Serengeti migration safaris

Monthly Wildebeest Migration Patterns

The season Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Patterns throughout the year

The Great Wildebeest Migration also known as The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration is a phenomenon occurrence and is one of the most exciting natural wonders of the world. With 2 million wildebeests and thousands of gazelles, zebras and antelopes, Wildebeest Migration is the largest migration of wildlife ever witnessed on earth.

Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration is a once in a life time opportunity and travelers have the unique opportunity to enjoy this grand spectacle up close and in person on a safari in Kenya and Tanzania.

This article details vital information on the monthly Serengeti Wildebeest Migration patterns to discover what the wildebeest migration is and the best time to travel.

What is the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration?

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration refers to annual movement of over 1.5 million wildebeests and thousands of zebras, gazelles and impalas through the Mara Serengeti Ecosystem (southern Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya) in search for pasture and water following an old route. The movement of the wildebeests is triggered by thunderstorms and rainfall.

Witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration is an ultimate goal for African safari lovers perfect for either novice or experienced travelers.

Depending on the time of the year, there are ideal locations in Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve to embark upon the experience of a lifetime and witness the wildebeest migration.

Below is your guide to a monthly Serengeti Wildebeest Migration patterns, what to expect on a wildebeest safari holiday and the best places to stay to make the most of your holiday.

Month by Month Wildebeest Migration Patterns

The Great Wildebeest Migration is a year – round phenomenon dictated by the rains which sees the herds moving in a constant clockwise motion throughout the Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve.

From December to April, the wildebeest herds can typically be found in the Ndutu plains in the Southern Serengeti and in late January – early February, the calving season takes place.

Once the long rains arrive in April – May, the herds move towards the Serengeti’s Western Corridor, then the wildebeest face perilous water currents and predators as they attempt to cross the Grumeti River to continue their journey north towards the lush pastures of the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Finally, the herd reaches their destination and they remain in the Masai Mara national reserve for around three months before heading back to Tanzania in November.

January, February & March Migration Patterns

Over a million wildebeests also called the Gnu, zebras and gazelles spend the first month of the year in the plains of Serengeti National Park feeding on the short grass and preparing for migration.

The majority of wildebeest calves have just been born in February with around half a million new calves in that month, as the Southern plains become picked over, the herds begin to spread west and prepare for their migration north in the Spring.

This makes for an incredible sight during game drives, expect to see newborn calves and you if you are lucky, you might witness a birth and also see plenty of predator action.

The wildebeest encourage their newborns to get on their feet immediately and join the herds where their safety is guaranteed. Predators like lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and rare wild dogs wait in the surrounding areas ready to prey the weak and vulnerable members of the herd.

An easy kill isn’t always guaranteed as the female wildebeest instinctively head to the short grass plains so that they can see predators approaching and they form a barricade around birthing mothers to protect them and their young ones. Thus ensuring the majority of the newborn calves survive.

Towards the end of the short dry season (usually the end of March), the short – grass plains in the Southern Serengeti begin to dry out and the wildebeest and zebras start to head towards the western woodlands

April & May Migration Patterns

Usually April brings the first signs of migration with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest beginning their arduous journey across the western plains and finally north.

The herds move through the Ndoha and Dutwa plains adjacent to the Mbalagweti River, they may begin to pile up near the Mbalagweti and Grumeti Rivers awaiting the crossing, a dangerous obstacle for animals.

June, July & August Migration Patterns

Usually the rutting season starts in June and you expect to see fierce fighting between competitive males as they vie for the attention of females.

By July, the herds head north towards the fresh grass of Masai Mara national reserve, to get there they must face one of the greatest obstacles of their journey – crossing the Grumeti River and Mara River.

The dramatic river crossing is one of the most exciting events of the Great Migration usually start in July but the precise timing depends on the rains.

The wildebeest and zebras grow into a mega herd before attempting to cross the Grumeti River to continue their journey north, with treacherous water currents and Nile crocodiles lurking in the muddy waters and lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas waiting on the river banks, only the strongest individuals survive.

September & October Migration Patterns

The migration moves to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve in search for fresh grass to gaze, this is a wonderful time to have your safari in Masai Mara national reserve. The long rains begin in October, the herds begin their long journey south back to the Serengeti following the new grass.

This does not mean that life becomes easy, always there is danger lurking around in form of hunting prides of lions and packs of hyenas.

November & December Migration Patterns

At the end of October or early November, the short rains start in Tanzania drawing the wildebeest and zebras back to the plains of the Southern Serengeti which are green and lush once gain.

The herds arrive back in the Serengeti National Park for the rainy season, the wildebeests may begin to give birth and prepare to complete the cycle over again next year.

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