The Serengeti Migration is rightly ranked as one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles to occur in the natural world. So what route do the wildebeest follow, when is the best time to go and who are the top three companies to go with?
The wildebeest migrate in a clockwise direction from the Serengeti in the South to the Masai Mara in the north and then back again. The cycle is repeated every year and the exact timing is dictated by the rain.
When the water and grazing disappear in one area due to a seasonal drought the wildebeest need move along to where the seasonal rains are falling to survive by finding new grazing and water.
The wildebeest have to cross a number of rivers in their perilous but amazing 300 mile journey like the Grumeti and the Mara in the north and this is where a lot of them don't make it falling prey to crocodiles and drowning. Only the very fittest survive.
They are also preyed on by lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena as they have no choice but to move through the territories occupied by these predators in their quest for fresh grass. The predators have a food bonanza when the migration passes through their territory.
It's important to remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to the timing of the migration. It's all dependant on the rain and the seasons start at different times every year which means the herds might not be where historically they should be.
You can make a rough estimate based on the past and hope that things run accordingly. Historically the times to see the migration in the Serengeti are...
January: The massive herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle are to be found on the plains of the southern Serengeti.
February: The wildebeest begin foaling and they do this at roughly the same time with all the predators in close attendance. Many people only want to see the migration and don't realise that this is a comparable wildlife spectacle. One of the best times to see the predators.
March-April: Heavy rains are approaching and the grazing is starting to get worse. The herd begins to move northwards along the western corridor of the Serengeti.
May-June: The herd moves towards the Grumeti controlled area where there is still good grazing and they begin to cross the Grumeti river where crocodiles lie in wait for their annual feast and you find the scenes occurring that has made the wildebeest migration famous in so many wildlife documentaries.
July-August: The herd is drawn ever northwards towards the Masai Mara in their quest for better grazing. They have one more dangerous river to cross, the Mara, before they receive their reward in the sweet grazing plains of Kenya.
This top three ranking of the best operators to guide a wildebeest migration safari is compiled by using the results of travel diaries and trip reports at the African Safari Journals website and prevailing reputations in the travel industry.
It will give you an excellent starting point to choose between the multitude of companies that organise Serengeti migration safaris and make sure you steer clear of any of the "cowboy" companies that do unfortunately exist.
Get the top three safari companies list here...
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