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The wildebeest migration

The wildebeest migration where over a million wildebeest move through the Serengeti eco-system is currently spread widely across the central Serengeti and quickly moving north, ahead of normal.



Wildebeest on the plains

The Serengeti in Tanzania

The wildebeest migration involves the movement of 1.5 million wildebeests, 400 000 zebra and thousands of antelopes including gazelles with accompanying predators, in particular hyenas. The herds move across the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania and into the Masai Mara in Kenya. Then the masses cross back into the Serengeti and heading south to give birth.

These ungulates generally enter the Masai Mara, Kenya in July and leave in October. Some years they’ll leave earlier or later but patterns have remained relatively consistent in most recent years. Changes have been noticed in their behavior however!

So here’s a more informed explanation on how the wildebeest migration really works…courtesy of Richard Knocker:

The wildebeest want to be in the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti [in Ndutu/Gol/Southern Loliondo] but the water and grazing cannot support them all year round. This is where they choose to give birth to their young (usually Feb – March). Here the rich grass supports the herds. Within a relatively short space of time, perhaps 4 to 6 weeks, several hundred thousand calves will be born. This is where we see much of the dramatic predator action. The Migration will move off in search of sustenance in response to periods of dry weather, but they will leave this area as late as possible and come back as soon as they can. This means that every year is different and, in fact, every week can be different.

The wildebeest migration is also not a continually forward motion. They go forward, back and to the sides, they mill around, they split up, they join forces, they walk in a line, they spread out, they hang around. You can never predict with certainty where they will be; the best you can do is to suggest likely timings, based on past experience – but you can never guarantee the Migration 100%.


Read our Essential guide for planning a migration safari

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