World’s biggest wildebeest migration begins in Kenya

Wildebeest Migration
The wildebeest migration is a very unpredictable and spontaneous event. PHOTO/FILE
JUNE 30, 2017 – One of the world’s most magnificent natural events, the great wildebeest migration from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya has begun in earnest.

The migration started last week, with about 10,000 animals crossing the border into Kenya in search of greener pastures.

This year, the migration, which usually occurs between the months of July and August, has come a month earlier due sporadic rainfall patterns being experienced in East Africa resulting in drought in the Serengeti.

Named as one of the seven new wonders of the world, the wildebeest migration is the largest movement of animals in the world.

About 2 million animals comprising majorly of wildebeests accompanied by herds of zebras and a few impalas, antelopes and gazelles make the precarious journey into the Masai Mara annually.

According to the coordinator of The Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem Nicholas Murero, the early wildebeest migration is a rare occurrence and has come as a blessing to the Kenyan tourism industry.

“This is unusual but we are seeing it as a blessing in disguise since tourists will now be able to visit the Mara before the general election slated for August 8,” Mr. Mumero said.

READ: Why July, August is the best time of the year to visit Kenya

Due to their sheer numbers, the crossing does not occur at a single place at one time. It covers a vast area and might involve animals crossing the crocodile infested Mara River back and forth until October as they follow periodic showers and the subsequent nutrient rich pasture.

The migration coincides with the calving season which attracts a host of predators including lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas since the young ones are an easy target.

Most stakeholders in the tourism sectors have been caught by surprise.

Hotels and travel agencies have started getting bookings and are happy since they were anticipating low business this year as the migration, which is a peak season, was coinciding with the uncertain election period in the country.