Seeing the Great Migration is one of the things on most people’s bucket list. We’ve all seen it on television but nothing can match up to the experience of being there as around a million and a half animals pound the earth into dust with their hooves on an epic quest for food.
From Tanzania's Serengeti to the hills of Kenya’s Masai Mara, over 1.4 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras and gazelles, all being relentlessly pursued by Africa’s great predators, make the perilous journey of 1,800 miles each year in search of fresh green shoots to graze upon.
The key places of departure and arrival for the migration are Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. It is, of course, impossible to call somewhere the starting place as the migration is a timeless circular trek across the face of Africa following the pattern of the rains. Wildebeests (gnus), which make up the overwhelming majority of the animals, give birth to their offspring between December and March. This takes place on th short grass plains of southern Serengeti, and is, of course, of great interest to the thousands of predators who prey upon the weak youngsters.
The migration arrives in the Masai Mara in Kenya in mid-July and makes these plains their home for 3 to 4 months depending on the rains. During this time, the plains are black with the sea of wildebeest, and the Masai Mara is the best place to witness the famed river-crossings where thousands of animals risk their lives to cross the river, having to contend with strong currents and crocodiles lying in wait.