So I book a trip to the Serengeti and I get to see the migration. You can guarantee that right!?
As with many aspects of Africa the Great Wildebeest Migration is vastly misunderstood. The movement of the animals is controlled by the availability of food and water. Consider: the animals are on the move all year round - keeping pace with the rains - in a vast circle. From south to north and back again. The trick is is to be at some spot on this route to intercept them.
If rains are late, or early for that matter, the herds will react accordingly.
The Great Migration in brief sees the wildebeest herds spend some months roaming the lush southern plains of the Serengeti, where the females also give birth, before heading north towards the Masai Mara plains in Kenya where they will feed on the rolling grasslands until the cycle is completed when the herds arrive back in the southern Serengeti.
There are many migration maps and timetables that set out the route and time of the great migration - and all differ in the information they provide. One of the only certainties about the migration is that the herds will move but when and how can never be predicted with any certainty.
In general the herds will be found on the southern plains of the Serengeti from late November through to April / May from where they will head north through the Western Corridor. The arrival and departure will as usual be determined by the availability of water and food and can vary by up to a month on either side.
The legendary river crossings that have been documented in countless documentaries are also subject to the seasons but in general the herds will cross the Grumeti River around June each year and will cross into Kenya's Masai Mara around August / September.
The Great Migration is a spectacular event but it is important to note that the Serengeti and Masai Mara are some of Africa's best wildlife areas even when the migration has moved on.