Facts About the Great Migration – Guided by the instinct to survive, the smell of rain and sound of thunder spur millions of gnus forward. This is a perilous journey beset in deep uncertainty. About 2 million animals following the rains, on a death defying, 3 000 km odyssey, making the trek with two things in mind: fresh grazing lands and water. Massive herds of wildebeests, gazelles and zebras, thunder across East Africa’s crocodile-filled rivers and open savanna plains stalked by lions and other cats – It’s The Great Migration!

Throughout the year, East Africa’s wide-open grasslands of the East Africa set the backdrop for the Great Migration as millions of herd animals make a circular trek from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and back to Tanzania again. It is drama on a truly epic scale, and one of the main reasons why so many travelers go on a Wildebeest Migration safari year after year.

Colossal herds of grunting gnus plunge from the banks into the water and thunder across the Mara River, while dodging Jurassic-sized crocodiles. It really is one of Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles! This breathtaking stampede, is the largest herd movement of animals on the planet, and can be seen from space. The numbers are astonishing: Over 2 million wildebeest and about 300,000 zebras along with Topi and other gazelle move in a constant cycle through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in search of nutritious grass and water.

It is not all plain sailing, as hungry predators including hunting prides of lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, and crocodiles make sure that only the strongest survive in this natural spectacle also known as ‘the greatest show on Earth’. Along the way, danger always lurks, and many migrating animals become prey to predators. It’s been estimated that around 250,000 wildebeests and 30,000 zebras perish in this tough trek, especially younger ones.

Many times, mother wildebeests will just start running and keep running, not knowing that their young can’t keep up. The slow are brought down by hunting carnivores, the brave break their limbs on steep river slopes, with massive crocodiles taking their share of the stragglers, and the weak and exhausted drown.

Even having survived all the river crossings, this still doesn’t mean that life becomes easy, as danger still lurks in the form of hunting prides of lions and clan of hyenas. Wherever the herd goes, the predators follow, and high drama is always present, as thousands of animals are brought down by predators and thousands more are born, replenishing the numbers and sustaining the circle of life.

This phenomenon of an ever-moving circular migration of over a million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is as old as the land itself and one of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. The constant movement of wildebeest, joined by a host of companions, follow an age-old route.

The Great Migration is a fluid and continuous, year-long journey of animals migrating after calving in the southern part of Tanzania’s Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The wildebeest always know the way to go, and it is generally believed that their journey is dictated primarily by their response to the weather; they follow the rains and the growth of new grass.

The animals journey through the Serengeti up and around in a clockwise direction towards the Maasai Mara in Kenya, before returning once again. The animals set off on their journey back towards the Southern Serengeti around mid-October time to complete this incredible circle of life – drawn by the promise of the rains beginning again in the south around November time. Yet another Mara River crossing stands in their way as they cross back into the Northern Serengeti on their trek towards their trusted calving grounds.

And so the story repeats itself year after year. For the wildebeest and zebra, the journey never really ends. It’s constantly on the move in a struggle for survival.

Since nature sets the schedule, planning a successful Wildebeest Migration safari requires experience and extensive local knowledge. When planning your luxury Kenya Safari, you probably want to include experiencing the Great Migration.

With some very careful planning, it is possible, to catch this phenomenon and see part of this story in action. Having over twenty years of handling The Great Migration safaris, Oluokos Signature is able to tailor make your Maasai Mara Great Migration trip.  Depending on what you want to see and experience, Oluokos Signature, can help you be in the right place at the right time, as well advise on the best places to stay to see the Great Migration.  As far as safari experiences go, there’s nothing that beats this Great Migration.