Whenever mention is made of the annual migration of huge numbers of animals, principally wildebeest and zebra, it always seems to focus on the movement from Tanzania into Kenya across the Mara River.
But of course the migration is a circular event – they have to come back to Tanzania again, so they can leave! Also, some of the herds may cross the Mara more than once! Food is clearly more of a driving force than the danger of the crocodiles.
This guide will help you work out where you ought to be and when to get the best possible chance of seeing the huge herds, driven by the search for fresh grazing crossing the plains.
Many safari lodges have sited themselves in the path of the migration but timing your holiday to coincide with the arrival of the herds, is a leap of faith at best and could involve long safari drives to get to the herd’s location; but what a sight! My top tip would be to book one of a handful of mobile camps that change their location to where the herds are actually going to be.
So, here’s a guide, and it is just that, a guide to where the herds may be…………
January to March
The herds move in long seemingly endless lines across the plains of the southern Serengeti, just north of Ngorongoro Crater and calve here for about three months.
March to May
The herds start to move north-west – usually at 2 p.m. on the 6th March (not really – only kidding !) in search of fresh grazing following the long rains, whose arrival triggers the movement.
June – August
The herds move further up the ‘western corridor’ crossing the Grumeti River and then sweep to the north heading for Kenya and the Mara River.
Late August/Early September
The herds mass in the northern Serengeti and the first of the crossings of the Mara River into Kenya takes place. Exactly what triggers the crossings is unknown; it may be as simple as the weight of numbers building up behind the vanguard or lack of grazing or a combination of the two. Either way, it’s a time of plenty for the crocodiles. One of these places is perfect for a stay to try and capture this moment.
The herds stay put in the Masai Mara and graze for about two months.
October to December
The herds cross back over the Mara River but this time farther to the east and in far more safety as the crocodiles are still gorged from the northward crossings, and move back to the southern Serengeti………….and the whole cycle begins again.
It is truly one of the most spectacular wildlife events in this world of ours.