The wildebeest migration is a spectacular natural event.
Millions of wildebeest and zebra make an annual trek across the East African plains in search of new grazing and watering holes. Beginning in December, the herds trek through the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Around July the herds move northwards across the border into the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Here they spend several months grazing. Then, around October, distant lightning and thunderstorms in the south summon the herds south again. The herds start moving back across the border, to the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti in November.
The Wildebeest Calving Season
The calving season usually takes place between January and February of each year. While the migration route has remained the same for thousands of years, the exact timing of the migration varies depending on seasonal rainfall, so these timings are merely a guideline.
The calving season is one of the most critical phases of the migration. Wildebeest give birth to their young in the Ndutu region. Ndutu is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area near the southern Serengeti Plains.
The Ndutu calving area is one of Africa’s great natural beauties. This region is the birthplace of a one-of-a-kind wildlife phenomenon, a yearly celebration of life. Imagine two million wildebeest giving birth to 400,000 calves in three to four weeks. Nothing on earth compares to this show. Every day, nearly 8000 newborn wildebeest are born!
The calving season is a vulnerable time for the wildebeest. Predators such as lions, hyenas, and cheetah take advantage of many vulnerable young calves. Nevertheless, the calving period is essential for the continuation of the wildebeest population. During calving the wildebeest synchronise their births, a strategy that provides a survival advantage for the species.
The calving in Ndutu is a part of this larger migratory loop. During calving the wildebeest spend several months in the southern Serengeti and Ndutu area before moving northward and westward towards the Serengeti’s central and western regions. The annual migration is a year-round cycle, covering several hundred kilometres in total. Wildebeest are constantly on the move in search of better grazing opportunities.
Why should you choose a calving season safari?
A calving season migration safari will offer incredible sightings of wildebeest and their newborns and an abundance of big cats looking for a successful hunt.
There is plenty of action and the majestic sight of the seemingly endless Serengeti plains dotted, as far as the eye can see, with grunting, grazing wildebeest. Not to mention adorable newborn animals aplenty.