The Great Wildebeest Migration
The Seventh New Wonder of the World is on– The Great Wildebeest Migration!
Are you a wanderlust, nature, or wildlife enthusiast? The annual Wildebeest migration in East Africa is on, beginning mid-July to early October. About two million wildebeests will cross from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya to pursue greener pastures and water during this period. The herds will include zebras, Grant's gazelles, Thompson's gazelles, elands, impalas, oryxes, and antelopes, creating a phenomenal spectacle.
The annual movement is considered a world wonder due to the animals' coordination as they cross the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. The journey is quite exhilarating as nature enthusiasts watch thousands of calves being born, others die as they get trampled on, or the carnivores eat them they soldier along the 800-kilometers stretch.
The journey starts at the southern plains of the Serengeti, where the wildebeests spend most of their time. Formed from the Ngorongoro Crater eruption, the landscape has good nutrients that make the grass lusher, becoming home for the herds. Most of them mate and birth here, and when grass and water start drying up, they move to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. Here, they have to cross the Grumeti River, famous for its enormous crocodiles. The weak ones drown in the river, while thousands of others die in the stampede as they try to save their lives. The lucky ones eventually make it to Kenya's Masai Mara National Park.
The climax of this great event is the crossing of the equally crocodile-infested Mara River, where yet other thousands of wildebeests fall prey to the reptiles' waiting jaws. The onlookers are treated to a heart-wrenching battle for survival, as the herds struggle to escape the crocodiles and other land predators such as lions. They spend up to two months in the Mara before starting the journey back to the southern plains. The return journey is equally risky, as they must face the same predators, they face during their first trip. However, they do not follow a particular path; instead, they depend on the availability of food and water.
The peak months to witness the Great Migration in the Mara is during August/ September, while June/July are the peak months in Serengeti, shortly before they cross the Grumeti River. The herds usually have temporarily settled at the park, perhaps as they wait for the grass to sprout again in the Serengeti. Every year, Kenya and Tanzania receive thousands of tourists anxious to witness this most extraordinary natural phenomenon in the world.
Thankfully to the ever-expanding tourism industry in East Africa, tourists can book a trip with the hundreds of safari companies for a memorable experience. Also, the Mara has among the best tourist experiences, ranging from the beautiful Masai culture, their traditional regalia, to the famous Masai jump. Major restaurants offer amazing bush camp experiences, bonfires, tents for those looking for outside camping and world-class accommodations to give travelers exotic memories.
Still having excuses not to witness this year’s Great Migration?