The Great wildebeest migration has been called the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ by nature lovers and for certain this is one of the most impressive sights in the animal kingdom. If you are not aware of what this event is, it is the annual cycle which sees over 2 million wildebeest, gazelles and zebras, trek over 1,600 kilometers in search of fresh grasses as the rains break through Kenya and Tanzania. We all know the popularity of Africa when it comes to searching for the ‘big 5‘ game animals, but if you are looking for a true spectacle, the great wildebeest migration is where you will find it.
Because of the way in which the huge number of wildebeest move, you must select your times carefully in order to see the action. You should first select where you would like to see the migration, and then figure your timings out from there. Let’s take a look at where the wildebeest go, and when.
The Arduous Journey
The journey begins, so to speak, in the north of Kenya in the Masai Mara game reserve, usually around the middle of September. The timing of the journey depends very much on the rains which can often change from year to year. As the rain moves south, so too does the herd, searching for fresh grass. The herd reaches the south west of Kenya at around February and as they move into the Serengeti they face their first river crossing. River crossings can take many lives because of currents and predators in the water. The wildebeest move into Tanzania, face another crossing at the tumultuous Grumeti River, before heading north and back up to the Masai Mara. The journey will finish in August, leaving the animals a short time to rest before starting it all again.
Kenya – When’s The Best Time To See It?
If you would like to see the great wildebeest migration in Kenya, your best options are to go to the Masai Mara in August and take a safari before witnessing the beginning of the migration. Alternatively, you could take a trip into the heart of Kenya and visit the Serengeti, and try to time it right to witness the river crossing.
Tanzania – When’s The Best Time To See It?
Without question the best time to go to Tanzania is towards the end of May, waiting on the shores of the Grumeti River for the wildebeest to arrive. Timing this can be difficult but it will be all worthwhile once you have a front seat to the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ as the animals face their toughest part of the journey.
In order to get the timings right, you will need to be flexible, and prepared. You can plan months ahead as once the wildebeest make progress, their location can usually be predicted within a time frame of two weeks. This means that if you book up for 2 weeks or more, in the place of your choice, you will have a huge probability of seeing what you are looking for.