The Great Wildebeest Migration: Witnessing Nature's Epic Spectacle in the Serengeti.

The Great Wildebeest Migration: Witnessing Nature's Epic Spectacle in the Serengeti.

Migrations are one of the most awe-inspiring natural occurrences on the planet. Every year, an estimated two and a half million wildebeest and other herbivores traverse the vast plains of East Africa on a perilous journey. Not only is the migration an awe-inspiring spectacle, but it is also a critical component of the ecosystem, having a significant impact on the survival of a variety of species and shaping the landscape.

The Serengeti migration is a remarkable event that takes place in the Serengeti ecosystem, spanning across Tanzania and Kenya. It involves the movement of approximately two and a half million wildebeest, along with other herbivores such as zebras and gazelles, in search of fresh grazing pastures.

This epic spectacle is an annual occurrence and is considered one of the most impressive wildlife events in the world. The migration is driven by the need for food and water, as the animals follow the seasonal rains and the growth of nutritious grasses.

The Serengeti migration follows a circular pattern, with the animals moving in a loop between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The journey covers a distance of about 800 kilometres, and it is estimated to take around a year for the complete cycle to occur.

During the migration, the wildebeest and other herbivores face numerous challenges and dangers. They must navigate treacherous river crossings, where crocodiles lie in wait, and predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas are ready to seize any opportunity for a meal. The survival of the fittest is truly put to the test during this incredible journey.

Witnessing the Serengeti migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who have the opportunity to see it. It is a testament to the power and resilience of nature and serves as a reminder of the intricate connections within ecosystems. This article will explore the various aspects of this remarkable event and why it is regarded as a natural wonder.

The Wildebeest Migration Explained.

What is the wildebeest migration?

Migrating annually, the wildebeest and zebras make their way across the savannas of East Africa in search of water and pasture. The migration commences in December in Tanzania and continues through July and August in Kenya, where the herds stay for the remainder of the year. Migrations also play an important ecological role in the ecosystem, as they help to replenish the grasslands and support the population of predators.

Is it only Wildebeest which migrates?

No, it's not just the 2 million or so wildebeest - there are thousands of other animals too, like the zebras and the gazelles that form a super herd. The zebras and wildebeest have a great deal in common since the zebras eat the longer, harder grass, which helps them get ready to go out and feed. The wildebeest, on the other hand, have a wider muzzle that's better for grazing on shorter grass. And don't think that lions or other carnivores follow the grazing animals - they hunt and eat them when they come across them.

Why do the animals migrate?

The animals follow the rains in search of fresh, abundant grass, taking advantage of the strong seasonal changes in East Africa. During the wet season, they spend their time on the plains to the southeast, and during the dry season, they inhabit the woodlands to the northwest. Their sheer numbers act as a force of nature, shifting the environment to suit their needs.

The 800 km journey is a continuous cycle of movement, dispersal, and movement. The migration is not always in a straight line, as the animals need to drink regularly, and their movements are largely determined by the presence of water.

It is often said that animals have an innate ability to follow storms! This epic journey is an endless one, as the animals are constantly on the move, searching for sustenance and water. Unfortunately, this journey is also fraught with danger, with an estimated 250,000 deaths each year due to injuries, exhaustion, and predation.

The Drama of River Crossings.

The Great Migration River Crossing is a sight to behold! Filmmakers and photographers have been capturing the incredible sight of wildebeest plunging into the waters of the mighty Grumeti River and Mara River. The power of the herd pushes them over the edge and they end up drowning in their thousands, all thanks to the power of the crocodiles. It's a must-see for anyone who wants to see this amazing sight!

One of the most memorable moments of the migration is when the herds arrive at the Mara River, where they encounter their most dangerous task – traversing the waters that are infested with crocodiles. This event is a testament to the brutality of nature. The wildebeests congregate at the edge of the river, hesitant and apprehensive, before plunging into the waters. The crocodiles are lurking beneath the surface, ready to feed, and the atmosphere is charged with anticipation. It is a life-affirming moment in the purest sense.

What time of year is the best for the Great Wildebeest migration in Serengeti?

What time of year is the best for the Great Wildebeest migration in Serengeti? The movements of the herds vary from one year to the next due to weather conditions and other factors, but certain general times of the year offer the best chance of seeing key stages of the migration.

  1. Calving Season (Late January to February): The migration starts with the calving season when hundreds of thousands of wildebeests give birth to their young. This occurs in the southern Serengeti plains. While the migration itself may not be in full swing at this time, witnessing the adorable wildebeest calves and the predator-prey interactions can be quite captivating.

  2. Grumeti River Crossings (June to July): As the dry season intensifies, the wildebeest herds start moving northwards. In June and July, they often face the Grumeti River, and river crossings can occur during this period. These crossings provide thrilling scenes of animals overcoming obstacles and confronting predators.

  3. Mara River Crossings (July to September): The Mara River crossings are perhaps the most iconic and dramatic moments of the migration. From July to September, the herds attempt to cross the Mara River, braving crocodile-infested waters and strong currents. Witnessing these crossings is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and usually happens during these months.

  4. Maasai Mara, Kenya (August to October): In August, the migration often spills over into Kenya's Maasai Mara Reserve, as the wildebeests continue their northward journey in search of fresh grazing. This period provides an excellent opportunity to see the herds in the Maasai Mara before they start heading back to the Serengeti.

  5. Return to the Serengeti (November to December): As the rainy season approaches, the wildebeest herds begin their journey back south towards the Serengeti, usually in November or December. During this time, you can witness the animals moving across the Serengeti plains once again.

A Photographer's Paradise

If you’re one of those die-hard wildlife photographers, you’ve probably heard the term ‘Great Wildebeest Migration’. It’s a sight you’ll never forget. The stark contrast between the golden savannah and the thundering herds of wildebeest makes it impossible to take your eyes off the camera for more than just a few moments.

There’s something magical about the way the light catches the animals’ shadows, the dust that’s kicked up by their feet, and the faces of the animals themselves. Stories that are captured in time, captured through the lens Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced wildlife photographer, the migration is the perfect opportunity to take some of the most stunning images of your career.


The Great Migration is one of nature’s most spectacular events. Whether it’s the calving season of the southern Serengeti or the perilous river crossings of the Great Migration, these animals are a testament to the power and beauty of nature.

Planning your trip carefully and selecting the best time and location for the migration will ensure that you will be able to witness this incredible event from the comfort of your own home.

So pack your bags, pick up your camera and prepare to witness nature’s greatest show on earth.