The “greatest show on earth” is under way once more as East Africa’s Great Wildebeest Migration moves from Tanzania’s northern Serengeti across the Mara River to the Masai Mara in neighbouring Kenya. And this year you’re able to be there and witness this incredible wildlife spectacle with one unusual caveat ‐ you’ll be among the precious few brave enough to travel to Africa to see it!
All indications are that this year’s migration is going to be a bumper one, as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra move to greener pastures, following the path of the rains to fresh grazing in the Masai Mara.
It’s something to behold as the herds gather on the banks of the river, milling about as they wait for the perfect time to cross, scanning the murky waters for signs of danger from crocodiles the size of small buses. The sound of their calls drowns out everything… “Gnu, gnu, gnu…”! It’s that sound that gives the wildebeest their colloquial nickname and that quickly becomes imprinted in your brain! Add to it the anxious braying of zebra as the tension to move mounts.
A Mara River crossing is the holy grail of safaris ‐ something that has to be seen to be believed. It happens suddenly as one brave soul decides to take the plunge, then, like floodgates being opened, the rest follow suit and the river fills with heaving bodies, fighting against the strong current, fearful of what lurks below, out of sight.
From your position on the river banks you can see the danger coming before the animals can… It lends a palpable sense of excitement and dread to the unfolding drama ‐ will they make it? Who will be targetted? Can they get out safely on the other side? Wet bodies churn the mud as they exit the water and the air is filled with the dust stirred up from thousands of hooves on the opposite bank. There’s nothing like it. Life in all of its gory glory played out on nature’s stage.
Away from the river the danger does not recede as predators make the most of this time of plenty, feasting on the hapless animals. Lions often kill not because they’re hungry, but because they can, taking a few small bites from their victims before leaving the carcasses for the scavengers, too full to do them justice. Cheetah target the injured and the young and leopard hunt in plain sight. It can be hard to watch, but it’s rivetting nonetheless. Visceral, primal and mesmerising.
The action doesn’t stop at night. In your tented camp you can still hear the wildebeest and the cries of zebra spooked by predators on the prowl. The haunting cries of countless hyena fill the air.
If you haven’t experienced the migration, talk to us right away. Getting a front row seat to the action is easy if you are prepared to pack quickly and allow us to put together a last‐minute, once‐in‐a‐lifetime safari for you. Check out the best places to position yourselves here on our guide to where to stay in Kenya for the best migration experience. We’ll help make it truly sensational!