The great wildebeest migration is the story to tell in Africa. If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania or Kenya don’t forget to add the great migration to your safari bucket list. Witnessing wildebeest migration either in Maasai Mara or Serengeti is an incredible experience you won’t miss while in Africa for a safari.
The rhythmic sound produced by millions of wildebeest and zebra while matching on the ground, the sound of water flowing between the legs of wildebeest as they make their way across the Mara river is a magical experience.
The great wildebeest migration offers the two best seasons to experience in East Africa. The river crossing and the calving season. The river-crossing involves Kenya and Tanzania while the calving season can be experienced only in Serengeti – Tanzania.
You don’t need to miss this spectacle of wildlife experience on Earth. In this article, we will discuss in depth the Calving Season in Serengeti Tanzania.
What is the Calving Season?
This is the great wildebeest migration’s best-kept secret in Tanzania. The mass birth is to be witnessed in human history every year from January to early March in the southern region of Serengeti national park in Tanzania.
When is the best time to witness calving season in Serengeti?
The best time to visit Serengeti for the calving season is between January and early March each year. The routes for wildebeest migration remain the same for many years between Kenya and Tanzania. This offers the best opportunities for timing the migration based on seasonal rainfall.
During these months, the herds are usually on the southern part of Serengeti seeking fresh grazing. The southern plains of Serengeti extend as far as Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This area provides plenty of food for herbivores to feast on the fresh grasses which grow fast after the rainfall. The southern part of Serengeti is the perfect place for female wildebeest to give birth.
The great migration is also accompanied by groups of zebras and gazelles. The symbiosis relation exists between these animals, where the gazelle and zebra perform the valuable function of eating the longer grasses that are perfect for juvenile wildebeest. Zebra and gazelle help to expose the soft and nutritious shoots which are the perfect food for younglings to nibble with ease.
What makes southern Serengeti so special?
It’s not a coincidence that the herds head south to give birth and feast. Do you know why? Maybe yes or no. The truth is the southern Serengeti grasses are not just tasty but perfect to nourish young wildebeest. These short grasses provide calcium which is an essential nutrient for the growth of bones.
What makes these grasses so nutritious in southern Serengeti?
It’s not a mystery, it’s because of the volcanic activities which go back thousands of years. The ash spread across this plain from Ngorongoro to Ndutu, this ash fertilizes and nourishes the soil, making the grasses that grow here irresistible to Wildebeest and their calves.
How many newborn calves per day are in Serengeti?
For the duration of two to three weeks, over half a million wildebeest are born. Approximately 8,000 calves can be born in one day here in Ndutu.
Are newborn calves safe from predators in Serengeti?
The tricky question to answer, though, is how mother nature operates. The strong will survive, it’s here when Darwin’s theory is applied.
The wildebeest calves are known as the champions at getting up and running with the herds within minutes of being born, this doesn’t ensure that opportunistic predators aren’t looking for a way to make a meal for the vulnerable and the weak. The hunter is on move as usual, but because of the highest birth rate assures the future survivor of these species.
Pro Tip: Swarm Intelligence”
This is the innate behavior possessed by wildebeest where they systematically explore and overcome the obstacle as one, these young creatures are nurtured and cared for by everyone in the herd. Take a good look during your Tanzania safari to notice this behavior depicted by wildebeest.
Why should you choose a calving season safari?
There are thousands of reasons to choose the calving season safari in Serengeti. The calving season is one of nature’s greatest representations of the circle of life. It would be one of the highlights of your trip.
Why calving season is an ideal safari in Africa’s Serengeti?
Offer incredible sightings of wildlife and wild animal
A calving season migration trip will offer incredible sightings of wildebeest and their newborns, as well as an abundance of big cats looking for a successful hunt in Serengeti. But also the plant is very green and beautiful.
Witnessing the circle of life.
There’s plenty of dramatic action to see, but also the majestic sight of the seemingly endless Serengeti plains dotted, as far as the eye can see, with grunting, grazing wildebeest. Not to mention adorable newborn animals aplenty.
Best time to witness predators.
It should come as no surprise that, with all of these baby wildebeest stumbling around on their wobbly legs, the number of predators in the area reaches an all-time high during this time of the year. However, an easy meal is no guarantee!
Experience the science behind calving season
Visiting Serengeti during the calving season will enrich you with practical knowledge of how these species survive. All the questions you have about how wildebeest survive and strive in this chaotic environment with countless predators including Lions, hyenas, Leopards, and cheetahs.
Witness how the predators groom their young’s to become great hunters.
During calving season predators teach their young how to hunt small prey, especially calves. By practicing on young calves before they have to go out and fend for themselves, young cubs learn valuable lessons during this time that are crucial to their future success.
Pro tips: The calving season guarantees the survival of predators.
Predators have coordinated their birthing times to coincide with the birth of their prey so that their young have the highest chance of survival. With thousands of baby wildebeest running around it is much easier for a mother lion, cheetah, or leopard to find a meal for their hungry cubs as well as allow them to learn how to hunt for themselves.
What are the best tips for calving season in Serengeti?
Knowing when and where to see calving season great migration is not enough to make your trip an epic trip in Tanzania. There are some other factors you should consider before visiting Serengeti for great wildebeest migration. Below is our list of the best tips to help you get the best experience out of your Serengeti’s calving season safari.
1. Book with reputable tour operators
These are natural events and are unpredictable when exactly will occur. Though booking with reputable tour operators who are knowledgeable provides you with the best-updated information for timing the migration. This trip needs to be planned professionally to be able to enjoy the best viewing of the calving season during your safari in Tanzania.
The best tour operator provides you with knowledgeable and experienced guides in tracking the great wildebeest migration. These tour operators know the best places to stay and for how long for maximum relaxation and enjoyment of your calving season safari in Tanzania.
Best tour operators not only focus on the wildebeest migration itself, but they extend their wings by bringing in the enchantment moment of other experiences on your trip. The palatable foods, cultural encounters, bush meals, and even other optional trips like balloon safaris.
Learn more about: How to choose a reliable tour operator in Tanzania
2. Time on safari – Don’t rush on your trip
To enjoy to the fullest the calving season of the great migration in Serengeti is better to have enough time. Don’t be in a rush, enjoy and explore every moment nature presents to you. Your duration for your safari should match that of the creatures you will see. Take your time, and have patience while your guide tries to find the best viewing spots. Some actions may need time to occur like hunting and killing or even witnessing the birth.
Others prefer to combine with other parks, like Tarangire, Manyara, or Ngorongoro crater. The best idea is that if you want to combine your trips, you should focus on one extra park. This will help you to relax with no hurry to move to other parks. In case you need advice on this feel free to knock on our inbox. Spending five (5) to 8 Days on a calving safari is recommended.
3. Have a Realistic Budget for your safari
The great wildebeest migration is a very popular safari in East Africa. Because of this expect this trip to be somewhat expensive, this time is also one of the peak seasons in Tanzania or Kenya. You should have a realistic budget and even extra cash to cover other expenses.
You should be able to know exactly which kind of services you need for your trip. If you’re interested in luxury or mid-range options. To be true Serengeti’s accomodation are not cheap, especially for tented camps and luxury lodges within the park. You should discuss this in advance with your tour specialist before embarking on your journey to Africa.
We have covered a lot of safari costs in other articles. We do recommend reading for more insights about Tanzania’s safari cost and the Serengeti safari cost.
4. Advanced booking is required
Is ideal to book your calving season safari in advance. This is the best practice if you need to acquire the best deal for your trip to Tanzania. One month to six months is the ideal time for you to book your trip. Some of the advantages of earlier bookings include the chance for customization and the best accommodations before being fully booked by other visitors.
And in case you miss the calving season in Tanzania, you should focus on the Mara-river crossing from July to September either in Kenya or Tanzania for great wildebeest migration.
5. Best accommodation and location
During your calving season safari in Serengeti, the type of accommodation and location has something to do with your whole safari experience. The best choice for wildebeest tracking is the mobile tented camps and luxury accomodation located in the southern part of Serengeti.
If you plan to stay in tented camps during your stay in Southern Serengeti, you should be aware that, these accommodations should be somewhat pricey compared with mobile tented camps.
6. Proper safari gear & outfit
Knowing what to pack and wear during your safari in Africa is very important. You should wear the proper gear and outfit. Wear comfortable clothes which are adaptable to changing weather. This is wild Africa and is unpredictable to weather, sometimes rains abound during January or February. Preparation is the key.
7. Document your journey in Africa
The best way to make your trip unforgettable is by capturing the best moment during your trip. Hold your camera still to record and capture the amazing view, and activities you will see in the wild. Every visitor to Africa comes with their luck, who knows your best picture will feature as the best photograph of the year? … Guess what? No one knows, enjoy the great migration here in Serengeti.
8. Eat. Enjoy. Sleep
Visiting Africa for a safari is not about watching animals and nature only. Your safari provides you with the best foods, adventure, and a comfortable environment to sleep away from home. Enjoy every encounter, eat well, taste African cuisines and remember to have enough sleep to re-energize for the next game drive or flight back home.
This is a reminder for you that African safari offers you the best chance to customize your trip. Guess what? You can request bush meals to be served at particular picnic sites away from the crowd for the one you care about.
What are the best places to stay during the calving season of Serengeti?
Serengeti is one of the best-developed parks in Tanzania, if you’re hoping to catch the wildebeest migration in real-time, some of the great accommodation choices in Serengeti are :
These mobile camps are the best for following the migration to Serengeti. Well-known camps include the Serengeti safari camp, Ubuntu and Olakira, Chaka, and Ang’ata camps. These camps are operational from January to March, as they provide the best option for viewing the herds.
This is the perfect lodge to catch the migration with an easy traveling distance to Goll Kopjes. This kopje is one of the best places to see cheetahs in Africa. Read more
Serian South ( Alex Walker’s Serian )
It is the other best place to stay if you wish to enjoy the stunning view of the herds. Staying at Serian South also offers you a chance to do cultural visits and walking safari in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Witnessing the calving season of the Great Migration is a thrilling and unforgettable experience in Africa. Hopefully, the discussed ideas and tips shed light on your search for knowledge about the Great Wildebeest migration in Serengeti.
Interesting facts about wildebeest
Before we wind up, we would like to share interesting facts about wildebeest :
- Wildebeest lived around 20 years.
- Wildebeest are often hunted by humans for their pelts and the meat is eaten, often in a dried and cured form called biltong.
- The name ‘wildebeest’ comes from the Dutch word meaning ‘wild beast’.
- Calves can eat grass after 10 days but will drink milk for 6 months.
- An adult male wildebeest weighs 180kg (400 lbs) and a female – 155kg (340 lbs).
- Wildebeest can reach a speed of 80km/50mph.
- Calves can walk and run minutes after birth.
- Females are pregnant for 250-260 days.
- Thanks to the sound it makes, another name for a wildebeest is Gnuu
We hope this article answered many questions about the Calving Season of the wildebeest migration in Serengeti. The safari tips and ideas discussed will help you to figure out how you will experience to the fullest your safari in Tanzania. Do you need more information or want to go ahead and book your Tanzania safari? Get in touch with us today.
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