The plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara of Kenya bear witness to an annual cyclical movement of hundreds of thousands of herbivores as they move in search of fresh grazing and water.
The principle species involved are blue wildebeest (brindled gnu), plains zebra and Thomson’s gazelle.
The herds concentrate on the plains of the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area between January and March when the rains bring a rapid flush of grass to the nutrient-rich volcanic soils in the area.
This provides enough energy for the females to sustain their young and the calving takes place at this time – much to the delight of a myriad predators hoping to capitalize on an easy meal!
Once the rains have ended and the grass is depleted, the herds move northwards, spending the middle of the year in the central Serengeti and western corridor / Grumeti area before crossing the Mara River into Kenya for the last few months.
The river crossings at this time can be very impressive as the herds attempt to reach the other side without being eaten by the massive crocodiles that lie in wait!
This spectacle, although cyclical, is dependant on the amount and timing of the rains and movements of the herds can therefore be unpredictable!