One of the things that make the Serengeti so amazing is the annual wildebeest migration. More than 1.5 million animals make a circuit around the Maasai Mara of Kenya and the Serengeti of Tanzania.
In the late summer, when the Serengeti is dry and depleted, the migration moves north into the more fertile Maasai Mara. Once the rainy season comes back to Tanzania in October and November, the vegetation comes to life again and the migration moves south into the Serengeti to live off the lush green grasses. As the area dries out in June and July, the migration makes its way north for better feeding.
Sound interesting? It is.
Imagine the entire populations of Houston, or Philadelphia, or the San Francisco Bay Area all just standing around eating grass and minding their own business. Imagine this cloud of people quietly wandering in a massive circle around the state of Connecticut. That’s what the migration is like. It is also the largest mobile buffet on the planet.
Many of the predators in the region depend on the migration for food. Thousands of wildebeests die every year as they circuit the savannah.
But not all are picked off by ravaging lions. It is estimated that about 70 percent of the meat consumed from the migration is not killed but actually found. The weaker animals, unable to keep up, fall and die along the journey while the strong keep moving.
While you can’t exactly predict where the migration will be a year in advance, if you can book your safari at a time the migration is in the Serengeti you could see one of the most amazing natural phenomenon on the plant.
Wildebeest Migration Guide by Month
|Jan/Feb||The animals are concentrated in the southeastern portion of the Serengeti, near the Naabi Hill Gate, which is where most people enter the park. January is a peak month for zebra births and February for wildebeest births.|
|Mar/Apr||The long rains begin in March and continue through April. The wildebeest are scattered evenly on the short-grass plains.|
|May/Jun||Water starts becoming scarce and the animals begin to move into the Western Corridor near the Grumeti River. In June they cross this river where many will drown. In a normal year, the animals will be in the Seronera/Moru kopjes areas.|
|Jul/Aug||The migration moves northwest and enters the Grumeti Controlled Area and then the Ikorongo Controlled Area. In a normal year, the migration is in the northern Serengeti in August.|
|Sept/Oct||In September the migration moves into Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve. They will stay there throughout October.|
|Nov/Dec||November marks the return of the short rains and the migration back to the Serengeti. By December they are back in the southwestern area and zebra calving season begins.|