Masai Mara Migration – The Great Circle of Life.

Indescribable, incredible and a definite must see. The Great Wildebeest migration better knows by many as the “seven New wonders of the world” and the world cup of migration.

The mighty plains of East Africa will rumble with the sounds of the approaching herds, thundering hooves and guttural grunts punctuate the air as many characters arrive in their droves in search of better grazing. The main characters are the famous Wildebeest at a staggering 1.7 million, followed closely by supporting actors such as 400.000 Thompson’s Gazelles, 300.000 Zebra, 12,000 Eland and about a quarter million other lesser herbivores. Your senses come alive as these vast seemly desolate plains team from left to right with such exciting wildlife.

Carnivores such as Lions, Hyenas, Leopards, and Cheetahs laze on the outskirts – just watching and waiting – reading the menu if you like, an abundance of fresh meaty meals to choose from. Those terrifying massive Crocs – lie in wait for the inevitable waterside drink or that frantic river crossing across both the Grumeti River and the Mara River. At both water’s edge, sheer pressure builds and the herds are finally forced to surge into the river, often hurling themselves off high banks to run a gauntlet of strong currents with lurking crocodiles beneath the surface. Hordes of panicked animals offering some of Africa’s most dramatic and life changing wildlife encounters. Not for the faint hearted.

There are typical movement patterns, but they can, and do, vary month by month, year by year, as the herds follow the rains, and the new grass.

In late March the long rains begin, marking this time of year the off season for wildlife viewing and many lodges and camps close down. Dirt roads will become muddy marshes; rivers will burst their banks while thunder and lightning with an almost continuous downpour will hide most game viewing. After the rains the almost desolate muddy plains will change the Masai Mara’s golden savannah green, dramatically with thousands of animals arriving almost overnight to graze on the newly grown sweet grass anytime between mid-August and late October.The short rains don’t really interfere with game viewing, even if you may occasionally have to enjoy ‘raindowners’ in your game-drive vehicle rather than the more traditional ‘sundowners’! And you guide will be familiar with the concept of ‘localised rain’: it may be pouring heavily in the distance but he or she can usually ‘drive around’ the rain, keeping you warm and dry.

The next set of rains are conversely known as the ‘long rains’ and usually take place in April and May. As the name suggests, these are far more serious and many lodges and camps may close over this period because dirt roads turn to sticky mud, rivers flood their banks, and the almost persistent drizzle never really allows for a sunny gap for game viewing. Once again, predicting rain is the most inexact of sciences and you may find that one year May is washed out while the next, it’s dry and the very first of the migrating wildebeest are arriving from the Serengeti in Tanzania. It’s this unpredictability of nature that makes safari so intriguing.

The next set of rains are conversely known as the ‘long rains’ and usually take place in April and May. As the name suggests, these are far more serious and many lodges and camps may close over this period because dirt roads turn to sticky mud, rivers flood their banks, and the almost persistent drizzle never really allows for a sunny gap for game viewing. Once again, predicting rain is the most inexact of sciences and you may find that one year May is washed out while the next, it’s dry and the very first of the migrating wildebeest are arriving from the Serengeti in Tanzania. It’s this unpredictability of nature that makes safari so intriguing.

Nowhere in Africa will wildlife become more abundant and nowhere else will you experience such an immense wildlife migration.

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