The Great Migration that takes place every year between Serengeti and Masai Mara is a difficult spectacle to describe. It is a gigantic number of wildebeests and zebras marching for hundreds of kilometers in search of water and fresh pastures and the most extraordinary thing is the route, clockwise.
Wildebeests and zebras need to drink every day and this is the fuse that stimulates the departure from now dry places towards lush places, kissed by the rainy season.
During the journey they also have to cross two rivers: the Grumeti in June, when the mating season also takes place, and the Mara between August and September.
In fact, the migration takes place also between the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, divided by the Mara river where crocodiles promptly exterminate a good number of passing ungulates including many weaker cubs, more helpless in the face of these ferocious and patient reptiles.
The departure does not happen in a sensational way, it is progressive, gradual. There is always a wildebeest that starts and, like good companions, the others, little by little, follow it. In a short time others are added, then the whole herd sets off.
They remain in the Masai Mara until November, when the return walk begins: they arrive in the southern plains of the Serengeti in December and stop there until March/April, then the march begins again. The long stop in the southern plains is linked to the type of grasses, very nutritious and rich in mineral salts found in this area, very suitable for the growth of young and, in fact, this is the time and place where births take place. Approximately 500,000 newborns arrive every year.
The mother wildebeest has a very strong bond with her baby, she does not abandon him if he is unable to follow the speed of the herd and defends him from crocodiles if he is attacked. She almost never manages to win, but she fights with all her strength.
This migration has been happening since the dawn of time, so it’s something that these animals carry within them somehow genetically. The lion has the instinct of hunting, the wildebeest that of movement.