The Great Wildebeest Migration offers travelers, a unique opportunity to see massive herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles as they traverse the vast plains of Northern Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya.
It is one of the top tourist attractions in Africa. But, is the great migration worth seeing? Yes, Great Wildebeest Migration is a breathtaking event that is definitely worth the trip. If you’ve not had a chance to witness this wildlife spectacle, here are several reasons why you should consider going for a migration safari at least once in a lifetime:
1. It is One of The Greatest Wildlife Shows on Earth
It is quite a scene to behold as over 1.5 million Wildebeest, Zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, Elands and Impalas traverse across the sprawling savannahs of Serengeti and Maasai Mara. It is even more magical to witness how the herbivores navigate the obstacles they come along with during their journey, such as wide-ranging rivers and predators. Mass breeding during the calving season is another aspect that makes The Great Migration more spectacular.
2. It Happens All Year Round
While Mara River crossing is what attracts most travellers, migration is always taking place continually throughout the year. This means regardless of the season you plan to visit East Africa, you can witness migration at different locations. Even if you are visiting outside the peak migration season, the sight of vast herds of herbivores grazing and moving together, evading predators and making their way across the plains is awe-inspiring. So, whether you are going for a beach vacation or business trip, there is no bad time to add migration safari to your trip itinerary.
3. There are Many More Animals to See Other Than the Wildebeest
The migration happens right in the African bush and across some of the most famous national parks, reserves and conservation areas, meaning you will get endless opportunities for wildlife watching. You will get a chance to see many animals roaming their natural habitat including African Cape Buffaloes, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Hyenas, Crocodiles and different species of birds.
4. It is a Great Opportunity to Capture Incredible Photos
With its diverse ecosystem and stunning scenery, the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem is a photographer’s paradise. A migration safari presents travellers with a chance to photograph African wildlife up close, beautiful landscapes and African bush sunrise and sunset.
5. A Chance to See African Predators in Action
African savannah is home to many predators, including Lions, Cheetahs, Wild dogs, Jackals and Hyenas. You can spot most of these predators during evening game drives. One of the best moments to see predators stalking and hunting their prey is during the migration safari, especially around the calving season. In addition, during the migration, there are higher chances of witnessing a predator taking down their prey. Wildebeest’s river crossing points are the other locations where you can spot predators devouring their prey
6. You’ll Get to Enjoy the Beautiful Landscape Firsthand
The beauty of Serengeti goes beyond the migration and the wildlife. From its expansive savannah to rocky outcropping (kopjes), riverine forests, woodlands, hills, rivers, valleys and diverse flora, it is hard not to appreciate the beauty of Serengeti.
7. Experience of Staying in the Wild
Staying right in the middle of nature is one of the most incredible things travellers get to appreciate on migration safaris. The many accommodation options in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem give visitors the chance to connect with nature. There is nothing that beats the experience of hearing Lion roaring from a distance, waking up to birds singing and the sight of wildlife roaming freely steps away from your lodge. Being surrounded by the sight and sounds of nature is a great way to unwind.
8. Cultural Encounters
The Maasai Mara Reserve, the Serengeti National Park and all other protected wildlife areas where the Great Wildebeest Migration happens are surrounded by indigenous communities such as the Maasai. As a result, most migration safari itineraries usually include cultural tours to Maasai, Datoga, Hadzabe and Sukuma Villages, to mention a few. The travellers get to visit the villages to interact with locals and learn about their culture, rituals, and traditional dances and how they use different plants for medicinal purposes, et cetera.
9. There are Other Attractions to Explore Besides the Migration
Another reason why migration safari should be top of your bucket list is that it can easily be combined with top rated attractions in the region. There are so many other interesting activities to do, so don’t just spend your entire trip in the Serengeti. Take some time to explore the beaches, museums, spice farms, Zanzibar, the beautiful islands, lakes, climb the mountains, sample the local cuisine and the delicious seafood.
10. Experience the Thrill of Balloon Safaris
Balloon safaris are one of the highlights of the wildebeest migration. In addition, to game drives, a safari during the migration season gives visitors a chance to get a bird’s eye-view of migration and the expansive Serengeti Plains. One of the most unforgettable experiences during the migration trip is the view of the scenic landscape and wildlife from above. Also, the sight of the sun rising over the plains is so captivating.
11. Bush Dining Experience
Dining in the bush is another exciting reason you won’t want to miss on the wildebeest migration safari. Taking your meal in the wild as you soak up the views of Acacia trees is one of the most beautiful moments during your visit. It is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that brings you close to nature. Depending on your itinerary and the outfitter, travellers get a chance to enjoy authentic bush breakfast, picnic lunch or bush dinner out in the African wilderness. Usually, the dining spot is set up in a scenic area within the park where the visitors are served their meal during or after game drives. The bush dining is mostly set in the morning or evening to give visitors a chance to watch the sunset and sunrise. Sundowners are also some of the great moments to enjoy your migration safaris.
While there is no doubt that the wildebeest migration is the main thing most travellers come to experience, there are many more reasons why you should include migration safari on your trip to Africa. A migration safari is not just about the mass movement of wildebeest and river crossings it is the authentic African wilderness experience. It combines scenic game drives, cultural encounters, nature photography, and adventure.