Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday in the plains of East Africa is one of the world’s most thrilling, intriguing and spectacular displays of wildlife behavior. Owing to the massive size of the herds, the Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday arriving from the Serengeti stands out from other migratory movements. If there is a safari you should go on, then Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday has it be it. The Masai Mara and the Serengeti National Park together form what no other reserve or park in Africa can! It is incredible, it is magical, it is indescribable and it is a must! Nowhere in the world is there a movement of animals as immense as the Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday, over two million animals migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya during July through to October. The Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday has to cross the Mara River in the Maasai Mara where crocodiles will prey on them. This is one of the highlights as the animals try and cross the Mara River alive.
The great Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday is one of the most phenomenal natural spectacles in the world. Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday is an annual movement by millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, elands and impalas across the greater Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. From July to September the Mara welcomes the Great Migration of thousands of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya. During the Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration Holiday, you will witness how the constant battle for survival makes the Migration Season a particularly exhilarating and its the best time to visit Kenya. The Mara River crossing activity is considered the climax of the migration period. Mara River crossing is an event that will take you through a range of emotions: anticipation, heartache, inspiration, excitement and so much more. The sheer sight of the first herds of animals rushing into the crocodile-infested river will make you long for this wildebeest migration every year.
The wildebeest migration is a flurry of activity. These ‘migrants tag along the big cat team (lion-the jungle king, leopard – Mr. Military camouflage, cheetah – race track ruler, serval…just to name a few) that get attracted to this “rhythm of a feast” as they prey on the migrants. The silver-backed jackal, African wild dog, the sly fox, and of course the maniacal spotted hyena “true garbage-man of the Savannah” can be spotted lurking in the shadows, waiting for their meaty fill, as the soaring vulture eagerly waits for the remains only to clean up after the party.
The wildebeest migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara is believed to be the greatest and most spectacular migration in the world. It all starts in the Masai Mara. Once safely arrived to the Masai Mara National Reserve during the months of June to July the wildebeest moves further to the private conservancy areas such as the Mara North Conservancy to graze the endless and plentiful lush green plains. And to mate.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE GREAT MIGRATION.
All around the world, one of the greatest phenomena that happen in Africa is always on the lips of every wildlife enthusiast and tourist. Every year, towards the East of the continent, visitors, both local and international flood the area just to experience one of the most wondrous and beautifully staged spectacle directed by nature. This spectacle is popularly known as The Great Migration.
Masai Mara Wildebeest migration receives a lot of attention globally. Top wildlife enthusiasts travel miles to come and capture on film the whole thing as it happens. Half way around the world, visitors spend a fortune to come and take home memories of sheer spectacle. Locally, domestic tourists are busy booking their reservations early enough, despite the fact that prices have almost doubled. Everyone wants to be part of the audience ready to see the greatest show on earth.
Great Migration setting
This wondrous of a show takes place in the massive Savannah plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the vast green fields of the Masai Mara in Kenya. It is important to notice that these two border each other making it the perfect stage for the show. This ecosystem can be divided into three parts, the southern grass plains of Serengeti that have endless, wide-open plains, the western Serengeti corridor that has the Grumeti river and the northern Serengeti, which merges with the Mara is largely rolling hills and open woodlands.
Partakers of the wildebeest Migration
For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear The Great Migration is Wildebeests upon Wildebeests. They are right, Wildebeests are the dominant animals, but aside from them, you will also come across large herds of Zebras and Gazelles. The numbers of these animals stand at 1.5 million. That means the migration consists of the movement of 1.5 million animals from southern Serengeti to the Northern part/Mara. This is quite a movement!
When and why does the Great Migration happen?
The Great Migration is an annual circle of life. Wildebeests, Gazelles and Zebras move through the Serengeti to the Mara and back in a year, and the cycle repeats itself. What motivates their migration? Food. They start of at the south, move to the western side then to the north and back to the south again. As each place dries up, they move to the next. According to observations of all the previous years, the pattern has been found to be (but not strictly) as follows:
Late December to March: The herds are beginning to move back to the South of Serengeti from the north. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south is now populated by short nutritious grasses. This provides the favorable environment for the herds to have their calves. Mid-February is actually considered a calving season, an estimated 400,000 calves are born during this period. It is also an interesting period for those who love game, as the calving season attracts a good number of lions, cheetahs and hyenas to the herds.
Late March to Early May: The herds begin migrating towards the north as the rich nutritious grass is now not sufficient to sustain the endless herds. They split and some move towards the central of Serengeti but the most migrate towards the western corridor. At the beginning of June, the herds are concentrated around Grumeti River in the West. They reside here for the three months as they wait to proceed north.
July-October: By late June, things are beginning to dry up. The herds begin moving to their next destination point, the North/The Mara. You can still catch wildebeest migration around the western side during the early times of the month but the chances become slimmer as you move into the other months. Because the herds are split, the migration can be spread over huge distances. The zebras might be the first to arrive in the Mara followed by the Wildebeests later on. The Mara River is towards the northern side and the most spectacular river crossing awaits during this period. Game watching is fantastic during this time with almost guaranteed daily river crossing, with hungry crocodiles present in the rivers.
November/December: The herds begin to move towards the southern part of Serengeti with its short green grass, and to begin another cycle again.
Wildebeests migrate to graze and mate
The wildebeest bulls begin their mating ritual by calling and attracting the wildebeest cows. An estimated 200,000 wildebeest bulls and 600,000 wildebeest cows meet this way. The dominant bulls give out a very distinct calling sound through their nose. A resonance almost like the one of a frog. They fill the plains. Both in numbers and in sound. The wildebeest mating ritual is believed to last few days only; to ensure all calves are born on the very same time for greater protection.
And then. In the mid of October, when most of the grasses on the Mara Savannah have been eaten, the wildebeest prepares to move southwards to seek the generous grasslands areas of the Serengeti. To give birth to their calves on the plains of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. When the area begins to dry out and the grasses and water becomes scarce the wildebeest set to move again. Scientists believe that the old wildebeest can sense water up to a distance of 50km away using lightning and thunder as the guiding light. These patriarchs will urge the herds on wards. In search of water a greener pastures. Returning to the Masai Mara and yet again begin the cycle of life.
The wildebeests contribute to the Masai Mara Ecosystem. It is estimated that they leave behind 60,000 tones of dung fertilizing the Mara grassland.
Crossing the Mara River
Trekking the vast distance from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back is a deadly affair. It is estimated that the wildebeests covers a range distance of 3,000km2 on their long migratory cycle every year. With their newborns in tow. Many die before even reaching the Masai Mara.
On the plains the big cat predators are awaiting the great number of prey. Accompanied by the vultures. Flying high above or waiting in the tall acacias with their sharp beaks for the unfortunate to die before feeding on them.
But the most fatal of all dangers are the crossing of the Mara River. The wildebeests are gathering at the bank of the River Mara. In greater and greater numbers. Nervously waiting. Moving back and forth. None wish to be the firsts to descent the steep Mara banks and plunge into its waters. Filled with the huge crocodiles of the old world. All anticipating this twice a year feast.
Suddenly one are almost pushed into the water. Followed by hundreds and hundreds of his companions who jumps down the bank. Swimming desperately to reach the safe banks. Avoiding by all means to get caught in a deadly set of razor sharp jaws.
Many wildebeest are caught and eaten by the luring crocodiles. But most die because of drowning. Or because they fatally break a leg on their way down the banks. Others die in the rush and excitement. The wildebeests have many crossing points at the Mara River. There is one, the Kitchwa Tembo Crossing Point, within the Mara North Conservancy. And two crossing points within the Masai Mara National Game Reserve. But sometimes and somehow the wildebeest just pile themselves in such great numbers anywhere at the banks that the first ones literally are being pushed down the steep banks and falls into the river water.