals that make up the great migration always followed closely by the predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and good number of birds up in the skies that make this migration look more awesome. As of now, wildebeest migration is one of the most enjoyed tourist activity experienced seasonally with in Tanzania and Kenya in Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve respectively. The great Wildebeest migration is referred to as the movement of mammals with most especially the wildebeests which are always joined by other mammals including zebras, elands, gazelles and other mammals as they move from one place to another seasonally following the pattern of rain with in Serengeti – Mara eco system. The migration is always followed by the predators such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards and several birds most especially vultures. These predators be targeting their next meals while the birds be waiting for the remains of the mammals after the carnivores are done feeding. The entire Wildebeest migration is the most refreshing thing to see while on an east Africa safari to either Tanzania or Kenya as nothing can ever put a halt at the migration, let it be predators, waterbodies or anything as long as the mammals decide to move they must move following fresh vegetation cover ahead. The wildebeest migration starts in Serengeti national park immediately after calving and moves in clockwise direction to Masai Mara national reserve where the mating process takes place and them later on return to Serengeti in time to calve again and the migration repeats itself. So easily enjoy the wildebeest migration, tourists need to first inquire about the climate changes in Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve in order to visit the right place at the right time.
Let’s take a look at the wildebeest migration process depending on rain patterns and months of the year;
During the months of December to march which are known as calving months, tourists are advised to visit the southern part of Serengeti national park due to existence of fresh vegetation and rainfall. So during these months, a large population of wildebeest alongside other mammals such as gazelles, zebras, among others are seen grazing in the plains of southern Serengeti national park while predators are also seen feasting on the calves which are unable to resist the attack. Calving moves on up to mid-February and after calving, the real migration starts as the wildebeests are seen teaming up in a huge population as they prepare to start their migration from southern part of Serengeti national park due to reduced rain thus they start moving following the fresher and greener pasture and this is seen towards the end of March. Thus the best season to the months of December to march are best seasons to visit southern part of Serengeti national park to have a view of large population of wildebeests after calving as they make up a strong team ready to move and overcome any obstacles along the way. At this time, the rain fall in southern part of Tanzania is minimal and the vegetation is getting drier so the migration will lead to Seronera area which is still fresh as they proceed to south western Maswa game reserve which thrills with fresh vegetation. The migration later on continues to Ngorongoro conservation area where they stay until the end of March.
During the months of April to June, the western part of Serengeti national park receives rain falls which attracts the great wildebeest migration and this leads the migration towards the western corridor as they wildebeests and other mammals are seen grazing along the shores of river Grumeti targeting to cross the river and head to the northern park of Serengeti national park. Watching the wildebeests as they cross river Grumeti is so fascinating and threatening at the same time as you watch some of the wildebeests being drowned by the river while the rest are eaten by the hungry crocodiles with in the river. But with all these challenges, the survivors have to proceed their migration to achieve their mission of migrating. This implies that tourists who wish to witness Grumeti river crossing ought to visit Serengeti national park during the months of late May to June when the wildebeest are seen crossing and grazing as they head to river Mara in the northern part awaiting for another war of crossing the Mara River which is tougher than crossing Grumeti.
During the months of July to September, the opposite areas along river Mara receives rainfall and the northern part of Masai Mara is getting dry thus the migration has to continue as the wildebeests and other mammals head to the fresher part of river Mara. This moment is worth a watch as several wildebeests are eaten by the crocodiles within Mara River while the rest that survive the attack proceed to the Masai Mara national reserve where a war proceeds as they encounter with the predators also waiting to enjoy the weak and tired mammals after crossing the river. The remaining population of wildebeests then start mating while grazing on fresh vegetation cover in plains of Masai Mara national reserve and this goes on up to the end of September or even early October.
During the months of October to November, the rains stop in Masai Mara national reserve and the areas near river Grumeti starts receiving rainfall again thus the wildebeest have nothing to do but to experience the terrifying movement back to Serengeti national park crossing Masai Mara and river Grumeti river again till they get to southern part of Serengeti national park where they arrive in the months of December for calving up to February and the migration pattern restarts in march.
The reasons behind migration of wildebeest’s remains a myth as some people say that it’s their nature to migrate and they must migrate, while others say that they migrate in search of fresh vegetation to feed on and the best time to enjoy visit Serengeti national park for wildebeest migration is during the months of calving months between Decembers to march while the best time to visit Masai Mara for wildebeest migration is during the months of July to September when the wildebeests are painfully seen crossing the crocodile infested Mara River. However, these wildebeest are seen scattered with in Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti national park at any given period of time all year round.