The Great Wildebeest Migration and Mara River Crossing
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The Great Wildebeest Migration and Mara River Crossing
this is considered to be one of ‘The Ten Wonders of The Natural World ‘and one of the best events in Tanzania Serengeti National Park to witness. A truly awe-inspiring spectacle of life in an expansive ecosystem ruled by rainfall and the urge for survival amongst the herbivores of the Serengeti National Park plains.
The Great Wildebeest Migration and Mara River Crossing the humble leader of the migration is the Wildebeest, known to be lacking in intelligence, earning it the affectionate moniker ‘clown of the plains’.
In its defense, the Wildebeest is a successful team player and as a gregarious herbivore it reaches up to 1.5 million in numbers as part of the migration. Its intelligence and ability to survive in such a harsh environment as the East African bush lie in its strength in numbers – a super-herd in the seemingly never-ending circle of life of the Serengeti.
Though wildebeest are counted as leaders of The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration and Mara River Crossing they are also accompanied by more than 200,000 zebras, 350,000 gazelles, and 12,000 elands. This strange wonder of the natural world circulates the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania Country and the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya Country.
This is dictated by rainfall and the resulting growth of grasses on the plains. This migration has neither a starting nor finishing. Birth can be counted as starting and death to be counted as ending which can come only too easily in the migration.
The precise timing of The Great Serengeti Migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall seasons each year. Nor is it confined to the un-fenced National Park, and instead seamlessly flows into the surrounding Game Reserves.
January and March in between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Maswa Game Reserve, south-east of the Serengeti National Park offers refuge during what is the short dry season thanks to its numerous rivers and spring grasses, allowing an opportunity for the Wildebeest to rest and give birth. Up to 400,000 calves are born in a synchronized birthing within just two to three weeks of one another! Lucky enough, this period presents a veritable feast for any accompanying predators – and the first challenge in the wildebeest’s life – with hundreds of lions and hyenas scattered around this area ready to take their opportunities with a potential glut of vulnerable newborns.
In April The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration begins their journey, moving in en-mass, heading to the Northern side of Serengeti National Park and passing through the popular central area of the Park mostly known as Seronera area. This is also the time of the annual rut, and start of the gestation period for about eight to nine months of the next year’s calves.
In May rain season starts in Serengeti National Park and brings heavy precipitation to the west side of the park. Soon after this the fertile plains are covered by beautiful grasses hence causing The Tanzania Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration to start to move to the western parts of the Serengeti National Park.
The Western Corridor including the Grumeti Game Reserve and Ikorongo Game Reserve host the majority of the migration through June, offering the Game a chance to build up their strength for the journey ahead.
Serengeti National Park Migration
From here The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration heads to Northern Serengeti National Park again, through the park and towards the Kenyan border where it will arrive by July. It is from this point that The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration takes on one of its most spectacular and deadly advances: – the river crossings; in the Serengeti the Mbalangeti and Grumeti rivers, and in Kenya, the most famous crossing; the Mara river. For most of the year these rivers are relatively placid and often dry, but come to the rains they become violent torrents presenting major obstacles to the progress of the wildebeest.
The Great Serengeti Wildebeest Migration arrives at the Mara River in their tens of thousands and gathers and The Great Wildebeest Migration Mara River Crossing.
The Mara River Crossing of Wildebeest has been shown around the world on numerous nature documentaries and is truly an awesome show of the deadly reality this migration faces. Many adults and calves are lost because lions and crocodile attacks and kill them as party food
At this period is where crushed or drowned by the calves and heads become separated from their mothers on the wrong side of the river because of little hope for their survival. While such a tragic hurdle in The Great Wildebeest Migration may become a disaster for the wildebeest, the deaths only represent a mere handful of the hundreds of thousands of calves born each year.
Without a degree of natural mortality, the wildebeest population could spiral out of control and totally change the balance of this expansive ecosystem in which they perform a lead role.
In August The Great Wildebeest Migration starts to stay at Masai Mara for several months feeding and fattening more and more and this is due to isolated rainstorms and scattered distribution of green pastures. Continuously they will always seek areas of good grazing in the Mara, enabled by their evolved ability to travel large distances very quickly and economically.
October, the first of the short rains fall on the scrawny grass plains to the southern part of the Serengeti National Park filling seasonal waterholes and bringing fresh growths of grass. The Great Wildebeest Migration will instinctively start to move heading Southern part of Serengeti National Park again, trekking down through the eastern woodlands and back into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The Wildebeest scatter and spread out again once they reach the open plains having completed a journey of over 500 miles. With 90 percent of the cow’s heavy with the new season’s young the journey is ready to start once again with the birth of the next generation of calves.
For any visitor Planning Safari to Africa don’t miss The Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park, the wildlife spectacle of the migration offers a huge enhancement to what is already an overwhelming sight.
Many of the lodges and safari camps are located in great positions for the arrival of the migration in their area and throughout the park numerous luxury mobile camps pop-up in time for the arrival of the herd.
Other than during the August to October season when the migration is in Kenya, Tanzania is the best place to be for this World’s natural wonder. For those who are limited by time table of the year hence are unable to visit the location of the migration during your visit, don’t worry, life still goes on throughout the park, with smaller groups of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles remaining resident in the more fertile areas of the park throughout the year; the lazy or the clever ones? We’ll let you decide!