The Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania
The Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania is the annual movement of over 2 million wildebeests across the Serengeti and Mara ecosystem and is considered one of the 8 natural wonders of the world.
During the great wildebeest migration in Tanzania, other wildlife species such as gazelles, elands and zebras can also be seen along with the wildebeests. Predators like lions, leopards among others are also a common sight during the migration as they feast on the wildebeests.
There are over 4000 lions in Serengeti national park alone which is also believed to be the largest concentration of lions in Africa. Many other predators apart from lions can also be seen during a safari around this national park.
This annual movement of the wildebeests is due to different factors such as searching for greener pasture and water. The wildebeests during their migration are said to follow the rains in search of greener pastures.
Serengeti national park is the oldest national park in Tanzania and is visited annually by many tourists interested in safaris or wildlife viewing experiences and also seeing the wildebeest migration which is a unique experience to look forward to while on safari.
In Serengeti national park, the wildebeests move across the different parts of the national park such as the northern Serengeti, western Serengeti, southern Serengeti and the central Serengeti which is also referred to as the Seronera area. The great wildebeest migration in Tanzania can also be seen around the Ngorongoro conservation area during the calving season.
The wildebeests are also referred to as gnus and they are of two kinds which are the blue wildebeests and the black wildebeests. The difference between these two types of wildebeests is that the blue wildebeests are bigger in size compared to the black ones.
The wildebeests also play a very important role in the environment as they search for food and water during the wildebeest migration. These wildebeests shape the ecosystem through feeding on the grass, fertilizing the land with their droppings and are also a source of food for predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas.
Over 400,000 calves of the wildebeests are given birth to during the month of February and watching the wildebeests give birth to their young ones during the calving season is a spectacular sight.
The calving season takes place around December to March as over 8000 wildebeests are given birth to daily. This calving season is at its best during the month of February when many wildebeests are born.
Another highlight during the great wildebeest migration in Tanzania is the river crossings as the herds of wildebeests struggle to get to the other side of the rivers which sometimes makes them easy targets of Nile crocodiles as they cross and some wildebeests also drown during the river crossings.
From April to June, the wildebeests move towards the Seronera area which is characterized by open plains and also rock outcrops referred to as kopjes. This part of Serengeti national park is visited by many tourists annually not only for the great wildebeest migration but also or its big numbers of wildlife species which can be seen during a safari in the national park.
In the month of June, the wildebeests move to the Grumeti area which is also home to wildlife species such as lions and other predators as well as zebras. The Grumeti area is also made up of forests and is a migration corridor for wildlife species.
The great wildebeest migration during the month of July can be seen in the northern part of Serengeti national park which is found between the Masai Mara national reserve of Kenya and Seronera or central Serengeti. The northern part of Serengeti national park has fewer tourist crowds on safari compared to the central part of Serengeti national park.
The river crossings during the great wildebeest migration take place around the months of July, August and September. In October the wildebeests can be seen around Masai Mara national reserve in the south western part of Kenya.
The rivers which the herds of wildebeests move across during the great wildebeest migration include the Mara river and the Grumeti river. During safaris in Tanzania, tourists can also enjoy watching these river crossings as they drive around the savannah plains and experience the wildebeest migration.
There are different camps around the area where the great wildebeest migration occurs where tourists can stay during their safaris in Tanzania. These camps offer good locations to witness the wildebeest migration as the wildebeests graze across the savannah plains.
After making it across the river, the wildebeests can be spotted spread across the savannah plains in big numbers as they graze and continue their movement during the wildebeest migration to a different destination.
The wildebeest migration has been portrayed in many photos taken during safaris as tourists enjoy the river crossings, calving season and the movement of the wildebeests in general. A scene in the movie lion king was also inspired by the wildebeest migration.
Apart from the wildebeest migration, during safaris around Tanzania there are a number of destinations to visit such as Serengeti national park, Arusha national park, Lake Manyara national park, Tarangire national park among others offer amazing wildlife viewing.
In order to see the wildebeest migration in Tanzania, park entry is a requirement to access these destinations during a safari. This entrance fee varies for adults and children, foreign residents and nonresidents and also for East Africans.
The big 5 such as elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalos are among the wildlife species which can be spotted during safari in destinations like Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area.
Other wildlife species that can be seen around the different destinations in Tanzania include zebras, antelopes, giraffes, elands, kudu, impalas, waterbucks, hartebeests, hippos, dik dik, gazelles and many others.
The movement of the wildebeests during the great wildebeest migration is unpredictable since it is a natural occurrence, the timing of these movements may vary.