The Great Migration
One of the natural travel wonders of the world, the largest mammal migration in the world takes place on the plains and grasslands of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.
Although the animals are pretty much constantly on the move, there are a couple of times in the cycle when it is ‘peak season’ to see this amazing site, January – February for the birthing period in the southern Serengeti and July – September when the herds all mass on the plains of the Mara. For travel in these months it’s best to book a year or more in advance as rooms at the various luxury camps and lodges are in demand. Contact me to plan the ultimate African Safari holiday to witness one of the natural world’s greatest spectacles.
If you have been inspired by TV programmes featuring this amazing event such as Big Cat Diary (filmed in the Mara) contact me to arrange your own big cat safari experience in the heart of the migration as well!
The Serengeti – Mara eco system is one of the oldest in the world and consists of around two million herbivores, mainly Wildebeest and Zebra, who travel in a clockwise direction following the sweetest grass and the rains. Around a quarter of a million Wildebeest will perish on the 500 mile journey, from thirst, hunger, exhaustion and predation.
From June, the herds start arriving into Kenya from the Northern Serengeti, crossing the Mara river, dodging hungry crocodiles, slipping and sliding up the steep river banks. Throughout July and August herds congregate from all directions and move back and forth around the Masai Mara and it’s surrounding conservancy areas, frequently crossing the Talek and Mara Rivers and tributaries as they go. By October they are heading south again – following the scent of the short rains that area building around the mountains of Northern Tanzania. As they cross through the edge of Northern Serengeti and through the Maasai homelands of Loliondo there becomes a sense of urgency, knowing that they have to pass through the hilly areas around Ngorongoro to get to the short grass plains of the south of the Serengeti to find safer, flatter ground for their young to be born.
Around January time most of the herds are in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, some in the crater itself but most on the plains below around Lake Ndutu bordering southern Serengeti. This is where the calving takes place and action carries on 24 hours a day as the resident lions take advantage of the young, slow on their feet and being followed closely by the scavenging hyenas, jackals and vultures. By March the wildebeest are on the move again, heading west through Kusini area and through the central Serengeti kopjes and on to the Grumeti River in the Western Corridor. Throughout April and May when the long rains come they are usually in the private conservancies to the west of the Serengeti or around Ikoma and Kirawira. Heading north again in June, they pass the Lemai Wedge and the Kogantende and Lobo regions of northern Serengeti before ending up once again on the plains of the Masai Mara for the cycle to continue as it has done since the dawn of time …..
Ask me about the best location to be at any particular time of the year to see this amazing event and I’ll recommend the best placed camp or activity for your requirements.
If you want to see a migration of a different kind, with over two million animals including some rare antelope species, take a look at South Sudan. There is also the bat migration in Kasanka, Zambia and the blue wildebeest migration in West Zambia at Liuwa plains. The zebra migration in Botswana is a sight to behold too in the Kalahari … so many thousands of animals to go and see!