Sited in East Africa, the immense Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem straddles Tanzania and Kenya as the natural setting for one of the wonders of the world – the Great Wildebeest Migration. 

This yearly occasion attracts millions of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes in a mass migration quest for better places to graze and water sources. 

If you intend to embark on a Kenya safari tour, including this unforgettable experience on your bucket list is a must. 

Get ready to be thrilled as we uncover fascinating facts about the wildebeest migration in Kenya.

The World’s Largest Animal Overland Immigration

The wildebeest migration is indeed the biggest land-overland animal movement in the world.

 Over a million wildebeests, as well as 300,000 zebras and thousands of gazelles, take up this amazing journey every year within the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. 

Beholding these huge herds on the move can be absolutely stunning, even for seasoned safari enthusiasts. 

The wildebeest migration is no ordinary walk but an 800-kilometer (500-mile) long journey. 

These animals cross the immense Masai Mara in Kenya from the verdant plains of Serengeti in Tanzania and cover a remarkable distance, combating fatigue, hunger, and thirst all along. 

They can on average move as far as 40 kilometers (25 miles) per day which means they are always moving closer to their destination.


Without Natural Leaders, but Bonded by a Common Purpose


One of the most interesting aspects regarding Wildebeest migration is that it does not have one leader who guides all members of its herd. 

Despite this lack of orderliness, wildebeests can move quite orderly following an internal instinct that leads them through the best grazing lands and water points. 

This kind of togetherness is evidence enough that there are some compelling instincts behind their massive movements.

A Diverse Cohort of Migrating Animals
Although attention may be focused on wildebeest, they are not alone in their vast migratory process. 

Other than these groups of wildebeest, you will find several types such as three hundred thousand zebras among others like impalas, elands, and Thomson’s gazelles that go along this traditional migratory route.


A Paradise for Predators 


The wildebeest migration is a source of prey for the carnivores in the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem. 

The lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas join the herds on their journey from south to north and take advantage of this opportunity to hunt, hence ensuring that they have food throughout the year. 

From these hungry predators, it is estimated that about 250000 wildebeests and 30000 zebras get caught in the act during migration.

Life’s Cycle Unveiled
The wildebeest migration is like living proof of what life entails before your eyes. 

As they run through the vast plains you would witness an awe-inspiring occasion known as wildebeest calving where nearly 500,000 calves are born within two to three weeks. 

This incredible phenomenon coincides with the arrival of herds in southern Serengeti which is rich in nutrients making it possible for the survival of young ones.

Mara River Crossing
One activity related to wildebeest migration that has been so thrilling and popular is crossing the Mara River. 

At long last after three months of fighting against all odds, gatherings muster up enough strength and jump into the water full of crocodiles always under threat that they could be taken by these dangerous creatures at any time. 

Most fascinating moments occur when a wildebeest jumps off into the river and struggles to cross the river something that will remain in your memory.


Feeding on a Grand Scale

zebra and wildebeest

By the end of the year when they finally reach their destination, they would have consumed about 5,000 tons of grass. 

The wildebeest feeds on the wet grasslands in south Serengeti and the lush plains of Kenya performing a fundamental ecological role by leaving a perfect environment for new grass to grow after them.

A Relatively New Phenomenon
Contrary to popular belief, the wildebeest migration is not an age-long tradition that has been passed on from one generation to another. 

However, these spectacular migratory movements seem to have started only during the sixties. 

This event has continued ever since and has already become part of life within the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem with tourists coming from across all continents to see this natural wonder

Kenya’s Economic Lifeline 

The wildebeest migration is not only a great attraction to nature admirers but also determines the overall performance of the tourism industry in Kenya.

Every year many tourists flood Masai Mara National Reserve hoping to catch this unforgettable experience that helps in supporting the economy and creating employment for local people.

Wildebeest Migration in Kenya: A Case Study of Nature Defeating All Odds. 

The sheer size of migrating herds and their incredibly complex surrounding environment makes every aspect of this journey awe-inspiring. 

Regardless of whether you have been on countless safaris or it is your first time visiting Kenya, witnessing wildebeest migration would be an occurrence that will mesmerize you and provide you with a deep connection to the magnificence that exists within our planet’s natural wonders. 

Book with Shian Safaris for a spectacular and unforgettable experience!!