The Great Migration in Masai Mara

There is no other place in the world that has recorded a movement of animals as immense as the migration in Masai Mara. This migration often happens once a year between July and October and it involves wildebeests crossing the Mara River from Serengeti in Tanzania to the Mara in Kenya. The migration of the wildebeests first made headlines in 2007 and has found its way into the Guinness Book of Records as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania usually become a hotspot in East Africa during the migration. The phenomenon is spectacular, indescribable, and magical. Anyone who wants to visit the Mara should make it a priority to visit during the migration in order to view the great phenomenon.

Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya

The Cycle of the Migration in Masai Mara

There is neither start nor an end of the migration in Masai Mara. It is actually an endless cycle as the animals maneuver between the Serengeti Ecosystem and the Mara Ecosystem in search of food and water. It is usually a relentless sequence of life and death with the only beginning being the moment the young ones are birthed. The cycle of the migration is shown below:

Cycle 1: The Birthing Process

Ironically, the wildebeest cows usually birth their young ones in a synchronized way that is why the birthing process sees between 300,000 – 400,000 calves being born between January and February each year. The annual birthing period, usually provides a feast for predators as hyenas and lions are usually seen scattered around to prey on the young and helpless wildebeests. The birthing process is usually an amazing one. Due to their nature of life, the newborn wildebeest usually gain co-ordination faster than any other animal and is usually on its feet three minutes after birth.

Cycle 2: The start of the migration

After the birthing process ends, the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti begin to dry out and the wildebeests start moving towards the Western woodlands, still within the Serengeti. Their journey is primarily dictated by their response to the weather. They usually follow the rains, as the rain brings with it the growth of new grass. At this time, their biggest need is usually to find water and it is also at this time that the first downpour of the heavy rains usually set in.

Cycle 3: The Rut

This is also known as the mating period. It usually occurs between May and June each year. Half a million cows are usually mated within a period of one month. During the mating season, there is usually a vicious fight between the males, but despite the energetic duels, it is the females that actually choose the males to mate them.

Cycle 4: The Crossing

Then come the moment that is usually awaited by many; the time that the wildebeests finally begin the Great Migration in Masai Mara. This usually happens between July and October each year. Their path is usually cut by several rivers, but the greatest is the Mara River as they have to fight harder for their lives from the jaws of the crocodiles in the Mara River.

The Great Wildebeest Migration in Masai Mara - Action

During the crossing, herds of wildebeests are seen hurriedly crossing to escape the predators that lay in wait. Not all are lucky as some of the animals are usually trapped under the strong jaws of the crocodiles.

Cycle 5: The Predators

The wildebeests usually migrate in search of greener pastures and the fact that they are constantly on the move, they do manage to stay away from predators. They also tend to outmatch the number of predators because they are used to moving in large herds. Their movement also helps them stay safe because most predators are territorial animals and can neither abandon their territories nor invade the territories of others.

Cycle 6: Closing the Cycle

This might seem like the end of a cycle, but it also becomes the beginning of yet another, hence the saying, migration in Masai Mara has no beginning or end. This now happens by late October when the short rains are just beginning, bringing with it new flushes of growth. This time the wildebeests start heading south again, with almost 90% of the females heavy with pregnancy for the new season.

This summarizes the cycle that is the migration in Masai Mara. To view this spectacle, you need to visit between July and October each year to catch a glimpse of it.

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