Wildebeest Migration in the Masai Mara
Do you know about the famous yearly Wildebeest migration?
We receive alot of these questions. Just for you information.
Patterns of the Great Migration:
The great trek usually begins in Tanzania and the Serengeti in January after the herds have exhausted the available pastures.
The migration involves well over a million animals and approximate 500 miles of travel. The true migrants are the Wildebeest or White bearded gnu and Zebra. Thompsons and Grants gazelles participate but only partially while the predators only trail the herds for obvious reasons easy prey! It is questionable whether the Zebra make the full journey and it is certain that the gazelles do not leave the Serengeti
At this time of the year the wildebeests are scattered across the medium and short grass plains south of Serengeti depending on the water and grazing. They criss-cross the plains with large concentrations remining around Lake Ndutu and Olduvai gorge. Many travel onto Ngorongoro crater increasing the numbers of animals in the crater considerably.
At this time, there are scattered thunderstorms on the plains, the surface waterholes are full and the grazing is good. Wildebeete calving occurs in February and there are literally hundreds of calves. Predatory activity is high with an abundance of Lion, Cheetah, spotted Hyena with frequent sighting of Leopard.
By the end of March, the rains begin to taper off and the surface waterholes begin to dry up, the grazing is becoming short and the animals begin to panic. The wildebeest begin to gather into large herds and start moving north and west towards Lake Victoria as they graze. The herds continue west following Grumeti river and reach within 20 miles of Lake Victoria. It is for this reason the western arm of the Serengeti was included in the national park and is called the migration corridor.
The animals move off the plains into high country and the corridor.
The herds are still moving off the plains and into the corridor.
The great herds are now in the corridor. At the same time during June the herds move north again through Musoma and head for the Masai Mara in Kenya. Depending on the rain and grazing they reach the Mara river towards the end of July.
July, August, September
The great herds are more concentrated now and remain in Masai Mara area approximately 2-3 months. During this period the courtship and breeding takes place. By the end of September they have consumed most of the grass from the Mara river to the Loita plains in Masai Mara.
They become restless and start moving south through the Keekorok (Masai Mara) and Lobo (Serengeti) Valleys en-route to the plains.
The herds are normally in the highlands, acacia woodland around Lobo in Tanzania. They arrive on the long plains of the Serengeti around Seronera at the end of November and stay in this area for about a month before dispersing onto the vast plains that form the medium and short grass areas of the Serengeti ecosystem.
The herds are in Seronera area (central Serengeti) and the long grassy plains.
The cycle repeats itself.