Kenya Wildebeests Migration
The wildebeest migration is amazingly one of the most dramatic wildlife spectacles on planet earth. No wildlife safari experience does compare to the great wildebeest migration, imagine observing millions of wildebeest migrate plus a thousand others including gazelles, elands, and many more. It is a unique experience Kenya has to offer the world and it is enjoyable while on Kenya safaris in Masai Mara National Reserve.
During the wildebeest migration, the wildebeest population varies from 1.5-2 million, often witnessed make their journey from Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara National Reserve. This is an annual event experience and what makfraines it exhilarating is the fact that the wildebeests are accompanied by other grazers such as impalas, elands, zebras, and more.
Wildebeest migration can be observed while on game driving safari in the Masai Mara National Reserve. This is often conducted in specialized safari vehicles and experienced driver-guide. Usually, the majority of visitors who come to observe the wildebeest migrate target viewing them cross the river. The river crossings are magical and the main highlight of every safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Located in the Great Rift Valley, South-western part of Kenya, Masai Mara is positioned close to the Serengeti National Park. The nature reserve began as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1961 and occupied an area of 520sq.kms, in 1974, it became a National Reserve. Today, Masai Mara National Reserve expands on a land area of 1510sq.kms and has 3 ranches; the Musiara, Sekenani, and Mara triangle.
From Nairobi up to Mara Reserve is 224kms drive. The reserve is managed by Trans-Mara and Narok county councils. In addition to wildebeests, the Mara National Reserve also prides itself as a home to wildlife species such as topis, Thompson’s gazelles, rhinos, lions, zebras, elands, buffaloes, leopards, cheetahs, bat-eared fox, crocodiles, hippos.
Over 470 bird species also live in this nature reserve and they include the yellow-bellied hyliota, sparrow hawk, red capped lark, red necked spurfowl, foxy lark, green capped eremomela, rufous napped lark, Hildebrandt’s, ostriches, cinnamon breasted rock bunting, a lilac-breasted roller. Others include secretary birds, little bee-eaters, rosy-breasted long claws, African pygmy falcons, long-crested eagles, bare-faced go-away bird, red collared widow bird.
Wildebeest migration- month by month
The great wildebeest migration is experienced all year round. Different times have distinct experiences for tourists on Kenya safaris to get back home with. The river crossing which is one of the most sought for by the majority of travelers on Kenya holiday to Masai Mara National Reserve occurs the same time the peak season is experienced in the reserve.
The peak season coinciding with river crossing events at times makes travelers think that there is a single wildebeest migration in a year. The wildebeests are usually spotted crossing the Mara River from late July to August, then around September, they begin their return journey to the South till early November. This is notably the best time to go observe these unique creatures.
December to April, they can be spotted in the Southern Serengeti National Park around the Ngorongoro and Ndutu plains. This guarantees visitors all 4 months of exploring the wildebeests. January-February, wildebeests are witnessed giving birth.
May-June, these are the months of the year when the wildebeest migration is witnessed heading towards the North to look for fresh pasture and water. During this period, wildebeests are observed moving in large numbers, about 40kms long. They are joined by zebras, grant’s & Thompson’s gazelles. The rainy season ends around June, and it is when they cross the Grumeti River
July-September, if you have ever thought of witnessing the wildebeest migrate in huge numbers then July, August, September are the best months to consider visiting the Masai Mara National Reserve. It is considered to be the time starting period for the Mara River crossing.
Survivor herd proceeds towards the North in August and confine in the Northern Serengeti National Park and start crossing into Masai Mara. They split themselves into smaller groups and usually, the majority of them would have crossed over to Kenya.
October-November, the wildebeests are witnessed migrating Southwards via Western Loliondo and Lobo area of Serengeti National Park. Short rains start around November and they concentrate in the Serengeti due to the availability of water.
Best time to travel for wildebeest migration tour in Kenya
The best time to go enjoy the Mara wildebeest migration is during the drier months of July to September which also coincides with peak season. However, there are various wildebeest events worth enjoying ranging from calving often experienced from February to March, breeding season from April to May, Grumeti river crossing from May to June, the Mara river crossing from July to August, and others. They get on the move from November to January when they transfer from Masai Mara and November Serengeti to Southern Serengeti.
How to Book a Wildebeest Migration Safari in Kenya
Kenya, being among the top safari destinations in Africa has a number of credible tour operators and travel agents through which one can book a guided or self drive safari in Kenya to witness the great wildebeest migration. Among the top-ranked tour operators include Paradise Adventure Vacations, Pamoja Tours and Travel, Car Rental Kenya, Bill Winter Safaris, Call of Africa Safaris, Classic safaris, Kenia Tour Safaris, and Offbeat safaris among others.