Also known as the Great Migration; the annual wildebeest migration in Kenya is documented as one of the must-see Seven Wonders of the World. It is one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena that happens at a specific time of the year. The magnificent event showcases millions of wildebeests accompanied by hordes of zebra, gazelles, impalas among other grazers moving from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the adjacent Maasai Mara (Masai Mara) Reserve in Kenya.
The animals typically move instinctively in search of fresh and greener pastures following the rainfall patterns modified by the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. For the wildebeest migration 2022 season, Pega Tours highly recommends that you plan for a mid-July safari.
An ideal time when the herds of a million plus wildebeests, almost a similar number of zebras and other grazers move into the Mara dramatically. This continues until the end of August, before declining in mid-September.
All About the Great Wildebeest Migration, In a Nutshell
Picture this; 1.5 million wildebeests, half a million zebras, a couple of 12,000 elands, another half million Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles trekking from the south of Serengeti into the Masai Mara.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The grazers must evade crocodiles and other predators lurking in and around the Mara and Sand River.
This incident may take hours to full days for all the animals to cross into the Maasai Mara from the Serengeti. The epic dramatic showdown between the grazers and predators is a must-see for anyone who loves to watch the cycle of life in the wild in real time. For this very reason, the event gained its title ‘The Great Migration’.
The wildebeest migration in Kenya is an iconic natural phenomenon whose timing is greatly dependent on environmental factors, climatic patterns, and behaviour of the animals. The single biggest mammal migration follows the rain for over 800 Km across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystems in search of green pasture and water.
The grazers, however, spend most of the time trekking across the Serengeti. It is only during this specific period that travelers get a good chance to see and take spectacular photos of the drama that unfolds when they cross the crocodile infested Mara and Talek river into the bountiful plains of Maasai Mara reserve.
The Migration Climax
During and upon entry into the Mara, gazelles, zebras, and other mammals are welcomed by a party of deadly predators. The river Mara in which they emphatically cross harbours over 3000 crocodiles.
Watching the herds jump blindly in the river from the riverbank edges is just fabulous to say the least. Those that make it to the other side are rewarded with the goodies of open Maasai Mara plains. As long as the grass is green on that side, the flocks stay and multiply. But once the food dwindles and the rain patterns change, the animals will move through the Mara and later back to the Serengeti.
What’s the Best Moment to Watch the Migration?
The most ideal time to witness the Great migration is normally between July and October. But always keep in mind that Mother Nature is her own boss. Whereas there’s no sure way to ascertain the exact moment the herds will cross the river, we will provide a possible outline of when the theatrical crossing occurs. Unpredictable weather patterns may hasten the migration or delay it depending on the rains.
Movement of the herds begin from the southern Serengeti arid plains late July as we go into August. The mammals cover hundreds of Kilometres in search of water and greener pastures. They reach the Mara River where they quench up before crossing over to the Mara. This is the ideal moment to watch the remarkable crossing.
Wildebeests and the other grazers have arrived in the Mara by August. Here, they find a welcoming committee of big cats, packs of hunting dogs and hyenas.
At this time of the year, life is good in the Mara. There is relative peace and quiet in the plains of Mara for the herds to enjoy. This presents a perfect opportunity for game safari drives across the Mara reserve.
In October the weather patterns change. Fewer rains are experienced in the Mara. By November the mammals begin their journey back to the Serengeti. The great migration Masai Mara ends here until the next season. The un-ending cycle of the great migration goes on and on.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Great Migration (FAQs)
There are several details you need to know about the wildebeest migration into Kenya. Aside from the best months to view this epic event, there are other important details like why it happens and how you should prepare for it. Here are some of the most asked questions:
Why do wildebeests migrate from Kenya to Tanzania?
The wildebeests essentially migrate following the rains. During the months of October and November, the rains have significantly subsided in the Mara. Instinctively, the wildebeest begin their trek from Kenya to the eastern area of the Serengeti; Namiri Plains, an area renowned for spectacular cheetah sightings. Come December, the mammals are spread throughout the eastern and southern limits.
What month is the wildebeest migration?
The best month for watching the theatrical event is July. Although the movement patterns are not exactly definite, July has over the years been the opportune time to catch a glimpse of the tremendous affair.
What is the peak time to Kenya to witness the great migration?
Plan you visit early enough. Remembered this event is well anticipated by many other travelers. Ultimately, these are wild animals, and the rains determine the food which they depend on. This means that peak seasons vary. July to October is the peak time to witness the migration especially the river crossings. Book yourself at the Mara crossing camp to enjoy the spectacular show. The camp is situated along the migration routes in Kenya.
What is the best time to visit the Mara?
The Mara presents an array of unforgettable unique experiences. You will get incredible deals if you decide to brave the March-May downpour. The short rainy season of November also has cheaper deals but the best time to visit the Mara would be July-October. This is basically due the great migration. This is a very popular period. To witness the wildebeests in a less crowded Mara try late June or September-October.
The exceptional wildebeest migration in Kenya is obviously a must-watch event. The world-famous spectacle presents a perfect getaway for you and family. Our packages for honeymoon travel; group safari; solo excursion among others cover this exploit. Get a unique thrill of action where wildebeests and their migration partners struggle to survive the big cats, dog hunting parties and the Nile crocs.
Unforgettable moments are made of times such as the ones spent in an African Safari. Book yourself with Pega Tours and get an early spot to create moments of nostalgia and pure bliss. The Mara awaits!