Each year more than six million hooves pound the legendary Serengeti’s endless plains. Triggered by the seasonal rains, more than a million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s Gazelle gather to undertake their long trek to new grazing lands. The wildebeest rutting season is a frenzied three week long bout of territorial conquests and mating, followed by survival of the fittest as the 40km long columns plunge through crocodile infested waters on the annual exodus north. Replenishing the species is the brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves a day before the 1,000 km pilgrimage begins again.
Tanzania’s first and most famous park, the Serengeti, is renowned for its wealth of leopard and lion. The vast reaches of the park are a hiding place for the endangered Black Rhino and provide a protected breeding ground for the vulnerable Cheetah, alongside the Serengeti’s thousands of other diverse species, from the 500 varieties of bird to 100 different types of dung beetle. After the rains, the Serengeti’s magical golden horizon is transformed into an endless green carpet, flecked with wildflowers. The famous plains are interspersed with wooded hills, towering termite mounds, monumental rocky kopjes, and rivers lined with elegant acacia trees.
To search for the at-times elusive wildebeest migration, visit the Serengeti from December to July. To see predators, June to October are the best months. For the best chance of finding the migration, allow a minimum of three days, longer if possible.