What is the migration?
Migration is the annual movement of the white bearded wildebeest through the Mara, Serengeti and ngorongoro Eco system.
Many people when asked when do the migration starts they simply answer around August but Manei Destinations is here to explain to you everything in details. Migration starts when the calf is born and a few weeks later they start the movement and this will continue throughout their life.On February they have the calving period in Ngorongoro and Serengeti Eco system, during this time more than half a million of them will be giving birth. They choose this area because of the type of vegetation it’s a flat area and no trees cover and it will be easier for them to spot predator coming from far, also during this time on this crater it normally experience some small rains and short green grass shots that are favorable for the young calf’s being born.
In a period of two weeks 90-95% of the females will give birth the young ones will be born fully develop and would be able to evade predators. They will graze for 3-4 weeks before they start their journey again.
They will cut through the endless plains of Serengeti and by June they will have reached the north east of Tanzania almost getting to Kenya and this time is when the rutting will be taking place. Males will fight for dominance so as to have rights to mate with the females. And this is the only time you will see them living like couples after here the only bound that will be experience is between the mother and the calf.
And now the drummer starts, when they finally arrive to Kenya. This is Mid July and by mid-August the bigger population will have all landed to the Masai Mara National reserve.
The first to arrive are the Zebras, their estimation 5 years ago was half a million. Maybe they are now heading to almost a million. They will first clear the long grass then few weeks later when the grass is short and the rains going on in bits the wildebeest will arrive feeding on the greener shots.
During this time the crocs will be too angry and skinny and they will be taking down zebras and mobbing them in groups and in less than 20 minutes a whole Zebra will have been finished by this monsters and they will be going for another one. Look at what is happening in that picture.
Crocs don’t have tongues and they can’t chew and so what will be happening is biting and then spinning in order to remain with a piece of meat on its mouth until the whole meal is done.
Why is it dramatic to visit Kenya during the migration?
When this population is in Masai Mara I mean almost 2 million wildebeest almost a million Zebras,Elands plus Thomson’s gazelles which will follow lastly through the Sand River. In an area of 2000kmsq is just magnificent as oppose to Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystem which has an area of 25000kmsq ten times bigger than the Masai Mara. And so it will be the world’s most concentrated area with animals that one can ever see.
It’s among the 7th wonders of the world, because it’s only here in the Masai Mara that you can see this crazy staff happening. And also during this time the predators will be in plenty. In all the territories that this wildebeest will be cutting through.
Now let’s get to the interesting part of the migration
The river crossing, it is just crazy, this animals don’t have territories and they will always move in search for greener and better pasture. And nothing will stop them, even the Mara River which is a nightmare for them. Here they will find predators in water crocs and outside the waters Lions Leopards Hyenas and even cheetahs on the plains waiting for them. And because they are non-territorial they numbers will always increase and the river crossing by drowning and predators taking them down will always bring their numbers down to maintain them in a certain level.
Some of the crossing pictures you see are really deep and dusty and a good number of this animals will be breaking their legs and so they will just be an easy catch for predators like hyenas when they get off the river. Most of the time you will see them crossing back but if you keenly observe it will be the mothers going back to their young ones or vice versa.
They will gather and pile pressure and if the number is really good and pressure from behind is big then they will have no choice but to cross.
We do have a different crossing point called Serena main crossing or kwamawe in Swahili language meaning crossing point with stones.
By the look at that picture the place is full of rocks. And this animals Zebras Topi and wildebeest still choose to cross at that point. Topi are the light ones in color and they don’t mix with others while crossing and their crossing style is very fast. Zebras will always cross gently while walking as oppose to the quoting crossing of the wildebeest.
At this place they will break their legs or hurt their hooves but they will be having vantage over the crocs. Why because they will be standing firmly and the crocs will be in shallow waters and will not be having the power to propel themselves and pull them down as oppose to when they are deep waters.
During this time predators activity in the Masai Mara is very high, Lions, cheetahs and so on
It’s also the best time to spot the leopards and big prides of cats in the Mara being active and also cubs of this predators enjoying themselves.
This cheetah family will soon be dispersing in September 2014, it was their mum and 6 cubs who were 3 months old. Now they are 5 of them, mum and four cubs well done to their mum. For the good up keep, male will be living in coalition and females by themselves. They just made a kill and they made a good contribution so their mum is almost certain its almost time to live them.
I will be sharing a last story on my migration predators on this last picture
It’s not that clear because of the distance but I felt the need to share this story but it’s a bit visible it’s a leopard dragging a baby wildebeest.
OK few weeks before the great migration started this big boy made a hunt of an impala, before getting it to the safety of the tree hyenas were already around and he was injured trying to defend his meal. That is the kind of information we got from local or stationed guides around
Luck enough the migration hard just started and this guy could not hunt because of its back leg being injured. What he did for him to survive is waiting at crossing points for the wildebeest to cross and then ambush them and choose the young ones that could not injure them more.
He survived this way for the 3 months in 2015 migration and after hunting he will 1st drug the kill to the safety of the tree and then he will be sorted the whole week. He survived this way for the 3 months and the good news now is, he is ok and living a normal life.
The pictures you are seeing here is from the guy who will guide you when you book with us, we know and we are experience in what we do so please book with us for you to have a dream of a life time