We all have a bucket list, and as cliché as it may seem, the start of a new year reminds us of new beginnings and experiences. Being in the business for over 50 years Origins Safaris have been successfully making bucket lists and dreams come true, no matter how big or small.
Undeniably one of Africa’s most sought out adventures to tick off is the mind blowing ‘Great Wildebeest Migration’. The annual wildebeest migration is one of nature’s greatest paradoxes, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on every wildlife lovers’ list.
The Great Migration on the plains of East Africa is the world’s largest migration of land animals. It is rated as one of the world’s most spectacular natural events. It is a captivating and breathtaking display of wildlife behavior. The annual trek of over a 1.5 million wildebeest (also known as Gnu’s), 200,000 zebra and gazelles tirelessly migrate clockwise around the Serengeti – Masai Mara savannah plains, taking in two different countries and making time for courting, mating, birthing and attempting to dodge predators left right and center, while on the pursuit for lush new vegetation.
So when is the best time to see the wildebeest migration? The best answer to that is ALL YEAR AROUND! The massive herds of nomadic herbivores are dictated by the weather patterns, and consequently are on the constant move.
For many people, the thought of the Great Wildebeest Migration brings to mind images of millions of wildebeest spread across the East African plains, as far as the eye can see in all directions. While others picture the series of dramatic events where thousands of wildebeests and zebras thunder down steep river banks, battling through crocodile infested waters of the Mara River in order to reach the verdant plains on the other side.
Of course, if you want to see the nail biting crossings then July to October is your best bet. But why stop there? Why not witness the epic miracle of Mother Nature, the calving season.
From combatting the murky waters of the Mara River and attempting to survive the hungry predators, the short November rains call the migration southward, back to the green grasslands of the Serengeti, and by December about 250,000 wildebeest die during the long journey back. This is due to predators, sickness and exhaustion. Once they reached the southern Serengeti the animals start to fan out into areas such as the Ndutu Region, Lake Masek and also as far as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
By Late January and early February, pregnant wildebeest are giving birth. It is estimated that during the peak of this birthing season, an astonishing 8,000 calves are born each day! There is nothing that compares to watching a newborn learn how to use its shaky, unstable little legs and taking their first clumsy steps. The calving season carries on into March and is joined by other animals too. Thousands of zebras and gazelles accompany the wildebeest on their trek, taking full advantage of safety in numbers to drop their young too.
With the vast game-filled plains, teeming with new life and stumbling newborns it becomes an irresistible magnet for predators. During the calving season, the southern Serengeti and western Ngorongoro Conservation area host the highest concentration of predators in Africa. Big cats – lions, leopards and cheetahs are found patrolling and prowling, waiting for the perfect time to pounce and make a kill. But an easy kill is not always guaranteed. The mothers of these calves instinctively know to give birth on the short grass plains so that they can see any predators approaching. From there other mothers join and start to form protective barricades around birthing mothers and young calves to ensure they have the greatest chance of survival.
Traveling to the Serengeti for the calving season is never a disappointment. It gives you a pure sense of adventure, wonder and plenty of action.
At Origins Safaris we aim to create flexible and targeted migration itineraries that will offer you an unforgettable experience, allowing you to follow the migratory patterns of the herds and to be in the heart of all the action. Join us next year to be a witness to the beautiful cycle of the circle of life. For more information please contact us on https://www.originsafaris.com.
Origins Safaris – Authentic African Experiences Since 1963