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The endless plains of east Africa are
the setting for the world's greatest wildlife spectacle - the 1.5
million animal ungulate (wildebeest) migration. From the vast Serengeti
plains to the champagne colored hills of Kenya's Masai Mara over
1.4 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra and gazelle, relentlessly
tracked by Africa's great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion
over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass.
There is no real beginning or end to
a wildebeest's journey. Its life is an endless pilgrimage, a constant
search for food and water. The only beginning is at the moment of
birth. An estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during a
six week period early each year - usually between late January and
DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH
The Serengeti National Park / Ngorongoro
Conservation Area is arguably the most impressive wildlife sanctuary
in the world. During the months December through March the seemingly
unending plains of the southern Serengeti and the Conservation Area
are inhabited by enormous herds of wildebeest and zebra. The great
herds graze on rain ripened grass.
In the calving season (late January
through mid March) the herds concentrate at the Ndutu and Salei
plains (Southern Serengeti / Ngorongoro Conservation Area) attracting
the attention of predators like lion, cheetah and hyena. During
this period the migration is best observed from Ndutu Safari Lodge,
Kusini Camp or any of several private tented camps used by mobile
safaris such as our "Classic Tanzanian Tented Safari".
These include campsites in the Ndutu/Naabi area.
During the months April and May the
depleted plains are unable to sustain the endless herds. The migration,
sweeping west and north, moves from the short grass plains of the
southern Serengeti / Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the long grass
plains and woodland of the Serengeti's western Corridor, almost
to Lake Victoria. This period is during the long rains and is considered
off season for wildlife viewing in east Africa as roads are often
impassable. Ndutu Safari Lodge, Kusini Camp and the Serengeti Serena
Lodge are fine for wildlife viewing during this time. So are campsites
in the Ndutu/Naabi area.
By the end of May the wildebeest have exhausted the Western Corridor's
best pastures and the herds must move further north. Entering the
Lamai Wedge and the Mara Triangle breeding occurs May through June.
This is a transitional period between the rains and the dry season.
The Serengeti Serena is a central, easily accessible lodge for viewing
the migration at this time. Grumeti River Camp, Migration Camp and
Kirawira Camp are also options. Seronera and Moru area campsites
JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER
By July the countless herds have amassed along the swollen Mara
River - a final barrier from the short sweet grasses of the Masai
Mara. Sometimes the crossing place they have chosen is shallow allowing
the majority of animals to pass safely. In other areas the waters
boil with drowning wildebeest and slashing crocodiles.
Between July and October the wildebeest
reside in the Mara. We recommend Governor's Il Moran Tented Camp
as the leading safari camp in the Masai Mara. Other tented camps
include Governor's Main Camp, Little Governor's Camp, Bataluer Camp,
and Mara River Camp. Tanzanian lodges recommended during this time
include Kirawira Tented, Migration Camp, and Grumeti River Camp.
Kirawira and Moru area campsites are best.
The arrival of the short rains call the migration southward. During
the short rains of November the wildebeest migration is best viewed
from either Lobo Wildlife Lodge or Klein's Camp. Campsites in the
Lobo area are best. As November ends the migration is making its
way back to the southern Serengeti and early in the year they once
again give birth. The circle of life is complete.
*Note - the migration is a natural
event and the timing varies month by month; year by year.
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