Gear up for the action-wildebeest migration is back!

The greatest wildlife spectacle in the world; a show of might, resilience and unbreakable will to survive beyond the present moment, there is no better way of describing the action parked annual wildebeest migration. And its back!

The migration is essentially fuelled and patterned by rainfall patterns in Masai Mara and Serengeti. The exodus is ideally expected to start in July and run through October, depending on how frequent or intermittent the rainfall is.

Show down in Masai Mara

Set on the larger Serengeti ecosystem, this latest addition to the wonders of the world is a wildlife show piece featuring close to 2 million wildebeests and countless numbers of zebras and gazelles. These herbivores race against time as they jostle their way into the greener pastures of the Masai Mara National Reserve from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

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The wildebeests however must traverse the crocodile infested Mara River and pay their due respects to the carnivores roaming the length and breadth of the Masai Mara National Reserve before they can be allowed to graze in peace. Exhilarating raucous action unfolds at the Mara River as the powerful herbivores wrestle blood thirsty crocodiles in an attempt to cross to the other end, where leafy vegetation awaits.

Safety in numbers

Wildebeests come in drones, greatly increasing the odds of making it to the other end, but the crocodiles must have their fair share of daily bread presented on a silver platter. The ensuing scuffle will take your breath away, but real entertainment lies in witnessing resilience in action as the wildebeests set their eyes on the prize that lies beyond, the immediate danger notwithstanding.

Even though the death of thousands of wildebeests might seem like a tragedy, it’s a natural selection process that prevents their numbers from spiraling out of control. Hundreds of calves are born every year, maintaining the required balance.

The blossoming vegetation in the Masai Mara National Reserve provides fodder for the wildebeest to feed and regain their strength. Wildebeests are largely nomadic by nature, with the proven ability to wonder far and wide in search of pasture. Their physiology allows them to mate on the move, sire and raise their calves without having to stop.

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On the road to survival

Their nomadic lifestyle gives them the ability to outmatch a big number of predators. The fact that majority of carnivores are largely territorial also helps further this course. Territorial animals seldom wonder from their niche, with the restraint from invading other predators’ territories being a major contributor to this. Young ones of predators also tend to be heavily dependent on their mothers, restricting the movement of parent animals.

The migration cycle eventually comes to a close with the onset of short rains in late October. The rains fill up seasonal waterholes in the Serengeti and give life to vegetation in the expansive Tanzanian national park. The wildebeests start to regroup and make their way back into the Serengeti, albeit reluctantly. Many are usually heavy with new season’s calves, and the cycle starts all over again.