• info@greatmigrationcamps.com

Great Migration Update 27 May 2022

Where are the Wildebeest of the Great Migration?

The annual migration cycle is one of movement in May and June, making these tough months for accurate location predictions of the wildebeest herds.  The migration is on the move due to some contributing factors.  So far this May 2022,  most of the migration updates have been coming from Seronera as wildebeest herds move through the central Serengeti.

The back-end of the migratory herds are still in the southern and western sectors of the Serengeti National Park.  These pockets of wildebeest are moving slowly.

The Eastern herds, were moving northwards fairly quickly, and there are still some migratory herds on the Eastern Plains.  There are some scattered herds around Mbuzi Mawe, Banagi Hill and Togoro Plains.  Many of the wildebeest that were heading north on the eastern border, crossed through Seronera to the west.

The eastern herds that crossed over to the western Serengeti have become the leaders of the great migration.  They can easily travel 10km per day, often in long lines as they head north.  A few large herds were crossing the Orangi River near Hembe and heading North-West.

Why is the wildebeest whereabouts significant to the great migration?

It is far easier for the wildebeest herds to cross the Upper Grumeti river which has fewer obstructions and geographical barriers than the lower stretches of the river. The lower Grumeti River can be treacherous as it is far larger in size with more water which is dangerous & can slow the wildebeest down.

The impact of the Grumeti River on the great migration

The Grumeti River is a lifeline that cuts through the incredible Serengeti scenery from the north east of the national park and west to Lake Victoria. In river terms, the Grumeti River is short at only 180km, with the upper catchment area near Klein’s Gate.  Water from the Lobo Hills and Bologonja areas, feed into the Upper Grumeti River.

The real water comes from the Upper Orangi River whose catchment area is a vast area in the Serengeti (from Central Banangi Hill, Ngare Nanyuki, Seronera Valley and Makoma).  All the water from the central Serengeti flows into the Oranji River, which feeds the lower Grumeti River, providing a huge catchment area with the Upper stretches of river.   The confluence of the Orangi and Grumeti Rivers is just west of Hembe.

The Grumeti River flows for 3-4 months a year during the wet season, and yearly flooding can occur, as the River is on a broad floodplain, with typical sandy soils and riparian forests.

The impact of the change in vegetation on the great migration

In the south-eastern plains of the Serengeti, there is shallow volcanic ash soil, ideal for the wildebeest during calving season as the grass is short, nutritious and abundant – enough to sustain 1.5 million wildebeest for a few months.  As the plains dry out, the wildebeest are forced to move north, where the changing landscape and soil types alter the vegetation.

It’s wetter in the west – there is more water and more rain as you closer you get to Lake Victoria.  There is lots of water at all the springs and granite zones all the way north from Seronera to the Masai Mara.  Navigating through the wet takes longer and slows the wildebeest herds down.

In addition to the water, there is a lot of grass. The deep sandy soils of the North-western Serengeti have rich, nutritional red oat grass – in abundance right now. One can hardly blame the wildebeest for taking their time, through 80km of delicious red oat grass to graze.

Flashback to this video taken in 2017 where we stopped to look at the red oat grass – beautiful grass that the wildebeest love, and had a lovely interaction with this young bull elephant on the plains of the Lamai Wedge, Northern Serengeti,

To date, we are not aware of any fires, which are commonly lit at the beginning of the dry season by park rangers, to prevent larger-scale fires later in the season, that can reduce woodland cover.

Great Migration Updates:  movement of the wildebeest herds

These migration updates are gathered from a network of guiding professionals and safari experts in the field. Reports are shared directly from the Serengeti itself.  We share these updates for those planning a safari, as well as those who guiding safaris or supplying supplementary services to the industry.

In the south, the Serengeti borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the north, the Serengeti borders Kenya’s Masai Mara.   Surrounding the Serengeti National Park are buffer zones:  Maswa, Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo.  The entire eco-system is open and unfenced, which in itself allows the great migration to take place.

Wildebeest being out of the park boundaries, partially explains why they can be hard to find.   It may seem strange that nearly 2 million creatures can’t be found, as if the great Houdini had performed a vanishing act in the Serengeti.  Remember, the Serengeti is huge- it’s the size of a small country – about 30,000 square kilometers (12,000 square miles), and 160km (100 miles) of bush from north to south.  (Manhattan Island in New York which is 21.6 km (13.4 miles) long and how hard it is to find someone in that city.

We love maps, especially when they include Tanzania, the Great Migration or the Serengeti National Park.  Check out MapFight – it’s a really cool map comparison tool –  you can compare the sizes of any areas or country. Let us know how your country or state compares in size to the Serengeti and you will have a better idea of the vast scale, and why we are constantly looking for wildebeest.

Join Great Migration Camps or follow us, as we follow the Great Wildebeest Migration .  A journey through the Serengeti from the southern plains to the Mara River and back.  We follow the wildebeest, zebra , eland and Thomson’s gazelle as they migrate through the Mara-Serengeti Eco-system.

We have mixed availability in Kogatende area for the River Crossing Season 2022.  Book early  for the great migration river crossing season.  Email: sally@greatmigrationcamps.com #Conservationthroughtourism