Fun facts about the Wildebeest Migration in Kenya
Being one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles in the world, the wildebeest migration in Kenya attracts visitors from all over. It has been recently recognized as being among the Eigth New Wonder of The world. The migration takes place from July to October in Kenya and Tanzania. Millions of animals move in massive numbers from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya. Most of them are wildebeests with a few zebras and gazelles.
When does the wildebeest migration in Kenya take place?
It is very important to note that the migration doesn’t take place at one place at a time. These are millions of animals and they can cover so many areas at any one time. It’s important to know where the migration is heading to so that you can plan well for your travel. But we will guide you on when and where to experience the wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania.
In Kenya, the migration begins from mid-July to September at the Masai Mara. You may still find some wildebeest in the southern part of the Masai Mara in October as most of the animals are moving back to Tanzania. In November and October, the wildebeest migration is already in Northern Tanzania and you may have to wait until December to see the wildebeests in Southern Serengeti in Tanzania.
Tips to enjoy the best of the Wildebeest migration in Kenya
One thing you need to understand about the migration, is that it is not always a forward movement of animals from Tanzania to Kenya and back. Thousands of animals may choose to go back, move forward or even spread to the sides.
They may split up and stay in a certain region for a period that is longer than expected. So bearing this in mind, you can never be 100% certain of where the animals will be at a time. The predictions are only made based on past experienced. With that in mind, here are simple tips to help you prepare for your safari.
- First things first, you’ll have to carry the right wardrobe. In July, the most part of Kenya is really cold especially during the night so make sure you carry some warm clothes.
- If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures, choose a good guide. There’s always a chance of having the guide who is in such a hurry and you can’t achieve what you want with your camera.
- Carry enough sunscreen especially if you plan on spending most of your time outdoors. The weather is quite hot and your skin needs to be well protected throughout your safari.
- You’ll need to carry a pair of comfortable shoes as well. You’ll spend a lot of time outside and walking.
- Go with a pro to your safari because you will increase your chances of getting the best experience. Highly experienced tour guides know when the migration is likely to take place so you won’t miss out on the best of the best.
- Plan well for your safari so that you don’t run into any inconveniences along the way. Thousands of people travel to experience the Wildebeest migration in Kenya so many places will be fully booked if you plan on making your reservations once you arrive.
- Carry a good pair of binoculars because you will need it while on safari. Everything you see is likely to be very exciting from the birds to the animals and the landscape, you will wish you carried your binoculars and camera.
Facts about the Wildebeest migration in Kenya
- Due to harsh climate in Africa, herds of wildebeests travel through in masses trying to get through the Mara River which is filled with crocodiles and other predators. They move because the sources of food and water have become scarce.
- The exact timing of the migration is always hard to predict because the animals will move depending on the rainfall patterns. In those dry years, the wildebeests get to the Mara River earlier than usual.
- The herds of wildlife are usually spread out from the Mara River to Seronera especially when there’s plenty of grass.
- The animals are fast and can run at a speed of up to 50mph. The younger animals are kept at the center and the elders surround them for protection.
- Wildebeests are smart and devise their own defensive strategy to survive during the migration. Some rest while others are standing in guard and they do this in an alternating fashion for survival.
- Among the most common predators that hunt wildebeests during the migration include crocodiles, lions, leopards and vultures.
- The animals can travel between 500 and 1000 miles and some of them do not survive. The migration can consist of 1.5 million wildebeests, thousands of zebras and gazelles.
- Most of the wildebeests’ calves are born just before the rainy season. The pregnancy lasts for about 8.5 months. They walk as soon as they are born and after a few days, the calves are able to run with the rest of the wildebeests.
- Wildebeests survive on mostly grass and water. The reason why zebras and wildebeests can graze in harmony is because they both eat the same type of grass but different parts.
- During the migration, it is estimated that 250,000 wildebeests do not survive.
- The Wildbeest migration in Kenya began in the 1960s.
What drives the Wildebeest migration in Kenya?
So what makes millions of animals migrate from any given location at a specific period in a year? One would ask. The movement is mainly driven by rain (or the lack of it). Wildebeests will begin moving between April and May when the Serengeti starts to dry out.
They will move to the north and the west of the Serengeti plains where there is still grass and water. The huge herds of wildebeest will only begin to move to the Masai Mara from July through August by crossing the Mara River in very large numbers and thus the name, Wildebeest migration in Kenya.