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Home » Blog » A brief guide on the great East African wildebeest migration!

A brief guide on the great East African wildebeest migration!

Have you heard about the Wildebeest migration? Do you know when it happens? Here is a brief guide on whatever you need to know.

The wildebeest crossing the river
The wildebeest crossing the river

The wildebeest migration is known as one of the world’s most spectacular natural events that can be sighted. The wildebeest is a genus of antelopes that inhabit large plains on the African savanna where there is plenty of food for the wildebeest to eat since they are herbivorous animals. Each year, over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. The migration takes place in two different countries of Tanzania and Kenya, creating time for courting, mating and birthing on the way. The great wildebeest migration involves an estimate of 1.5million wildebeest, 500,000 Thompson’s gazelle, 200,000 zebras and 18,000 elands, this is a huge number one can ever sight during a Tanzania wildlife safari.

The migration pattern a bit predictable, however, if you get your timing wrong, you will end up gazing out over a non-wildebeest savannah and wondering where all the animals went. This calls for need to work on, when and where to go in order to have a memorable view of the wildebeests during either a Tanzania safari or when planning a safari in Kenya.

Here is what can help you plan when and where to go for the perfect wildebeest migration experience.

In January, it’s a calving season with very many babies. The herds can be sighted in Tanzania’s Serengeti national park, moving south from the north-east region and into the southern Serengeti, Ndutu area and Ngorongoro Conservation area outside the confines of the national park.

By February, the herds are not far away from Serengeti, they stay in the far south as they graze within Southern Serengeti, Ndutu and Ngorongoro Conservation areas.

In March, tourists to Serengeti are still not late to sight the numerous wildlife since they are still in the south though the grasses have all been chewed up.  During this time, the last calves are born and the herds are gathering in preparation to move from this point.

April may not be the best month to safari Tanzania and sight the wildebeest since the animals are beginning their journey northwards and many have already left for the central and western Serengeti. In the southern Serengeti plains however, the wildebeest can be sighted as they leave this place.

May is a great month because the herds are on the move. Get ready to sight huge columns of up to 40km in length as the wildebeest move up into the central and western Serengeti.

The May movement means that in June a tourist should head for the central and western Serengeti since the herds are there and getting ready for the toughest part of their trek.

In July then, it’s the greatest time, like the best time of the event. The herds have reached the western Serengeti and Grumeti reserve and are gazing closely at the brown waters of the rivers with the big Nile crocodiles, yet they have to cross.

In August you will probably see the happiest herd ever, this is because the crocodile survivors are celebrating by feasting in the northern Serengeti and begin crossing back into Kenya’s Masai Mara National reserve. If you don’t wish to miss sighting these happy wildebeests, then prepare early because you need a passport to cross from Tanzania.

In September a tourist could probably not see the large herd any more, they missed it in August.  The herds break up into smaller groups, almost half of the animals remain in the northern Serengeti and the rest are in a conversation in Kenya’s Masai Mara.

In October when you cross to Kenya’s Masai Mara, since that’s where the herds are, there’s much sighting of the wildebeest with many more animals which is an added advantage to those who safari Kenya in this period.

The herds in November are heading back to the revived Serengeti because of the short rains that have made the grass sprout again.

The year ends in December with the wildebeest clustering in the north-eastern and southern Serengeti. By this time, the cycle begins again, there’s calving again as the predators too move in and the wildebeest heartwarming and breaking cycle continues. East Africa is blessed with a lot of wildlife including a number of animals encountered during Uganda wildlife safaris.

Choose the perfect time for  Tanzania wildlife safaris and experience a lifetime wonder that will get all your senses active especially during a drive through tramping and roaring herds of wildebeest.


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