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Posted on August 15th, 2022 in Europe, Africa & Asia
Every year, in the largest and longest overland migration in the entire world, millions of wildebeests and thousands of zebras, gazelles, and elands make their way from Tanzania to Kenya following water, rich soil, and green grass. This annual loop across approximately 1200 miles—is known as the Great Migration and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World by National Geographic.
The herds travel from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya, making their way across treacherous, predator-filled terrain. Thousands of crocodiles lurk in the Mara River, sometimes waiting an entire year for their next meal to make the trek across. Even if the herds survive river crossings, other predators such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs lie in wait all along the migration path. It is estimated that about 280,000 members of the migrating herds die every year while making the epic and dangerous journey. While rain patterns are the primary deciding factor of how exactly the herds will go about their trip, they typically follow a very similar route through the two countries, making Tanzania and Kenya two of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring travel destinations in the world.
At the beginning of the year, the herds are mainly found in the Serengeti plains of Tanzania. The calving season occurs around this time, February being the month with the highest wildebeest birth rate; up to 8,000 wildebeest are born every day at this time! As the months move into March and April, the herds head north with the wildebeest calves in tow. Since the wildebeest don’t stay in one massive herd and instead form several smaller herds for their journey, the herds have to be able to follow each other to stay on the right path; remarkably, wildebeest hooves have been observed to secrete pheromones that remains on the ground, which other wildebeest are then able to detect and follow!
From May to June, the calves grow bigger and stronger as the herds continue to make their way north, approaching the Grumeti River and Reserves by July. Here is where the first of the river crossings previously mentioned can be witnessed, but since the Grumeti River is not as big as the Mara River, the crossings here are not quite as dramatic. July is also the start of mating season in the Serengeti, and at this point in the journey the herds are making their way more northeast through the Grumeti Reserves. From August to September, the herd approaches the churning and fast-moving Mara River; this is the best time to see an intense river crossing as groups of wildebeest desperately attempt to cross over into the Maasai Mara in Kenya. The survivors arrive in the plains of the Maasai Mara and enjoy the fruits of their labor—fresh grass to graze—through October. Come November, the herds leave Kenya as the cooler weather approaches and by December, they are back in the Serengeti to repeat the cycle over again.
While the river crossings are certainly the biggest draw for onlookers of the Great Migration, the entire year-long event is truly a marvel worth witnessing.
We offer two incredible African Safari trips that both witness this iconic natural phenomenon, one in Tanzania and one in Kenya, giving you the valuable opportunity to bear witness to this majesty found nowhere else in the world!
Join our Tanzanian Safari from February through March to see newborn wildebeest and watch the herds begin their journey north! Take in many other fantastic sights and adventures, such as a descent into the Ngorongoro Crater and a game-viewing drive through Amboseli National Park to see lions, leopards, elephants, cheetahs, and many other majestic species!
If you’re interested in seeing a river crossing and watching the wildebeest finally arrive in the Maasai Mara, join our Kenyan Safari in September 2023. Here, you will also enjoy getting up close to the lions, elephants, and cheetahs at Sweetwaters Game Reserve on a game drive and seeing wildlife right underneath your room at the Treetops Lodge.
These are just a handful of the wonders you will experience on one of Holiday Vacations’ safari adventures. When you travel with us, you can feel confident and safe in your travels while visiting exotic destinations thanks to our expert Tour Directors and 50 years in the travel industry. All of our tours include all accommodations, transportation, airport taxes and fees, park entrance fees, 24/7 emergency assistance, baggage handling, and most meals!
Book an African Safari trip today for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime bucket list experience!
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Tour days tend to be shorter in length, at a relaxed pace, and include lots of unscheduled time for leisure. Expect standing and walking for extended periods of time on flat surfaces, mostly low altitudes, and consistent temperatures.
Tour days usually move at a leisurely pace. Some days’ scheduled activities last longer than others. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on occasionally uneven terrain. You may experience changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a consistent pace, and may include long travel days. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on uneven surfaces. Some destinations may have changes in altitude and/or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a brisk pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on uneven surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a vigorous pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on rough surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.