Africa Travel Articles
How The Wildebeest Migration Works
Author: Dominic Chadbon
Gnus Cruise: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Wildebeest Migration.
It's rated as one of the world's most spectacular natural events - every year over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem, taking in 2 different countries and making time for birthing, courting and mating on the way. Well, for those who don't get pulled down by ravenous predators, that is.
But the trouble with the wildebeest migration is that if you get your timing wrong, you'll end up gazing out over a wildebeest-less savannah and wondering why all the other animals are all laughing at you. You need to work out where to go and when. And luckily for you, I've done all the work.
Based on historical data, this guide is not infallible (changing climate patterns don't help) but it'll give you an idea of whether your safari will be one full of dramatic imagery - unbridled nature in full tooth and claw - or whether you'll be showing your friends photos of your hotel.
January: The herds are in Tanzania's Serengeti, moving south from the north-east region and into the southern Serengeti, Ndutu area and Ngorongoro Conservation area - which often means out of the confines of the (unfenced) national park itself. It's calving season - prepare yourself for lots of Bambis, and lots of gore as predators swoop in.
February: The good grazing of the Southern Serengeti, Ndutu and Ngorongoro Conservation area means the herds remain in the far south.
March: They're still in the south but the grasses have all been munched up, the last calves squeezed out and the herds are starting to gather in preparation for the next leg.
April: Make sure you're on the southern Serengeti plains - the wildebeest begin their northward journey, and many have left already and are in the central and even western Serengeti.