Tanzania & Kenya Great Wildebeest Migration Photo Tours
The Great Migration sees over 1.5 million Wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of Zebra and gazelles traverse a continuous circular route from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara ecosystem in search of water and nutritious grazing. This event is awe-inspiring with the mere numbers alone of the great herds. The great columns of Wildebeest can be seen from space! The Wildebeest give birth to their calves in the southern Serengeti with the arrival of rains and the promise of new nutritious grass growth.
They are guided by their survival instinct and are believed to sense the arrival of thunderstorms and life giving rain from over 50 kilometres away. Each Wildebeest will travel between 800 and 1,000 kilometres on its individual journey along ancient migratory routes. Although there is no real beginning or end to this migratory circuit — other than birth and death — it seems reasonable to call the Wildebeests’ birthing season the start of the migration. As calendar months go, by late January or February, the herds occupy Tanzania’s southern short-grass plains. It is here that some 400,000 calves are born within a period of two to three weeks, or nearly 8,000 new calves every day!
This season is dubbed The Calving Season, and with all the new birth comes many predator and prey interactions, and combined makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. Grab a front row seat as the Southern Serengeti puts on a show of the “Circle of Life” – welcome to our Ngorongoro Crater & Southern Serengeti Photo Tour 2023!
While the predators in Tanzania are delving deeply into the bounty of food available to them, the predators of the Masai Mara are not as fortunate as they are left to contend with the local herds and families of plains game. Having to work harder for their meals and be more active in their hunting of, there is a pride of Lions that have adapted to hunt and feed on the mighty Hippo!
By the end of May the Wildebeest have mated and the herds depart the southern plains and amass along the western corridor of the Serengeti before crossing the Grumeti. They eventually arrive in the Kenya’s Masai Mara ecosystem, where the at times treacherous Mara River separates the Mara Triangle from the Masai Mara National Reserve and outlying conservancies. Depending on the rainfall patterns and distribution, the migrating herds can often be seen crossing back and forth through the Mara River between the Reserve and Triangle. River crossings are a product of the Great Migration where fierce battles with monster Nile crocodiles are often had and carnivores sit and wait on the river’s banks for the opportune moment.
This season is when our Best of the Mara Migration Photo Safari takes place for these awe-inspiring scenes and is considered a bucket list item for many! There is a lot of action with predators such as Lion, Leopard Cheetah, Hyena, and Nile crocodile which make sure that only the strongest survive the natural spectacle known as ‘The Greatest Show On Earth”.
Although the end of October typically marks the end of the Kenya migration season, this is not where predator and prey action and sightings end. With the migrating herds continuing on their circular route to be in the southern Serengeti by late January to birth, the Mara’s predators are left to increase their activity around the local plains game in search of their next meal. The short rains begin around this season and this is when our Women’s Only Mara Photo Tour takes place.
Travelling at the start of this season, the grass is typically short and lush with the afternoon skies becoming dramatic and dominated by thunderstorms with the light turning magical. Colours like greens start take over the usual winter browns, creating wonderful photographic visuals to enhance your portfolio! Elephant, dazzling Zebras, Eland, Masai Giraffe and Topi are other alluring subjects in addition to the key photographic predators ie Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Spotted Hyena and Serval.
The Masai Mara from December to January is a fantastic time for photography! With the plains sporting emerald green hues, the Mara backdrops are splendidly set for excellent game viewing as migrant birds return, local antelope birth their young and predators take advantage of the easier meals.
Our New Year’s Masai Mara Photo Tour is timed to take advantage of the green season while celebrating the end of one year, and the beginning of another. With the landscape bursting with summer colours, afternoon skies can present some beautifully dramatic colours and backdrops to your subjects.