THE GREAT MIGRATION
The Great Migration of Africa is one of the world's most spectacular experiences. A natural phenomenon as the herds move in search of fresh grazing, it is at one time beautiful and tragic.
The challenge for an experienced safari operator such as ourselves is managing our guests expectations. The Great Migration is not a grandstand ticket. It's a fluid, dynamic affair that takes place between Kenya and Tanzania and is subject to the timing of the rains. When we think of the migration, we all generally have the incredible image to mind of the huge herds of wildebeest swelling on the banks of the Mara River, the crocodiles down below in a feeding frenzy as the animals plunge into the water to make the crossing. One thing is guaranteed, they will cross, we simply never know exactly when.
Fortunately, with years of experience on the ground in East Africa and one of the largest on-ground presences in East Africa, we aim to put you in the best possible place at the best possible time.
We hope our section on The Great Migration will assist you to plan your journey, remember, our Travel Team are on hand to assist you with your journey.
How the Migration Works
When we refer to the migration, we generally refer to the Wildebeest migration.
1. CAN THE RIVER CROSSINGS BE PREDICTED?
The honest answer is NO. The animals themselves don't have a fixed date. The river crossing is a highlight of any migration safari. Some of the animals may mill around on the river bank for days, others cross immediately, others turn back. The best chance of seeing a river crossing is to ensure that you have plenty of time on your safari and our experienced rangers will endeavour to have you in the right place at the right time.
2. THE MIGRATION ONLY TAKES PLACE FROM END-JUNE TO END-OCTOBER.
Actually NO. Different aspects of the migration take place throughout the year and these are just as thrilling. The perception comes that the Migration is only the crossing of the Mara River and this generally takes place during the high safari season between end-June to end-October.
Remember that the world's climate is changing, the rains can be late, on time or early and these all affect the timing of the Mara Crossing.
Trying to be in the Best Place at the Best Possible Time
Through years of experience, we have attempted to break the Migration down monthly to assist our guests with their planning.
The large Wildebeest herds will be found in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. They gradually move toward the southern part of the Serengeti but its important to note that you won't find the migratory herds in the Ngorongoro Crater although you will see plenty of resident Wildebeest if your are visiting at this time of year. It is still a spectacular site with over two million Wildebeest, antelope and zebra broken up into smaller herds, over numbering the tens of thousands.
It's also the time when the Wildebeest are calving. You will see spectacular (and heart-breaking) scenes of life and death. This is naturally a really good time to see leopards, lions, hyena and wild dogs in the Southern Serengeti.
It's mating season and the large herds can generally be found in the Southern Serengeti during the month of February.
The herds start to get restless. You will find the herds are still in the Southern Serengeti, many of the females are already pregnant. With the grasses being depleted, the herds start to gather.
The Wildebeest herds can be found in the central and sometimes western Serengeti as they start to move North.
They are on the move! As the summer rains become a distant memory, many of the waterholes in the Serengeti start to dry up so the herds start to move toward the Mara River. Huge herds, sometimes 25 miles long, can be seen as they travel to the central Serengeti.
The herds are generally in the Western and Central Serengeti at this year.
It is generally the month of July that you see the spectacular River Crossings. Its a naturally a very popular time of year so expect to find higher prices and also make sure that you book in advance. We generally find the great herds in the Western Serengeti as well as the Grumeti. Our advice is to book well in advance, we recommend one of the lodges that are as close to the rivers as possible.
Our years of experience has identified many of the historical crossing points and we often sit quietly, staking out the river until the spectacle begins.
The herds are crossing into the Northern Serengeti and from then into Kenya's famed Masai Mara Game Reserve
The great herds are in the Masai Mara but are generally widely dispersed due to the plentiful bounty of fresh grasses.
October is a great time for game viewing. With the rains a distant memory, the animals are generally not far away from the water holes and the Masai Mara offers up some of its best game viewing.
The Migration continues in reverse, with rains falling in the Masai Mara, the herds regroup and cross the rivers again back to the now fertile grounds of the Serengeti. Weather is slightly cooler so make sure you are prepared!
Arriving in the Serengeti, many of the great herds can be found in the north eastern block, the circle-of-life begins again wtih the females starting to give birth, the predators start to move in again and the cycle begins again.
Tour Ideas to get you thinking!
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