WHEN IS THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION GOING ON IN MASAI MARA?

YOU ASKED

We are planning our safari to Kenya for '11. But what is now confusing is that different Kenya tour operators are giving us different timing for the wildebeest migration. Honest, can the migration be lasting from June through October or do safari operators use the term just for marketing?


ANNE HUYSMAN REPLIES

It is a positive move that you are very early in planning your migration safari in Mara, as this gives you time to put to test all theories as well the different Kenya tour operator that you would want to consider as your ground outfitters.

The wildebeest migration is a natural event at it very best. Its timing can be estimated and fortunately there is now enough data to nearly zero-in ion the closest occurrence period. But even with this the exact time of crossing remains a secret that nature reveals at will and it is different in each year.

But what is known is the wildebeest migration depends on rain which are determining factor in food (read grass) availability on both sides of the Mara river i.e. the Serengeti side and the Masai Mara National Reserve.

In Jan through mid-March the Serengeti side is lush with new grass and this is when calving season takes place. Soonest the grass starts to get depleted the herds start marching towards the Masai Mara in May and June. Note Masai Mara will then be having new fresh grass from the long rains of March-April.

The herds of wildebeest congregate and start moving towards Masai Mara in May or June. But the crossing of the Mara river is not until early July through August. Even with it is hard to point at which days of your safari should you be in Masai Mara so as to experience the crossing of the wildebeest.

Assuming that you have to commit to your safari in advance, meaning you can't switch on and off your travel dates because of work or family related commitments, I would recommend that you have higher chances of getting a migration safari on the last week of July through 2nd week of August. Again note this is all estimate for which you must cross your fingers that the wildebeest will choose to cross the Mara river when you are in Masai Mara Kenya.

I hope I have been of help.

Anne Huysman
Ontdek Kenya Safaris