The Great Migration – the largest animal migration in the world. So large that it can be seen from outer space. When people hear “great migration”, they imagine the wildebeests crossing the Mara River, when in fact the migration spans several months, during which 1.5 million wildebeests and half a million zebras migrate clockwise from southern Serengeti up north and then back down again. The route they take involves crossing the Tanzania/Kenya border twice, as well as dangerous crossings of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers – all in search for greener pastures.
Wildebeests and zebras travel together as they are mutually beneficial for each other. Wildebeests, with their keen sense of smell, can lead the herd to fresh grass, while zebras’ superior eyesight can better detect predators. When it comes to eating, wildebeests prefer the bottom layer of the grass while zebras prefer the top, so there is no competition.
During the months of August and September, animals will cross the Mara River back and forth. By October-November, they will make the final crossing southward and continue until they reach Ngorongoro in preparation for birthing in February.
Watching wildebeests cross the Mara River requires a lot of patience. Sometimes, it takes waiting hours.