The Great Migration in Africa – River Crossings, Routes and Calving Period

The Great Migration in Africa: River Crossings, Routes, and Calving Period

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The Great Migration in Africa is when many wildebeest move in a circle between the Serengeti National Park and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. About 1.5 million wildebeest go along with 200,000 zebras, 400,000 Thomson’s gazelle, 12,000 eland, and predators. These predators include lions, crocodiles, hyenas, cheetahs, and leopards. Some people think wildebeest can smell rain from far away.

This migration is a big deal and is called “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It’s about 800 kilometers long and dangerous, especially for babies and weak animals. The migrating animals have to deal with both resident and migrating predators. About 3000 lions follow the migrating herds.

A big part of the migration is the river crossings. These happen in the Grumeti and Mara rivers. Crocodiles wait to grab the animals and pull them underwater with their strong jaws. Watching this migration is popular, making the Maasai Mara and Serengeti very visited parks in Africa. There are no fences to stop the animals from moving between the parks, making it a big conservation area.

What Causes the Great Migration in East Africa?

Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what makes the migration happen. But it seems to be about survival instinct. Fossils show wildebeest have been in the area for over 1 million years. Evolution has made them instinctively migrate. Wildebeest and other animals need rain to survive. Without rain, the grass they eat gets worse, and they might starve. By following the rains, they know they’ll find water and good grass. Many predators have to follow the migrating herds to find food. The animals move in groups to stay safer from predators.

Not all the animals migrate. Some stay in one place. These resident animals let tourists see them all year. If you miss the migrating animals, you can .