The Serengeti Migration in Eastern Africa
“The Migration is truly one of the wonders of the animal world; a million and more animals playing out their lives in the Serengeti eco-system, watched all the way by lions, hyenas and crocodiles looking for dinner. So, what is the best time and where is the best place to catch this spectacle?”
The Serengeti Migration is more complex than maps depicting it might lead you to believe. It is driven entirely by standing water and grazing. The wildebeest want to be in the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti, but the water and grazing cannot support them all year around. This is where they choose to give birth to their young (usually February to March), with the rich grass to support them. Within a relatively short space of time, perhaps 4 to 6 weeks, several hundred thousand calves will be born and this is where we see much of the dramatic predator action. The Migration will then move off in search of sustenance in response to periods of dry weather, but they will leave this area as late as possible and come back as soon as they can. This means that every year is different, in fact, every week can be different.
The Migration is not a continuously forward motion. They go forward, backwards, and to the sides, they mill around, they split up, they join forces again, they walk in a line, they spread out, or they hang around together. You can never predict with certainty where they will be; the best you can do is suggest likely timing based on past experience, but you can never guarantee the Migration one hundred percent.
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The first version of this article was posted on 26 Feb 2014 at 3:18 PM.