The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania accounts for the longest and largest over land migrations in the world. The Serengeti plains cover over 18,641 square miles of rich eco-system, one of the most diverse in the world with habitats for animals such as Africa’s big five game in addition to wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, snakes and reptiles among other species.
Serengeti Wildebeest Migrations
The Serengeti migrations are an old African legend listed as one of the 7th wonder of the world. The great migrations are more than million of years old and happen every month of the year throughout the Serengeti plains. The annual migration of wildebeests is a 500 miles path from Tanzania to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.
The migrations include more than one million wildebeests, 300,000 gazelles, 200,000 zebras and more than 10,000 elands, topi, warthog, Kongoni, waterbuck and other smaller animals. The significant herds are typically followed on the trail by predators such as lions, hyenas, elusive leopards, wild dogs, jackals and vultures. The Annual migrations will kill off around 250,000 wildebeests each year-many die crossing the river, others are devoured by hungry predators and crocodiles and the rest die from extreme hunger/thirst before they reach the new pastures.
The growing herds were thus forced to migrate in their search for water and grazing grassland, starting the circular migratory route following the dark rain clouds that shift far into the northern Serengeti Plains as the year goes on. Timing of the migrations may not be so exact as all migrating animals entirely depend on the rainfall patterns
Serengeti Migrations by Months
January –February Migrations-the herds of the animals early in the year are found in the southern Serengeti plains feeding on the short grass sprouts. Many animals choose to stay around the Seronera River are and others move close to Ngorongoro Crater and Ndutu. This marks the Seronera/Ndutu local migrations within Serengeti
Calving season is a short time (lasting about 3 weeks) begins around February around the nutrient rich grass of Ngorongoro Conservation area. However many calves are born to the sight of several predators such as lions, hyena and leopards-it is the best time to see African’s predators in the Serengeti.
March to April migrations– the grasses around Ngorongoro begin drying up with onset of the dark clouds in the north. Some herds of zebras and wildebeest begin concentrating in the Ndutu plains or near Kusini on the western corridor of Serengeti Park towards Lake Victoria. April is associated with heavy rains in the central part of Serengeti and towards the western corridor. Game drives to this area are often restricted due to the bad roads
May to June Migrations-the rains in the central focus the herds to move slowly and further into the western corridor towards Grumeti River that now has green grass for pastures. Some of the herds begin to cross the river where hungry Nile crocodiles await for the hesitant and frail ones. The scene is beautiful and those living around the camps (Serengeti Grumeti Tented camp, Grumeti River Camp and others) on the Grumeti river banks enjoy a spectacular sight
July to August and September Migrations – the wildebeest migration moves to the far northern plains near Masai Mara Game reserve. The scene at the Mara River is most spectacular and is a draw for many tourists to Mara game reserve in Kenya. The animals are a grunting sea of life fighting the gushing water to cross over to the greener side in Mara Kenya. Some animals decide to stay in the Serengeti and move North West towards Lake Victoria
It’s common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later. By September, the animals are spread all through the Masai Mara game reserve, some moving further into the north. Get Kenya Accommodation from Governor’s camp and Mara river camp to enjoy the sight!
October to December migrations– the grass plains are long drying up in the Mara and thus animals congregate again around south of the Mara to shift back to the Serengeti now replenished with fresh pasture. The animals cross the river to western Loliondo and Lobo area and move further into the south around December.
The Serengeti wildebeest migrations then continue the routine migrations for another year…and on and on