Thousands of wildebeest have returned to the Mara over the past few days, and river crossings are at their peak. It's very unusual for this to take place in November, normally the herds are deep into the Serengeti at this time of year. But the lack of rain in the northern Serengeti has forced the turn around back into Kenya's Masai Mara. This aptly proves the point that the migration is unpredictable at best.
The few tourists taking advantage of great rates during this "low-season" are truly getting value for money! The wildebeest are also able to cross the rivers without bumping into minibuses. The crowds of safari vehicles around the river crossings during the height of the migration in the Mara (July - September) have been especially unnerving these past years.
About the Great Migration
The great annual migration of 1.5 million wildebeest, around 200,000 zebra and thousands of gazelles usually starts in March. The most spectacular scenes will unfold over the next few months as the herds gather in ever larger numbers and make their way from the Serengeti and Ngorongoro regions in Tanzania, to Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve. They will have to cross the Grumeti River and the Mara River in search of the sweet grasses of the Mara plains.
The river crossings can be very rough and dangerous, with thousands of hungry crocodiles lying in wait. But once the herds have reached the other side, they still have to contend with the hundreds of predators that follow this migration. Hyenas, lions, jackals, leopards and wild dogs really like the taste young wildebeest.
Experiencing any part of this incredible natural spectacle is truly the greatest safari experience you could wish for. Whether you're enjoying watching hundreds of thousands of young wildebeest calves on the plains of the Serengeti; witnessing the great river crossings; or simply enjoying the vast numbers of wildlife on the Mara plains -- it's all pretty fantastic. Find out more about best places to see it, where to stay and more from my article about The Annual Migration of Wildebeest and Zebra.
Getty Images/Daryl Balfour