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East Africa Travel GuidelinesAugust 2, 2023
The Great Migration
The Great Migration of wildebeest is one of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in the world. It takes place in East Africa, primarily in the Serengeti ecosystem of Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
The migration involves vast herds of wildebeest, as well as zebras and gazelles, moving in a circular pattern throughout the year in search of fresh grazing lands and water sources. This migration is driven by the seasonal rains, which cause the wildebeest to follow the available resources.
The Great Migration can be roughly divided into three main phases:
Calving Season (December to March):
During this period, the wildebeest gather in the southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to give birth to their young. This is a critical time for the survival of the wildebeest calves, as predators are abundant and the herds must remain vigilant.
Wet Season (April to June):
As the rainy season arrives, the herds start moving northwestward towards the western Serengeti and Grumeti River, where there are lush grasslands and water. This stage involves large river crossings, where wildebeest must navigate crocodile-infested waters, making it a dangerous and dramatic event.
Dry Season (July to October):
In this phase, the wildebeest continue their journey northward and often cross into the Maasai Mara in Kenya. This part of the migration is characterized by another series of river crossings, with the most iconic being the Mara River crossing. Again, this is a perilous part of their journey, as hungry predators, especially crocodiles and lions, lie in wait.
By October, the wildebeest have consumed much of the available resources, and they start their return journey to the southern Serengeti, completing the circular migration.
The Great Migration is an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon, attracting numerous tourists and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world who come to witness this incredible display of nature’s power and beauty. It’s essential to preserve the ecosystems and protect the habitats of these animals to ensure the continuity of this extraordinary migration.