All you need to know about Wildebeest Migration
The Great Migration is an annual migration of wildebeest from the Ndutu region of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in southern Kenya .
The recent rains leave the stunning caldera reserve with an abundance of grass for zebra and wildebeest to feast upon, and it is at this time of year that the wildebeest calving season begins (December-March) It is also an opportune time for predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, and even hyenas to pick off weak and confused calves.
When the rains end in April/May, the zebra begin the process of heading north towards the Maasai Mara. Where the zebra go, the wildebeest follow.
The vast herd crosses the Grumeti River in June/July and the Mara River between August and November, and it is at this time that some of the most spectacular photographs and video footage can be captured. The swollen rivers sweep away members of the herd, predators harry the stragglers, and the opportunistic Nile crocodiles have a feast as animals venture into the water seeking to cross. It is a bloody, dazzling display of the food chain at work.
Once the crossings are complete, the herd settles in the Maasai Mara in southern Kenya. After remaining in the more fertile Maasai Mara for the duration of the dry season, the migration heads south again in preparation for the calving season in the New Year.
The Annual Migration Pattern
The exact timing of the Great Wildebeest Migration is completely dependent upon rainfall patterns, making it a difficult thing to predict with any certainty. A particularly heavy or light rainfall might completely alter the movement of the massive herd, so it is best to get daily updates leading in to your trip.
That being said, there is a rough calendar that can usually be relied upon.
From January to March
Life begins for a huge number of animals in the Ndutu region of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the space of a few short weeks, the calving season sees half a million young wildebeest brought into the world. This is due to the rainy season combining with the fertile volcanic soil of the region to create a lush carpet of short grass rich in essential vitamins.
It is here that the vast herd begins to take shape, and it is here that the predators begin their yearlong assault upon the herd. With so many young and weak calves stumbling around, it becomes easy for the lions, leopards, and cheetahs to pick off a tasty morsel.