Each year, the eyes of the world turn to Africa to witness an incredible occurrence take place. Over one million native wildebeest, antelope and zebras begin a long, clockwise trek across multiple countries. They face grave dangers, harsh conditions and hunters─both animal and human─yet still find the time to give birth to the next generation, find a new mate and conceive again along the route. This amazing journey is known as the Serengeti Migration. Many people travel from all over the world to take on an African safari vacation and witness this migration. If you are a traveler that would like to see these animals along their route, keep in mind, timing is everything. Here is an overview of the great Serengeti Migration.
The year begins with the birth of many new youngsters. These calves are born ready to make the migration, though many will die along the way. The herd begins in Tanzania and start their journey south, traveling to the lower Serengeti.
By the spring, all of the good grasslands of the lower Serengeti have been devoured, and the last new calves have been dropped. The herd prepares to continue their journey.
The massive wildebeest herd has now left the lower Serengeti and is making their presence known in the central and western regions of the land. They will continue north from here.
The herd is officially in motion, and huge groups stretch up to 40km as they continue to travel north. If you are planning to visit the wildebeest during their journey, it is important to remember that their natural predators also have an important role in play. These wildebeest provide a vital source of food for many of the other iconic animals of Africa. By June, the herd is visibly agitated as trouble becomes more and more apparent.
As summer arrives, the wildebeest reach one of their greatest obstacles. The far western Serengeti and the popular Grumeti reserve are marked by teeming brown waters of rushing rivers. It is not just the water that makes the wildebeest anxious, but the giant crocodiles that call them home.
Those who survive the rivers make their way to the northern Serengeti and yet another reserve, the Masai Mara. They begin to split into smaller herds as fall approaches. This is a great area and time to come see the migration.
As winter approaches, the grasses of the Northernmost parts of the Serengeti have been completely depleted by what remains of the massive wildebeest herd. As the winter rains begin to arrive, the herd starts its way back south. By this time, their original spots on the Serengeti have been replenished.
Back at square one, the wildebeest begin the cycle of calving, moving and surviving yet again. This is a true representation of “the circle of life.” These animals have traveled across the plains for hundreds of generations, and will hopefully continue to do so well into the future.
If you would like to book your African safari vacation, visit our safari page or contact a representative with Rohoyachui today.
Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa