The Great Migration is the largest cyclic pattern of hoofed animals in the world. It takes place throughout the Serengeti and a small section of Kenya over the course of the year. Over 2.5 million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles move within a 30,000 km2 area of both the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. The Serengeti plains are known to have some of the highest protein grasses in Africa and thus provide nutrient rich food for these animals. The migrant grazers (wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles) all survive in the same area by co-dependence. Each species helps the other species by eating only a specific part of the grass enabling the other animals better access to different portions of the grasses. This symbiotic relationship between the species allows each one to flourish.
The Great Migrations can be observed throughout the entire year in different parts of the Serengeti. In January through March, the animals feast on the new grasses that have grown, due to the rainy season, in the Southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation areas. In January and February, the wildebeest will undergo calving season with over 400,000 new calves born within just a few weeks. After calving season the animals begin to migrate through the Central Serengeti following the rains and new grass growth. May is mating season when you can spot the male wildebeest fighting for dominance. In June, the dry season has started so the animals migrate north following the rains through the Western portion of the Serengeti. By July they have migrated all the way to the Northern Serengeti (approximately 630 miles). In August and September the rains have moved further north into Maasai Mara in Kenya and so the animals are forced to cross the Mara River. This crossing of the Mara River provides one of the most exhilarating wildlife viewing experiences in the world. The animals will plunge into the river to cross to the far banks. The strong and lucky will persevere through the rapid currents of the rivers and past the predators such as lions and crocodiles that are there to feast off of the weaker animals. The migration will turn and start to move south again as the short rainy season returns to the plains of the Serengeti. The animals are forced to making the harrowing journey across the Mara River again. Those that are successful will move through the Eastern Serengeti in November and December where they will eat the highly rich and nutritious grasses as they get ready for calving season to start all over again. During the Great Migration you will not only be spotting the wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles but also predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, predatory and scavenger birds. These predators will follow the Great Migration as it provides ample food source for these animals.
This large concentration of animals and complex ecosystem make the Serengeti the best wildlife viewing area in the world. No matter what time of year you come we will know exactly where to take you in order to ensure that you have a remarkable time watching these beautiful animals.