For many travelers, the idea of the Great Wildebeest Migration brings to mind images of roaring river crossings with crocodiles grabbing at the heels of wildebeest as they make their way across the deadly Mara River. It’s not only wildebeest that migrate – zebra and gazelles are also part of this annual migration. To complete the circle, the wildebeests will return to the Serengeti eco system and will get ready to give birth to new calves in the Ndutu stretch of the Ngorongoro conservation area in what is commonly referred to as the Wildebeest Migration calving season.
This best kept adventure secret of the great wildebeest migration calving season commonly takes place in from December through February of every year. The reason for this major traffic is so important for many reasons that the wildebeest will try to give birth to calves in better conditions which means that they will avoid any predator that could cause a lot of complications in the process. Unfortunately, predators are pretty intelligent, and they always head to the south of Serengeti (the places where everything will happen) to take advantage of the vulnerable newborns, making it a very risky natural situation for the heads of the family since they will protect their calves with everything they can
Calving Season is a time where kills are abundant due to the large number of vulnerable calves at the time.
The herds spend the majority of these three months in the Ndutu area of Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation areas, although not within the crater itself. Many years ago, volcanoes in the area would erupt and the volcanic ashes that are left behind have led to the soil being rich in nutrients meaning that the grass that grows here is perfect for young wildebeest to munch on and build up their strength in the first few weeks of their lives.
The zebras and gazelles that join the thousands of wildebeest on their journey eat the grass shoots that are less appetizing to the baby wildebeest, leaving behind only the most nutrient-rich grass shoots that are freshly sprouted and soft enough for young wildebeest mouths to pull from the earth. These grasses are also said to help aid the wildebeest mothers in lactating and making sure their milk is full of the goodness needed to raise strong and healthy babies.
Best Time to See the Wildebeest migration Calving Season
Enjoying this amazing event should be added to anyone’s bucket list and often planned 6 months to a year in advance. In the case of the wildebeest migration calving, you need to visit Serengeti National Park in Tanzania between December, January, February, and March to see the whole wildebeest calving season experience! Wildebeest Calving season often carries into March and is joined by other wildlife giving birth including thousands of zebras and gazelles that have accompanied the wildebeest on their journey.
Within a two to three week time period, over half a million wildebeest are giving birth with as many as 8 000 wildebeest calves being born on the same day!
Where to witness The Wildebeest Calving Season?
The herds spend the majority of these three months in the Ndutu section of the southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation areas, although not within the crater itself.
In January after the rains start falling, herds of wildebeest along with other wildlife begin making their way to the Southern Serengeti. The Southern Plains of the Serengeti will begin to turn green and provide fresh grazing and the needed energy required for the calving season.
What to Expect During The Wildebeest Calving Seasons?
This amazing event will give a lot of sights that are unforgettable such as the immense and harmonized calving of wildebeests. In a 3 months’ period more than 500,000 newborn calves will join this world in an open plain! The most extraordinary thing about calves is the fact that in a couple of minutes they will be standing and within a few days, they will be running and trying to escape from any predators that live in these dangerous zones.
That sounds amazing and interesting, isn’t it? But this is not everything that will take place in this calving season. Since there will be a lot of vulnerable calves, predators including lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas will be lurking in the Southern Serengeti looking for food. During this time, the chances of seeing a predator-prey encounter and kill are extremely high. At this point, anything can happen to the newly born calves.
At the end of the calving season around March, the wildebeest along with other wildlife will be moving out to look for better weather, fresh graze, and a better environment free of those predators that are watching them. Also, they will need to keep moving because the southern Serengeti plains start to dry out and the weather will make it more difficult to stay.
Traveling to the Serengeti during the calving season will provide one of the most incredible experiences in nature- full of exciting action, drama, and miracles. This unbelievable experience occurs once a year and is one of the best times for optimal game-viewing. If you have the opportunity to witness this wonderful event, then don’t lose your chance! It will without a doubt be worth it!
The wildebeest calving season is truly a remarkable time in East Africa and has so much to offer any safari-goer looking to see something other than the usual river crossing. Immerse your safari experience with this extraordinary journey and you will live to have a story to tell!
Let’s show you Africa, be part of our safari family by booking your next safari holiday with us.