Kenya Great Migration In Masai Mara

Kenya Great Migration In Masai Mara

Kenya Great Migration

We spoke in a previous post about the Great Migration. But in that post, we explain the migration in general. And we had illustrated the long process from the birth of wildebeests to Kenya and return to Serengeti.

Like we have told, in terms of time and miles traveled the biggest part of the migration is in Tanzania. It is in Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystem. So in this post, we want to explain why if the biggest part is in Tanzania the most famous is Kenya.

The trap of crossing Mara River

Kenya Great Migration
The carcasses of wildebeests eaten by vultures on the banks of Mara River ©WAIWL

When the Wildebeests arrive in Kenya they find in front of them the Mara River. There is no choice, if you want to go ahead you need to cross it. Mara River is the Main river of the region. The flow of water is very variable, and after the rain when the wildebeests coming is in good quantity.

That is meaning the wildebeests have two big problems on front. First the crocodile presence, there is a big number of Nile crocodiles inside Mara River. Second, the power of the water is relevant.

As you can see in the movie below, they have a big effort to reach the opposite bank. This is the explanation of the numbers of animals died on the banks of the river. It is an incredible vision, hundreds of carcass and hundreds of vultures and marabou. It is a hellish vision.

About the crocodile problem, it is depending even on the flow. When the flow is low the crocodile can attack with more chance. They can control the prey and devour it easily. But when the flow is high like in the movie below is a big problem. Despite being skilled swimmers the flow prevents to manage the prey.

In conclusion, with the high or the low flow, some wildebeests will die.

The best time to see the Kenya Great Migration 

The great migration according to the scientists is an event regulated by the rains. The big herd needs a lot of grass and the grass grows after the rains. So the herd follows the movement of the rains. The rains are unpredictable, and this is the reason because is impossible to guarantee the presence of certain months.

According to the past experience, the only month almost sure is August. The other months with high probability is the second half July and the first half of September. We saw the firsts crossings even in June and we saw even in November. In June July September October, in any case, the herd is not complete. You can see just a part of it.

What’s happen when wildebeests have crossed the Mara River

Kenya Great Migration Masai Mara
A young wildebeest is dying because of the power of the water ©WAIWL

After crossing the river the herds move around the grassland. And the dangers are not finished. Wildebeests are a good food resource for lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas. The dispersion of the animals is radically changed in the recent years. Some decades ago wildebeests were going up a hundred kilometers over Mara River in North direction. But the human anthropization of the territory has reduced this area to some kilometers over the Reserve bordering.

In recent years the problem became big for Kenya Great Migration. Especially relevant is the fencing by the Masai of their properties. The Masai are the owners of all the lands around Masai Mara. When they fence their properties, in fact, they close the door at the migration.

The effect of this situation is not clear yet. Now it is not completely close the way, so the animals can move in some direction again. But the fencing is growing very fast. More people think when this situation will be complete the flow of the Kenya Great Migration will be altered. It is not excluded will stop the Kenya part of the migration. But there is even another possible consequence. For example the reduction of the dimension of the herd. With less area available will be less grass and we know nature can compensate this with wildebeests reduction.

Kenya Great Migration is ending and it is time to go back

When the grass is is becoming less the herd starts the travel in the opposite sense. Sometimes they are even funny the wildebeests. We saw they cross Mara River more than one time. So they appear a little bit confused. But finally, they cross and take the south direction.

It is not a massive process, they move in many small herds. The big reunion will be in Tanzania where the Great Migration will follow.

Masai Mara is not National Park so it not managed by KWS but by the local administration. So sometimes it is not simple to find information about the reserve.

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