The Great Wildebeest Migration

One of the Seven New Wonders of the World

The Great Migration is one of the world’s most incredible natural occurrences. Every year, nearly 1.5 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra make the long trek North from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains to Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

River crossings

You won’t fail to be awestruck by the sight of hundreds of animals gathering on the plains or crowding to cross either the Grumeti or Mara River, braving the crocodiles who lie in wait.

Predator Heaven

These huge herds are followed by Africa’s most impressive hunters – lions, leopards, hyenas & wild dogs – who eagerly watch for the right moment to pick off the young, old, weak and tired.

Always moving

From August to October the migrating herds can be found between Tanzania & Kenya. For the rest of the year the excitement takes place in Tanzania only.

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Seeing a wildebeest river crossing during the migration is a once in a lifetime experience. Being in the right place at the right time, staying at the right camp, is key. We are here to help.

Ben Nelson

THE MONTHLY MIGRATORY PATTERNS

Due to varying weather conditions and other such factors, the Great Migration can differ in its location at any time of the year. A general prediction for the migratory pattern month-by-month can be summarised as follows.

In January & February

The herds of the wildebeest are found in the Southern Serengeti on the green and nutritious short-grass plains, ready for calving season. Predator activity is exceptionally high at this time of year, with the highest concentration of predator activity in the world.

In March, April & May

The herds start moving north through the areas of the Moru Kopjes and Seronera towards the Western Corridor.

In June & July

The herds collect in the Western Corridor and begin crossing the Grumeti River.

In August & September

The herds continue up into the far Northern Serengeti. This is when the famous Mara River crossings start regularly happening.

In October

The herds graze in the far North of the Serengeti and across in the Mara.

In November

The herds start heading South via the Eastern extremities of the Serengeti National Park.

In December

The herds head further South in search of fresh grass, and their cycle restarts.

Did you know?

It is the longest and largest overland migration in the world. Half a million wildebeest calves are born each year in the Southern Serengeti; half a million!

Swarm intelligence

While having the appearance of a confused frenzy, recent research has shown a herd of wildebeest possesses what is known as ‘swarm intelligence’, where the animals systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one.

Not all make it

The migration kills off around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra every year. This is the result of predation by carnivores, but also thirst, hunger, exhaustion as well as crushes and drownings in stampedes of nervous animals.

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Credit: Geraint Warrington

A selection of clips from this prestigious documentary series on the Migration of Wildebeest across the African Plains. “The Great African Migration” is a 4 part 1 hour documentary series produced by Renegade Pictures for Five and BBC Worldwide. The documentaries are presented by Ben Fogle and produced by the same fantastic team that make New Lives in the Wild.

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Ben Nelson
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