Each year around 1.5 million wildebeest and 300,000 zebra along with many species of antelope start the long journey from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains, further north to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. They go in search of water and tall grasses that follow the rainy seasons. Their journey runs in a clockwise circle and the animals cover a distance of around 1800 miles.
One of the most spectacular sights of the migration is when the herds gather to cross the Mara River (from July through September). As the herds cross, crocodiles are lying in wait for any that can’t cope with the strong currents or lose their mothers. Beyond the famously photographed river crossings, the sight of thousands of herds of wildebeest and zebra is breathtaking. It is also the time when greater concentrations of lions, leopards, and hyenas can be seen as they follow the large herds in hopes of a successful hunt.
By late July, the grasses of the western Serengeti are drying up and the herds continue north and move toward Kenya’s Lamai Wedge and the Mara Triangle. During the months of September through November, the Mara plains are filled with enormous herds of wildebeests and zebras, followed closely by their natural predators. By November/December the rains start in the south again and the herds begin the long journey back to the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to start the cycle over again.