2018 has been an unusual crossing season, with very little “normal” behaviour or movement of the migration. There are still huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra on the Masai Mara side and big numbers have moved down from the northern Serengeti to the western Serengeti corridor, Grumeti River area. This is the complete opposite of what is suppose to happen if we look at traditional “migration maps”, like this one (courtesy of Scott Dunn) and has us wondering what will happen in Calving Season 2019.
The short rains have started and it is the end of October. There is moisture being pushed into East Africa (Lake Victoria depression) from two sides: From the east or coastal region, moisture is pushed in with the east winds blowing and more moisture is being pushed in from the great lakes regions, west of the Serengeti.
Possible Calving Season Scenarios
If we have lots of early rain which stops in January, February and March. This is the most likely scenario – there is only so much moisture that can fall! The moment the trade winds start blowing off the coast then we might have a fairly dry February/March 2019. This scenario will cause the migration to look for permanent water when the plains have dried out. Possible locations could be the Maswa Game Reserve / Kusini / Kakessio areas west of Lake Ndutu. Or movement to Seronera where there is permanent water in the Seronera valley river system.
The second scenario sees continuous rain from November to end May 2019. There are predictions of a very wet short rainy season, if this connects with the traditional long rains of April May then there would be a constant supply of water and grass on the southern Serengeti plains. This might cause the herds to be spread out from Kakessio in the west to Oldupai in the south to Goll kopjes and even Piyaya in the east.
How to plan your safari for the calving season and what to look out for
The border between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is an “imaginary line” which basically splits the southern plains in half. Many camps and lodges are either on the Serengeti side or the NCA side of the plains. Very few companies will pay double park fees to accommodate their tourists and give them access to both sides on the same day. This leaves clients with a 50/50 chance of being on the wrong side of the imaginary line.
How do I fix this and make sure I get to see the calving season from end January to end March 2019
- Make sure you have park fees paid for both sides of the southern plains
- Book your safari with Great Migration Camps – guaranteeing you will be with the herds
When to come on safari to witness the calving season
The calving season is a window between end January and end March. Gathering in massive numbers, the wildebeest synchronize their birthing, for safety reasons. Needless to say, there are very good animal interactions and predator activity throughout this time. February – March are the two ideal months to come to the Serengeti / NCA. It is a special season due to the sheer numbers and abundance of wildlife and activity.
Talk to us about the migration and where to go when!
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