Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration — Everything You Should Know

If one of your adventure dreams is going on a safari in Africa, the chances are that a Kenya Migration Safari tops your bucket list. Dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World and the World’s largest overland migration, the Annual Wildebeest Migration across the Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is a must-see.

In this post, we take you through everything you need to know about one of the most sought-after experiences, the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Let’s start from the beginning. 

What Exactly is the Great Migration?

Each year, approximately 1.5 million wildebeests and thousands of zebras and antelopes make the exhausting and dangerous trip from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The migration herd has to cross the Mara River where deadly crocodiles prey on them. It is believed that the animals migrate in search of lush grazing and breeding grounds and water.

This epic journey which spans about 3000km from north to south, is known as the Annual Wildebeest Migration. The migration is driven by rainfall such that the wildebeest are drawn where it recently rained and the grass is green. 

What to Expect

The Masai Mara Migration offers everything one can anticipate it would be — promising nothing short of adventure packed with some surprises. Being able to witness a migration of this magnitude is nothing short of a sensational experience. 

Interestingly, due to the sheer number of animals, the phenomena can be observed from space. It’s no wonder this awe-inspiring passage comprising millions of wildlife earned its place as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The Mara river crossings are the most sought-after moments as the wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes dip themselves into the crocodile-infested waters. Watching the migration makes you experience a range of emotions, including anticipation, excitement, and distress.

For the wildebeests that successfully survive the migration, lush green grass plains await them — a grazing sanctuary and a chance to mate with their partners. For the unfortunate wildebeests, they’re either eaten alive by crocodiles or drown in the commotion. Not to mention being preyed upon by the big cats.


The Best Time to See the Migration, From Kenya

Unknown to many, the Great Wildebeest Migration is an all-year-round event. Each time of year offers a unique wildlife experience as the herds constantly move rhythmically in a clockwise direction between Tanzania and Kenya.

That said, the best time to catch the Masai Mara Migration, when the wildebeest are crossing the Mara River, is between July to October.  

Nevertheless, due to the irregular nature of the wildebeest movements, it’s advisable to use the Herdtracker app. The app helps you track real-time wildebeests’ movements so you can effectively plan the safari and not miss out on the action. You can also plan your wildebeest migration safari with Nairobi based travel agencies to help you keep track of the migrating herd.

How to Get There

The Masai Mara Reserve is located in the southwest of Kenya. On arrival in Kenya, you could choose to drive to the reserve, which is 280 km away from Nairobi, depending on your entry point. Alternatively, you can book a flight, which is quicker, private, and more comfortable.

Better yet, you will enjoy scenic, magnificent views of Kenya’s landscape from the sky. Either way, it’s best to partner with a local safari company to ensure you maximize your Kenya Migration Safari experience. 

The Best Places to Stay

Masai mara is endowed with many exceptional camps and luxury lodges, offering the stage for exploring this eye-catching wildlife event. And every option seems like a great one. 

However, some are better than others regarding location, amenities, crowd-free views, activities, and providing front-row seats to the Wildebeest Migration. While many properties offer full board rates, some have additional charges for game drives and other recreational activities such as hot air ballooning.

If traveling with your family, go for family-focused accommodation options with child-friendly activities besides game driving. Couples and honeymooners might opt for something different.

Each property offers a different vibe that’ll shape your safari experience, so depending on your budget, duration of stay, amenities, extra activities, among other factors, choose wisely. The Kenya tour operator you choose to explore Kenya with should help you choose an accommodation package that best suits you.

What to Pack

July through August are the coldest months of the year in Kenya. Temperatures can sometimes drop to well below 10°C. Essentially, early morning game drives will require several layers of clothing. Gloves and hats will be an added advantage.

Afternoon game drives may need lighter clothing, depending on the weather. Sometimes intense winds and unexpected rain can take you by surprise. Apart from clothing, don’t forget your favorite devices. Cameras will be convenient when capturing iconic safari moments. Above all, pack wisely.

How Can You Plan to See the Great Migration?

With the Kenyan government easing travel restrictions, it’s now easier for overseas visitors to travel in the country. Airlines such as Kenya Airways, British Airways, Qatar, KLM, and Emirates offer direct flights into Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

Ensure you link up with experienced safari experts to get the most out of your trip to see the Great Wildebeest Migration. They’ll help you choose a safari package tailored to your needs and budget. Given the high demand for the migration safari spaces in the high season, make sure you book your Masai Mara migration safari in advance — weeks or months before you travel.

Final Thoughts 

No matter how many destinations are on your bucket list, taking a safari to the Masai Mara is a magical experience. The safari provides a fantastic way to immerse yourself in one of mother nature’s most wondrous spectacles and create beautiful memories. Don’t dream of what it could be.  

Click here to see a list of the best travel agencies in Kenya and book your wildebeest migration safari:

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
Sam heads up Cheshire-based PR Fire, an online platform that has already helped over 10,000 businesses to grab widespread media coverage on their news at an extremely accessible price point.

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