Wildebeest Migration in Masai Mara
Wildebeest Migration in Masai Mara is the movement of a large number of wildebeest between Serengeti national park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya in search of better and greener pastures.
Maasai mara national reserve is located in the south western part of Kenya along the great rift valley in Narok county.
The wildebeest migration in Masai Mara is considered one of the natural wonders which take place in the world. There are many reasons which have led to this wildebeest migration which takes place annually in different locations between Serengeti national park and Maasai Mara national reserve.
Some of the reasons why the wildebeest migrate to the Maasai Mara reserve include searching for food and water which drives the wildebeest to follow the rains as they look for greener pastures by taking advantage of the different seasonal changes.
Other wildlife species such as zebras and gazelles also take part in the wildebeest migration as well as predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas which tag along in order to strike unknowing wildebeest and have a meal.
Zebras feed on the same pasture as the wildebeest and are known to also participate in the great migration across the Mara River. Different bird species can also be seen as tourists watch the wildebeest migration.
The Maasai Mara national reserve is also known for its high lion density and is characterized by many dotted trees which it is named after. According to the Maa language, the word “mara” means spotted. Other wildlife species which can be seen in this reserve include leopards, cheetahs, elephant, wildebeest, zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, antelopes, topi, hyenas, buffalos, and many others.
The wildebeest migration can be seen from different viewing points such as from the tourist vehicle, from the air and even on foot. Some lodges within the national reserve make it easy for the tourists to watch as the wildebeest move through those regions as they graze and drink water.
When does the wildebeest migration take place
Wildebeest migration takes place at different times of the year and in Maasai Mara national reserve, this migration takes place during the months of July to September when the wildebeest cross to Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya through the Mara River which is considered the climax of the migration period.
Entrance fees for Maasai Mara national reserve is $ 80 and there are different entrances to this national park such as Oloololo gate in the northeastern part of the reserve, Oloolaimutia gate on the eastern side, Musiara gate not far from the Mara River, Talek gate on the northwestern part of Maasai Mara and sand river gate between Maasai Mara national reserve and Tanzania.
Depending on the time of the year and the season, a tourist is able to witness the wildebeest migration from either Serengeti national park or from Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya since this migration takes place at different locations throughout the year.
Best time to see the wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara reserve
The movement of the wildebeest is sometimes unpredictable depending on the weather conditions and other factors. However, the best time the wildebeest migration can be witnessed in the Maasai Mara national reserve is during the months of July to October.
During the months when the wildebeest cross to the Maasai Mara reserve, mating takes place as the wildebeest graze around the plains in Kenya.
Wildebeest sometimes migrate due to the long grass which makes it difficult to see the predators which are known to attack them such as lions. Talek River is a seasonal river that also plays an important role in the wildebeest migration. This river is also a major tributary to the Mara river and drains both the swampy and forested areas of the reserve.
The major crossing point during the wildebeest migration is the Mara river which is infested with crocodiles making it difficult for the wildebeest to cross over. The wildebeest sometimes drown during the crossing of the Mara River.
Before choosing the best location to witness the wildebeest migration, tourists consider a number of factors such as seasons and time of the year, the safety of tourists as they watch the wildebeest migration, the route used by the tourists and many other factors.
How to get to Maasai Mara national reserve
Different ways of accessing this national reserve include Flights that are available to the different airstrips around Maasai Mara national reserve and tourists can also access this destination by road from Nairobi via Narok.
Payments in the Masai Mara national reserve include entrance fees payable at the gates. Other activities that tourists engage in during visits to Maasai Mara national reserve include game drives, Maasai visits, nature walks, and hot air ballooning.
Maasai Mara national reserve is also home to the Maasai people famous for their unique culture and their nomadic way of life. Tourists visit the Maasai villages to interact with them and learn more about their way of life, see local arts and crafts, watch traditional dance performances and many other cultural aspects.
The Maasai people living within the national reserve have greatly contributed to tourism and the local community of the Maasai people act as guides during some of the adventures in the wilderness as they explore.
Experience the wildebeest migration from the dotted savannah plains of the Maasai Mara national reserve as thousands of wildebeest cross the Mara river from the comfort of your lodge, from a bird’s eye view on a hot air balloon or on foot during a game drive near the Mara River.