Why The Great Migration Needs To Top Your Bucket List In 2024 : Great Migration: Animals travel endlessly between Tanzania and Kenya Following the finest seasonal grazing in Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve, arriving in the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River in mid-to-late July. It’s a life-or-death lottery for an incredible number of exhausted wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, impalas, and elands as they embark on the greatest animal migration in history. Greener pastures and big cats await those who survive. Here is why you should put the great migration on top of your travel bucket list:

The Wildebeests

Moving Along: White-bearded wildebeests, sometimes referred to as blue wildebeests, comprise the majority of the great migration, which spans 1,200 kilometers across the Maasai Mara and Serengeti. From the parched, exhausted grasslands of the Serengeti to the lush plains of the Maasai Mara, a rumbling mass of 1.5 million hoofed beasts makes its way north. Beginning in mid- to late-July, the first herds cross the Mara River, which may be extremely dangerous. The animals had returned by January to the southern Serengeti, where they gave birth to roughly 500,000 calves between January and March before being forced to leave again in May due to dry grasses. A University of Glasgow team has partnered with a Tanzanian research group to provide real-time tracking of different park species, so you can follow the exciting adventure from a distance or plan a trip.

Crocodiles

The tranquility in which the Nile crocodiles of the Mara River await the approach of their meal heightens the terror when they do strike. These crocodiles, which can grow to a maximum length of 20 feet and a weight of 1,650 pounds (second only to the saltwater crocodile), can go for extended periods of time without feeding, but when they do, they can consume half of their body weight in one sitting. One redeeming quality of this most unlikeable of creatures is that it is a responsible parent. Nile crocodiles protect their eggs and gently roll them in their mouths to aid in hatching, in contrast to the majority of other reptiles.

Ballooning Safari

Why The Great Migration Needs To Top Your Bucket List In 2024
Ballooning Safari

Although there’s no better way to see wildlife up close than on a safari, ballooning offers an equally breathtaking viewpoint. Views of the enormous Serengeti, whose name means “endless plains” in Maasai, and an abundance of animals migrating over the Maasai Mara game reserve and at the river crossing are available from higher elevations.

Early Action For stunning dawn launches and post-flight breakfasts from Serengeti Balloon Safaris and Mara Ballooning, set your alarm clock for earlier than 5 a.m.

On safari, visitors congregate beside the Mara River to observe the breathtaking spectacle of eland, impala, zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles risking their lives against crocodiles and currents. The best months to see the river crossing are July and August, though the migration times can change slightly every year.

The Roaming Zebras

Approximately 200,000 zebras infuse the muddy-gray mass of wildebeests with a dash of striped glitz. Following the river crossing, they are typically the first to arrive in the Maasai Mara reserve. They remain there until October, when the first herds start heading south again along the eastern fringe of the Serengeti in search of new grasses. Given the number of predators on the prowl, biologists have long been perplexed by zebras’ striking markings. Theories include that stripes have a cooling effect (the more stripes a zebra has, the hotter the location), act as a deterrent to disease-causing insects, and create an optical illusion when combined with grassland to confuse predators.

Cycle of Life

Seeing the seemingly never-ending line of exhausted wildebeests waiting to cross the Mara River and risk their lives against crocodiles and currents is terrifying. Every year, some 10,000 animals perish in the river, yet their suffering is necessary for the ecosystem since they provide the crocs, vultures, and fish with food and nutrition.

Leopards

After escaping the crocodile-infested Mara River, a herd of wildebeests crosses it and ends up in a leopard’s path on the other side. Predators: Lions, leopards, and cheetahs are among the predators featured in the tale of the great migration. Since lions sleep for up to 20 hours a day, especially after feeding, the Serengeti is one of the greatest places in Africa to observe big cats in action, or, more likely, slumbering, as the population of lions is only about 3,000 due to the abundance of meat sources.

The Maasai Tribe

Adumu, also known as aigus, is a competitive jumping dance performed by young Maasai warriors. Traveling to Kenya is fascinating because of the Maasai people, who welcome travelers to their communities to showcase their culture in exchange for a fee. The Maasai have a specific dress code. The Maasai, who are Maa language speakers, are semi-nomadic and nomadic, traveling about the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania and Kenya, the Samburu in Kenya, and the semi-pastoral Arusha and Baraguyu in Tanzania, depending on what is best for their livestock.

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