The Great Wildebeest Migration happens 365 days a year but we’re the only ones that can guarantee you’ll see it. We don’t wait for the herds to come to us, we take you to them – leaving no trace. We follow the wildebeest in our small pioneering camp according to the wildebeest and their movements. Great Migration Camps is headed north for crossing season 2022.
Calving Season (January- March)
- Almost 2 million wildebeest gather on the southern plains of the Serengeti for calving season. The herds don’t all arrive at the same time in January.
- Females synchronize their birthing, so about 500,000 wildebeest are born in a 3-week period (early Feb)
- Sheer numbers give them a level of protection whilst the calves are still young. This many creatures need a lot of food. The southern plains have the most nutritious grass to sustain the numbers.
- Despite significant predator action, the wildebeest stick around for as long as possible, as the grass is good & the calves gain strength.
- As the grass dries out, the wildebeest start moving north- the timing of which is unpredictable and sadly doesn’t correspond with any fixed dates.
The Long Rains (April- May)
April – May is the long rainy season so the wildebeest move to locations where it has rained. They can scatter & almost disappear which seems crazy as there are hundreds of thousands of wildebeest in the great migration
- North to the Seronera area
- North-West via Kusini to the western corridor.
- Eastern border of the Serengeti.
Rutting Season (June)
- Breeding season for the wildebeest takes place in June.
- Birthing is synchronized so it figures that rutting is also synchronized.
- In June, smaller family herds gather (often in close proximity) dominated by one male.
- The lone male spends a great deal of energy protecting his females from males without their own harem,
River Crossing Season (July- October)
- The Mara River starts in Kenya and runs north -south and then east to west in Tanzania
- River Crossings generally start from mid-July (earliest).
- Generally peak season is August & September but depends on the weather and rainfall.
- The northern Serengeti (Tanzania) and Masai mara (Kenya) have more permanent water & grass attracting the wildebeest to the north. To get there they need to cross the Mara River.
- It’s probably the most dramatic time of the migration as a river crossing is dangerous for the wildebeest. Hungry crocs & predators await, it’s easy to break a leg jumping into the river or drown during a crossing.
- The crossings themselves generally involve a buildup of wildebeest numbers. The wildebeest can move up and down the Mara River looking for good spots to cross or to simply wait for more wildebeest to join the growing herd. The micro movement up and down the river with multiple hesitations and disruptions can and does drive people crazy! They just won’t cross until they decide.
- The wildebeest can cross northwards but a little rain or fresh grass can bring them south again. Ultimately, they could cross the Mara River multiple times.
- Book early as supplemental services get full (flights etc)
- When it comes to river crossings – you have to have patience. You can be at a great spot, with a large mass of wildebeest waiting to cross. The wildebeest can do nothing for 2 days …yet the moment you wake up late, they will all cross over in 20 minutes and you’ll find them standing on the opposite bank, with only a few fat crocs to show where they were!!!!
Waiting for Rain (November- January)
- We call this final period “waiting for rain”! The short rains are usually in Nov-Dec but this can vary a lot.
- In general, the wildebeest move southwards through the Serengeti to the southern plains… following water and rivers.
- They can move in large herds or as small family groups as they make their way back towards those plains where the journey started in a seasonal yet variable repetition of events.
For human mortals – here is the month-by-month calendar version
Dry months of the year. Wildebeest move south for calving season on the southern plains.
Usually dry and before the long rains. Wildebeest start moving north as plains dry out.
Long rains. Wildebeest on the move – mostly headed north and north-west. Access can be difficult, getting stuck is common. Interesting sightings and beautiful as very green with no dust.
The transition to dry season. Can have dramatic clouds. Wildebeest rutting season, big herds in the west and NW. Some herds move up the eastern border of the Serengeti.
Dry season and it coincides with northern hemisphere summer holidays. River crossing season of the migration in the northern Serengeti.
The good conditions last into about mid-October when the buildup for the short rains begins. Can be spectacular and not particularly crowded. An untraditional “spring” brings new wild life.
Tanzania’s short rainy season starts & continues until the beginning of December. Afternoon rains are common so be prepared for a shower. Uncrowded. Wildebeest location unpredictable.
Rains can extend, and the mountain becomes popular over Festive Season and for new year goal setting trips. Wildebeest start moving south for calving season.
Bookings are open for River Crossing Season 2022 of the Great Wildebeest Migration. email@example.com
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