Stages of the Great Wildebeest Migration
Stages of the Great Wildebeest Migration: The great wildebeest migration is one of the most mesmerizing and spectacle wildlife occurrences on the planet in which over 1.5 mullions wildebeests and hundreds of zebras, Thomson gazelles and grant’s gazelles move around Serengeti national park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya. The movement of the animals is generally attributed the rain patterns and it is said that the animals move in search for green pasture and water.
The great wildebeest migration happens in a cycle or stages, the stages are followed for tourists who want to witness this incredible phenomenon and it is as explained below.
In the calving season in the great wildebeest migration, the majority of the wildebeests taking part in the migration start to congregate in the southern region of Serengeti national park at the beginning of the year and some of the animals spread to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Calving season is the time when the migrating herds (wildebeest, zebras, Thomson and grant’s gazelle) are concentrated in the greatest numbers ever watched.
As February kicks in, the birthing season begins and for a period of 3 weeks about 8,000 wildebeest’s calves are born everyone resulting into the rise of the number of the animals in the endless plains of Serengeti national park. The abundance of the newly born claves attracts plenty of predators in return such as cheetahs, sly hyenas, lions and leopards. Calving season is an ideal time for watching the prey and predator action during the wildebeest migration.
If you are looking forward to watching the calving season, the best migration camps to stay at in Serengeti national park include Nomad’s Serengeti Safari camp and Asilia’s Ubuntu camp, these camps offer luxury accommodation and they move 3 times a year following the migration.
The limbo stage in the great wildebeest migration is a stage following the birth of the wildebeest calves, after the birth the migrating herds slowly start to split up moving to different directions though North is the general direction. Some herds which split off “splinter herds” are in Limbo, some herds move straight towards the Grumenti area in the west while others travel into and around the Seronera region of Serengeti national park.
Even though the herds split up, thousands of herds of the migrating herds make their way to the centre of the Serengeti national park.
Watching the in limbo season of the wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park, the perfect place to stay at is Asilia’s Dunia camp because of its perfect location.
In the Grumeti stage of the wildebeest migration, the migrating herds are still in splinter groups and this takes place as May progresses into June, in this stage some of the migrating herds head directly north towards the Mara River from the Seronera region of Serengeti national park. Other herds arrive in the Grumeti region of the park, Grumenti region is crossed by the Grumeti river meandering through beautiful riverine woodlands.
At Grumeti River, small river crossings of the wildebeests and other migrating herds occur though they are not at the same scale as the Mara River crossing, regardless of the scale the crossing is fascinating to watch.
The Grumeti stage of the wildebeest migration is best watched in the month of June and the best site to stay at to watch this stage is Singita comprising of Sasakwa and Faru Faru lodges.
Mara River crossing
The Mara river crossing is the greatest and most sought for occurrence of the great wildebeest migration, this phenomenon occurrence takes place from Early July through to early November . Mara River located in the north of Serengeti national park and south region of Maasai Mara national reserve is the best site to watch the great wildebeest migration.
From the middle of June onwards, the migrating herds arrive in the areas around the Mara River and it is in area where the second largest concentration of the migrating herds (wildebeests, zebras, Thomson and grant’s gazelles) occur.
In the stage of Mara river crossing, the wildebeests cross over from Serengeti national park in Tanzania entering into Maasai Mara national reserve, contrary to the beliefs, quarter of the wildebeests cross the river into Maasai Mara national reserve as some of them stay in Serengeti national park but again cross over the river multiple times searching for green pasture and water. Mara river crossing is the most deadly stage of the great wildebeest migration and the most documented stage of the great wildebeest migration, as thousands of wildebeests try to cross the crocodile infested waters of the Mara river, they are attacked by the huge crocodiles and when they cross the are ambushed by predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs waiting on the banks of the river.
In this predator-prey action, thousands of wildebeests and other migrating herds fall victim to the predators and those who make it they are seen grazing in the plains of Maasai Mara national reserve.
The journey south
The journey south follow the Mara River crossing, after crossing the deadly Mara River and surviving the predators, the wildebeests start their journey heading to south. This stage and the movement to south starts from November onward , the wildebeests’ movement to the Ndutu plains completes the annual cycle of the great wildebeest migration. During their movement to south, some splinter herds move into the central regions and some stay East and some head directly south.
The migrating herds are again in limbo but they all congregate on the southern plains by the end of the year.
The great wildebeest migration is a great wildlife safari any one should witness of planet earth once in a life time, the great wildebeest migration is only witnessed in Maasai Mara national reserve and Serengeti national park.