What Is The Great Migration?
If you’ve heard of the Great Migration, it may have been from the legendary David Attenborough, from a fellow traveler, a friend, or maybe just researching safaris in Africa. This cyclical procession of creatures is one of Africa’s, if not the world’s, most impressive displays of biologically-fueled organization. The Great Migration has been called one of nature’s greatest spectacles, an annual journey of drama, excitement and beauty.
Every year, around 1.5 million wildebeest, 250,000 zebras and a collection of trailing gazelles make the round-trip pilgrimage from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. This there-and-back journey happens over the course of a full year, as the wildebeests, grazers that they are, follow the rains like a carrot on a stick. Where the rain falls, the grass grows, and this need to feed is the basis for the migration. The migration will happen in massive, collective pushes: A flood of creatures stomp across the plains to their destination where they remain for some months before another massive exodus in reverse, veritable sea of mammals departing seemingly overnight.
Perhaps the most iconic of all moments is the wildebeests during their crossing of the Mara River into Kenya. It is here that the seemingly fearless Wildebeest, fueled by hormones, rainfall, and a ticking clock, cascade down sheer walls, plunging into the turgid river, fraught with crocodiles awaiting the biggest meal of the year.
This is simply one wildlife encounter among many to witness during a visit to East Africa, where the Great Migration’s legitimately incomprehensible scope and raw beauty are on full display throughout the year. Surrounding the migration is the Serengeti National Park, a beautiful destination in its own right, even without the staggering and varied wildlife.