It is the greatest show on earth. The sight of huge herds and long lines of the wildebeest and zebra as they cross the river or gather together will make your heart pound with excitement time and again. No where else on earth can one see such diverse and large mammals come together in such huge numbers. This spectacular scene of the great migration of Serengeti will blow your breath away.
The stunning wildlife:
The largest of its kind mass movements of mammals on the planet. It involves millions of ungulates especially the wildebeest. The wildebeest annually follow a circular route in their quest for water and green pastures around the ecosystem of the Serengeti plains. Serengeti for many symbolizes the thundering hooves of the wildebeest and the red clouds of dust they leave behind. It is a show of unity and strength as nothing in their way can stop them not the crocodile infested waters, not the wild predators on the close and not the wild currents of the river.
It is Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle which brings tourists from far and wide. An exceptional natural occurrence the great migration of Serengeti is indeed a natural wonder of the world. The wildebaest make a round trip of 500 km from Southern Serengeti to the north edge of the national reserve of Masai Mara.
The overwhelming vertiginous event sees numbers of animals which are unimaginable. This includes 1,300,000 wildebeest, 191,000 Zebra, 360,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 12,000 Eland. The resident herbivores of the Serengeti include Topi, Impala, African Buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, Kongoni, Giraffe, Warthog, Waterbuck and elephant.
How it started:
The drama intensifies as hungry herds of hyenas and lions join in the spectacle and trail the herbivores all along the migratory clockwise route. One can spot wild dogs, cheetahs, jackals, leopards as every scavenger in the region joins the hunt for their share of prized Serengeti meat. The first treks during the season and the definite migratory routes were first observed in the 60s.
The great migration of Serengeti is a new phenomenon. Late in the nineteenth century the wildebeest population was threatened and majority of it was wiped out due to a rinderpest epidemic. Cattle were introduced to cease the spread of the disease. This spurred the population of the wildbeest to boom.
This forced the herds to migrate in search of pastures and water. Not everyone sees this exceptional and endearing event with sympathy. The tribal people, Maasai face difficulty in rearing their livestock. The Maasai hold the migrating herbivores responsible in poisoning the river water with foetal sacs and transmitting diseases among the cattle.
A Safari to photograph the Serengeti in its true element can have no better occasion that the wildebeest migration. The National reserve of Masai Mara is where much of the diverse wildlife is to be found. The migration is never the same in terms of direction and timing. The local conditions which directly influence the growth of grass may cause the animals to move away from the open plains and wander the northern woodlands for more duration.