Serengeti Great Migration Safari
Serengeti Great Migration Safari: The voyage of the Great Migration’s primary participants, the nearly two million wildebeest, begins in the Serengeti’s south, with the birth of half a million calves between January and March. The air is full of fresh life and movement during these months, which is a favorite season for many seasoned Serengeti guides. On this website, you may learn everything there is to know about Africa’s largest wildlife spectacle.
The Serengeti is home to the world’s greatest wild animal migration. Every year, over 1.5 million wildebeest—which translates to “wild cattle” in Afrikaans—travel through the Serengeti plains in search of grazing and water. The migration is regarded as one of the world’s natural marvels, attracting hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Why Wildlife in Serengeti National Park Migrate?
The massive wildebeest herd’s 800-kilometer journey is the world’s longest animal migration. During the rainy season, the migration corresponds with the greening of nutritious grasses on the short-grass plains. These regions are safer since predators can be easily identified, making them excellent for calving. However, when the plains dry down, the wildebeest are forced to migrate to the western corridor in search of better grasses.
The northernmost part of the ecosystem receives the most rainfall, yet the grasses are the least nutritious. This is where the wildebeest go during the dry season, at least until the south greens up again. As a result, the movement is clockwise from south to west to north and back to south.
Serengeti Great Migration Routes
The voyage of the wildebeest begins near the southern end of the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, at a place known as Ndutu. The region is notable for its short, nutrient-rich grass. The bulk of wildebeest converge in Ndutu for food from December to March. Every February, thousands of calves are born here by wildebeest moms during a four- to six-week period—roughly 8,000 calves every day.
Ndutu Area is located to the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Ngorongoro landscape originated some 20 million years ago when the eastern side of Africa started to crack and rift. The rifting caused the Earth’s crust to thin, allowing molten materials to accumulate and produce volcanoes. The Ngorongoro Crater now has a volcanic caldera. The ash left behind by ancient volcanoes makes the soil here ideal for agriculture (outside of the conservation area) and the savanna grasslands that provide food for so many animals.
When the drought hits in May, the herd migrates north to Kenya’s Masai Mara, munching down the tall green grass, closely followed by gazelles and zebras. The move is not without danger: crossing rivers means coming face to face with around 3,000 crocodiles anxiously waiting for a kill.
The migration then returns to the Serengeti with the start of the brief rains in late October. By December, the herds had returned to their calving sites after passing through Seronera, a tiny village in central Serengeti that houses the official Serengeti Visitors’ Centre.
What month is the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park?
You’ll most likely want to include watching the Great Migration in your Serengeti safari itinerary. So, how can you ensure that you are present when it occurs? The quick answer is that you can’t. It is critical to understand that deciding when to visit the Serengeti National Park in always carries an element of danger. We’ve described the Great Migration in detail below, and while this is often what happens, bear in mind that there are no certainties.
The yearly migration of two million ungulates, primarily wildebeest, but also massive herds of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, and eland, through Serengeti National Park is the biggest natural display of its kind in Africa, if not the world. Although there are seasonal fluctuations, the Serengeti migration follows a fairly predictable yearly cycle influenced by local rainfall trends. The Great Migration cycle is divided into the following phases:
December- April (Calving Season)
The primary calving grounds may be found southeast of Seronera, where typical Serengeti grasslands extend all the way to the Ndutu region near Ngorongoro. The brief rains in November and December prompted their relocation to this region. The wildebeest remain in this area until the conclusion of the long rains, which occurs at the end of April or early May. The good news is that this portion of the Serengeti National Park is relatively accessible, and the environment becomes lush during this time of year. The month of February is normally calving season in the Ndutu area and the south-eastern plains, making it the greatest time to visit.
Because there are so many wildebeest, zebra, and other ungulates, and they give birth to so many calves, the spectacle attracts predators. The herd may move again as early as March or April in pursuit of better pastures. Seeing the actual migration during this time is more challenging, although you are likely to come across quite huge herds on the way.
May-July (Serengeti Great Migration Begins)
This is the time when the wildebeest begin preparing for their 800-kilometer journey. The real commencement date might be between late April and early June. This is the moment to witness one of the world’s largest natural phenomena: more than a million marching animals in a column up to 40 kilometers long.
The herd will migrate towards the Western Corridor, where they will encounter the first significant challenge- crossing the Grumeti River. Many animals perish during the passage since the area’s population of gigantic crocodiles is waiting to devour them. The herd may concentrate on the river’s southern side and linger there for up to two weeks before crossing.
August-September (Mara River Crossing)
When the Grumeti River challenge is overcome, the herd travels north and begins crossing the next major obstacle, the Mara River, in July or August. So many memorable Great Migration photographs have been captured at the Mara River crossing. Following this passage, the herd migrates to Kenya’s northwest plains and the Masai Mara National Reserve. The months of August and September are regarded to be the worst months to visit Serengeti National Park and witness the Great Migration as the herd travels into Kenya’s Masai Mara.
Migration patterns, however, reveal that around half of the herd remains on the Tanzanian border, in the Mara Serengeti region. During this time, smaller herds of wildebeest (considering that small herds can number between 500 and thousands of animals) cross the Mara River back and forth for no obvious reason. This is a fantastic time to visit one of the Serengeti Mara camps.
October- November (Crossing Back to Serengeti)
Crossing the Mara River northward requires the herd to cross the river one more time before continuing their journey southward. This normally happens in October, although it might happen sooner. During this time, the herd will traverse the northern plains and the Lobo region. This region of Serengeti National Park is rarely visited, so if you want to view the migration in peace and quiet, this is the time to go. In late November, the wildebeest return to the short-grass plains and calving grounds around Ndutu. And from here, the Great Migration begins anew.
When is the best time to witness/see the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park?
It is entirely up to you whether you want to organize your Serengeti safari around the Great Migration. As previously said, the Serengeti is a year-round attraction due to its huge size and unsurpassed animal watching. The chances of being at the exact location of the Great Migration herd crossing a river (either the Grumeti or Mara River) are quite remote. Furthermore, the timing of herd migrations is not assured.
Large herds of wildebeest and their entourage should be easily located if you choose the right part of the Serengeti: the southeast and Ndutu from December to May, the Western Corridor from May to July, the Serengeti Mara area from July to October, and the northern Serengeti and Lobo area in October and November.
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