The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is home to the annual great wildebeest migration when millions of wildebeest and zebras make the journey to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and back in search of greener pastures. Include this wildlife spectacular in the itinerary of your Kenya safari to make it the holiday of a lifetime.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
Regarded as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, more than two million zebras, wildebeest and gazelles annually move across the Mara Plains and the Serengeti in a massive movement that can be seen from space. Your safari to the Masai Mara will be filled with spectacular sightings as up to 8 000 births a day occur during the Great Migration while around 250 000 animals perish at the hand of the closely following predators. This massive movement takes place throughout the year as the animals move in a huge circle within the ecosystems of the Mara and the Serengeti.
Use this month-to-month guide when you are planning your Kenya safari to witness the Great Migration:
- In January the herds congregate in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. They gradually move south towards the Ngorongoro Conservation area.
- From February to March it’s calving season and the herds remain in the Ngorongoro area to take advantage of the healthy grazing conditions.
- During April and May the rainy season begins and the animals embark on their northward journey across the Serengeti plains with massive columns up to 40 kilometres long.
- From June the herds are gathering in the western Serengeti, their last respite before the dangerous and daring crossings of the Grumeti River into the Masai Mara.
- During the months of July and August the animals risk life and limb to cross the Grumeti as hundreds of crocodiles are lying in wait.
- By September the herds have broken up with around half in the Masai Mara and the other half in the northern Serengeti. For those in the Masai Mara, it’s time for another dangerous river crossing of the Mara River.
- Form October to November most of the animals are in the Masai Mara. They will remain here until the short rains begin and they start heading back to the Serengeti.
- By December the herds are back in the north-eastern and southern Serengeti and the circle of life begins once again.
Wildlife to spot on Safari
The Masai Mara National Reserve is situated in southwest Kenya and is one of the country’s most popular reserves for a Safari. The species of the Great Migration – wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and topi – fill the landscape of open grassland. Apart from the abundance of plains game, you can also expect to have marvelous sightings of other incredible animals on your holiday to Kenya as the Great Migration attracts a substantial predator population. Lions are the most dominant while cheetahs are also found in high numbers on the open savanna. Spotted hyenas are another abundant carnivore. Crocodiles and hippos are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek Rivers.
Avid birders will be delighted with the more than 470 species that can be spotted on a Kenya safari to the Masai Mara. Birds that call the area home include vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons, and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.
Masai Mara National Reserve Safaris with JENMAN
Discover an array of wildlife on the 10-day Kenya Safari Adventure that starts in the capital city of Nairobi and ends in the Masai Mara National Reserve. The reserve protects a phenomenal array of wildlife and is the stage of the spectacular Great Migration. Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park and Lake Naivasha are also included in this Kenya safari package.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is the final stop on the 15-day East Africa Migration Discoverer and will ensure you have the Kenya safari of a lifetime. The safari package also includes Tanzania and the wildlife wonderlands of Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and the famed Serengeti National Park. JENMAN African Safaris has a range of Africa safari packages that allow you to experience the very best of Kenya and the rest of the continent.