Great Wildebeast Migration

The great wildebeast migration of Serengeti in Tanzania is a world renowned phenomenon where millions of Wildebeasts, Zebras & a horde of predators along with them migrate towards northern Tanzania & bits of Kenya’s Masai Mara park in search of richer, greener pastures & water. It is one among the last few biological spectacles of its kind present on the planet. 

The gigantic size of the wildeebeasts, the sheer numbers traverse across land & cross rivers is truly mind-boggling & attracts spectators & wildlife enthusiasts from across the globe. More so, if you’re lucky,  you may even get to witness predator action that’s only otherwise witnessed on National Geographic Channel!   

Myths about the Migration

There are some popularly held myths regarding the great wilderbeast migration. As a potential & eager traveller to Tanzania or a fellow wildlife enthusiast, you deserve to know the correct details.

  1.  The Migration takes place only during the peak season from June to September: The wildebeasts migrate all year round. They are undoubtedly more active during the peak seasons when they are scrambling in search of greener pastures & fresh sources of water but they can be seen throbbing in huge numbers all year round
  2. A huge part of the migration is in Kenya: Contrary to popularly held beliefs, the migration mostly takes place in Tanzania itself. Yes, some herds of Wildebeasts do breach the Tanzania-Kenyan border but most of them are confined to the northern parts of Tanzania itself.
  3. The Migration can be accurately predicted: Very few things in nature can be accurately predicted; unfortunately predicting the exact date when the Wildebeast herds will cross the river is not one of them. Skilled tour guides tend to be right with their estimation based on geographic conditions, weather etc. but there’s no guarantee. 
Thankfully, we at TheAfricanQuest, specialize at Wilderbeast migration safaris & have had tremendous success with showcasing the migration to avid spectators from all over the globe.

The Migration Cycle: Month by Month

 

serengeti migration

January to March: At this point the wildebeasts are returning back towards the southern side of Serengeti & bordering the Ngorongoro conservation centre  (as you can see in the infographic above). Although they do not enter the innards of the crater rim, the ones present within the Ngorongoro are the resident wildebeasts. 

 

During the first two months, the herds graze around the southern side of the Serengeti plains & dry the pastures. At this point, it is calving season, which means the tourists visiting Serengeti will witness a bunch of new born wildebeasts (Soo Cute!) but it also means that they will be surrounded by extremely cautious mothers who will protect their offsprings from bloodthirsty predators at all costs!   

 

Towards the end of this quarter, the beasts are on their way towards greener pastures (literally) & have begun  gathering all herds together to begin their march towards western Serengeti

 

April to June: The wilderbeasts now begin their journey their journey towards the central Serengeti. Huge hoardes stretching about 25 kms long can be seen best through a baloon safari. Unfortunately, this is also an opportune time for predators to pounce on unsuspecting & isolated wildebeasts. The action is real & can readily be seen by human eyes. This is a great time to see nature at its finest. 

The beasts now border the Maswa game reserve, the weather is cool but dry. The beasts will have to look for a source of water quickly to quench their thirst. The northward journey begins!

July to September: Book your tickets soon folks! Its time for the main event! Millions of Wildebests are swarming across the plush grasslands of the Grumeti game reserves that are filled with tall sprouts of grass & freshwater from the Nile. The wildebeasts begin the crossing but all of a sudden a huge commotion stops the fabled ritual. The beasts that are yet to cross the river glare onto it closely. The river is festooned with the infamous Nile river crocodile that have been waiting for an opportunity like this one.

Many wildebeasts will fall prey to the crocodiles at this point & it will also make for an excellent national geographic film. The wildebeasts will chalk out alternative routes to get across. It is possible that you may be standed for days before you get an opportunity to see some live footage, your chances do significantly increase if you book with skilled tour guides such as the ones we have here at theafricanquest. 

Many accommodations that are located in the pathway of the great wildebeast migration prepare for a great influx of tourists, The Ndutu Safari lodge near Serengeti is one such example.  

The survivors from the river onslaughts are rewarded will delicious grasslands in the northern Serengeti. At this point, a few of the beasts manage to stray into the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya. Unlike us, the beasts do not need supporting travel documents. However, most of them remain in northern Serengeti feasting heartily on the grasses

July to September: Book your tickets soon folks! Its time for the main event! Millions of Wildebests are swarming across the plush grasslands of the Grumeti game reserves that are filled with tall sprouts of grass & freshwater from the Nile. The wildebeasts begin the crossing but all of a sudden a huge commotion stops the fabled ritual. The beasts that are yet to cross the river glare onto it closely. The river is festooned with the infamous Nile river crocodile that have been waiting for an opportunity like this one.

Many wildebeasts will fall prey to the crocodiles at this point & it will also make for an excellent national geographic film. The wildebeasts will chalk out alternative routes to get across. It is possible that you may be stranded for days before you get an opportunity to see some live footage, your chances do significantly increase if you book with skilled tour guides such as the ones we have here at theafricanquest. Also, noteworthy to mention is that the great migration does not consist only of the Wilderbeasts, there are a number of Zebras and other wild animals that also join the rush hour! 

Many accommodations that are located in the pathway of the great wildebeast migration prepare for a great influx of tourists, The Ndutu Safari lodge near Serengeti is one such example.  

The survivors from the river onslaughts are rewarded will delicious grasslands in the northern Serengeti. At this point, a few of the beasts manage to stray into the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya. Unlike us, the beasts do not need supporting travel documents. However, most of them remain in northern Serengeti feasting heartily on the grasses

October to December: The months of October-November are probably the only 2 months that make the Masai Mara reserve a better viewpoint for the migration but is is also crowded by a number of tourists. High possibility of rainfall, so, beware of a possibly ruined game drive experience. 

Towards the end of this quarter, the beasts begin their journey back to Serengeti which has now been completely revitalized. Almost immediately, the rains cool everything down & temperatures drop significantly. Temperatures in Serengeti during December can drop to 16 Degrees Celsius. 

 

The months of November & December are also excellent Safari seasons & the good news is that these months are sparsely populated with tourists. The only downside is the occassional rains, which, if predicted correctly should not be a problem at all. TheAfricanQuest provides great Tanzanian tours at very good prices for this season. 

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