When it comes to East Africa’s seasonal wildebeest migration, those who confidently predict where and when the animals will go can sometimes end up all by themselves in the wilderness while the wildebeest are elsewhere.
This just might be one of those years.
Recent reports we have received show the Mara River is swollen with too much water, for the first time in years. The river is running in rapid torrents, making what is already a dangerous crossing, incredibly more perilous. Schedule Your Tanzania & Kenya Safari Adventure.
Some thought the migration would be early this year as it was last year when the herds reached the Mara River in early June. But the abundant rains have led the herds to hesitate. This is frustrating for those who anticipated an early arrival by the mass of animals.
Now it seems the river crossings may run throughout August, lasting well into September and October. This can be good news for those who want to go on safari a bit later this year.
The largest animal migration is the world happens between Tanzania and Kenya when more than 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra and various antelopes set out in search of food. For them, it is a familiar route – moving clockwise between the countries, some 1800 miles, with predators dogging their every step.
The long thin lines begin to form on the Serengeti Plains when the short grasses are exhausted, usually in April and May. The lines snake to the horizon toward the plains and woodland of the Serengeti’s western corridor. But by the end of May, it’s time to move again. This time, they move toward the Mara Triangle. This is where the breeding happens. By July, the animals have gathered at the rain filled Mara River, the last hurdle to cross to reach the Masai Mara’s sweet, short grasses. But many will not survive this crossing. The roiling waters or the crocodiles will take them. Those that complete the crossing will remain on the Mara until October.
But with the extreme weather-related events we have been seeing lately around the globe, the old schedules may be changing in ways none of us can predict.
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