The Great Migration in Masai Mara Kenya

The Great Migration in Masai Mara Kenya : The Great Migration also called the Wildebeest Migration or the Serengeti Migration is one of the main attractions in Kenya and Africa and a reason to why millions of travelers visit Kenya.

The Great Migration is one of the seven nature wonders of Africa and a wildlife phenomenon as it regarded as the largest migration of wildlife on earth, over one million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of zebras and antelopes move in a circular route through an eco-system which is shared between Kenya and Tanzania. The migration follows the direction of fresh grass stating in Serengeti national park in Tanzania after the calving season which is in February and having accumulated such a huge population that there is need to move to greener areas and thus setting the migration into motion.

Where is the Wildebeest Migration in Kenya?

The migration arrives in Kenya’s Masai Mara national reserve in June and July – August the entire plains of Masai Mara have been occupied by wildebeests, zebras and gazelles. From a top of the hill, once can see the lush brown plains to the horizon now covered in constant black dots that are the wildebeests and occasionally interrupted by the black and white stripes of zebras which is a greatest sight to behold.

Best time to see the migration in Kenya

The best time to see the great migration in Kenya is from mid-July to August when a lot of the migration has crossed over from the Serengeti plains of Tanzania to Maasai Mara plains in Kenya. Around this time, you will witness thousands of animals moving across the plains.

The Epic River Crossing

 Though the sight of thousands of animals dotting an entire landscape is quite enthralling, the biggest highlight of the migration is the River Crossings, the journey of the migration in Masai Mara National Reserve is interrupted the crocodile infested Mara and the Talek rivers which animals have to cross to get to the other side of the plains. The Mara river crossing is one of the biggest challenges of the migration as the crocodiles are waiting in the water for the feast, the fast flowing water can drown the animals and the predators gathering on the bank of the river such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs. Thousands of animals gather at the bank of the river and can take several days of building numbers before deciding to jump into the river, so this is a waiting game with suspense and adrenaline and when it happens it is an epic sight to behold.

Thousands of animals deciding at once make a dash into the water and stampeding over the crocodiles, many falling into the powerful jaws of the Nile Crocodiles. Those who make it through the water cross, however they also have to battle with the cats – lions, leopards and cheetahs lurking in the plains waiting to feast.

The Great Migration in Masai Mara Kenya
The Epic River Crossing

Note: to increase your chances of witnessing the river crossing, plan a longer stay in Maai Mara national reserve or combine a trip of Masai Mara and Serengeti national park. if you are seeking to witness the river crossing, it is better to book a mobile camp that targets the movement of the migration and is set in near areas where the migration is expected to cross from, however they are expensive.

Is the river crossing in the Masai Mara guaranteed?

The river crossing is not guaranteed as the animals can take days without crossing the river, for a better chance to witness the cross, plan for a longer stay in Maasai Mara for about a week and there is good chance you will see a crossing on the Mara River or on the really smaller Talek River.

Is the migration worth it without the river crossing?

For many travelers planning a safari trip to Masai Mara National Reserve, their imagination and expectation of the Great Migration is the epic river crossing as they have seen on wildlife television shows and pictures in travel magazines and print media. For many the migration is the river crossing, though this is a total misconception.

When if you don’t catch the river crossing, you will enjoy the migration. View of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests and zebras filling an entire landscape is incredible to witness, the cats having a field day with easy prey is an icing on the cake.

There are constant findings of big groups of scavenging birds, the vultures gathered on carcasses of zebra and wildebeests left behind by the satisfied cats. Therefore, the migration is worth even without the crossing.

Best places in the Mara to experience the great migration and river crossing.

The migration can be seen throughout the Mara and you will also need to drive to different viewpoints depending on the movement at a particular time, therefore it does not matter much where you will stay in Masai Mara.

However, The Mara Triangle is great for overall wildlife experience in the reserve and is very convenient for quick travel to the Mara River Migration Crossing points and to the Great Migration’s route to and from Tanzania.

How long should I stay to see the migration in the Mara

To see the migration as it moves through the Mara, I recommend spending at least two nights in Masai Mara National reserve. More nights also improve your chances of witnessing the epic river crossing at Mara.

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