Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wildebeest migration update

  • Map of Masai Mara showing current concentraion locations

  • Male wildebeests are at the end of the rutting season, so it is common to see males chasing each other or engaging in brief fights
The migration of wildebeests has started in the Masai Mara game reserve. They crossed the common border of Kenya/Tanzania from Northern Serengeti into Masai Mara, about 4 days ago. The wildebeests came through their traditional route west of Kuka hills though some herds come around the eastern side of the hills. They crossed the sand river which runs almost along the border, onto the Mara around Roan hill where they were seen the first day streaming in long lines heading north.

Over the past two days the migration progression has been quite fast, with wildebeest covering quite some distance per day. Today I found the herds have already reached the central plains and still highly mobile. However, the herds have split up as usual with one herds heading due north and the other heading west from the central plains towards lookout hill. These are expected to cross the river in the coming few days or by next week, going by the pace by which they have been moving across the plains over the past few days since they arrived in the Mara. Looking across into northern Serengeti, one can see big herds concentrated on the recently burnt patch south of the south Mara Bridge towards Naima Lumbwa hills. These are expected to join the main herds into the Mara one they have mowed down al the short grass on the burnt area.

What has been unusual about this years migration is that the main migration from the south arrived in the Mara early ahead of the Loita herds (This is the Kenyan resident herds of wildebeest) which usually migrate into the Mara from the east of the park. Normally when we start seeing them move into the park, it is a sign that the main migration from the south is on the way. The grass on the Mara plains is very tall and we thought this will slow the movement of eh wildebeest as they will have to keep feeding as they move on, but they seem just to be on a mission to migrate than looking for greener pasture.

The Mara predators, which have been starving over the lean period that was the past few months, are now waking upto a season of plenty. The prides of lion in the areas where the wildebeest have been through have already gorged themselves. The stage is now set for hunting activities in the Mara, as the predators seize the opportunity.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this natural phenomenon.


Klaus said...

Thanks for keeping us updated. Kind regards

Klaus from Mara Timbo Camp

BibiFan#1 said...

Thanks for the update Paul!!!!! If any of you are interested in what happened to your favorite Big Cat stars, you can read the book Stars of Big Cat Diary By Jonathon and Angela Scott! It fills you in on details of ALL the episodes and what happened to Tamu, Bibi, and more!!!!
P.S. Paul, Jonathon refers to you as their ace leopard spotter!!!! I believe it!!!!

littlewid said...

Thank you for the update Paul, I imagine the migration is a wonderful sight to see. At last the Mara Lions will have their food source.

Anonymous said...

From Lynn - Thanks so much for the update Paul I truly envy you seeing this beautiful sight.
As much as I love the Wilde's, I think they beautiful in their own unique way, I am soooo glad that there is now a decent food source in the Mara, especially for the Lions. Please let us know when the Olkiombo Pride are reunited together and fat, health lions :o)

Anonymous said...

so if i want to be there for the migration, when should i ideally travel? I am based in India..

Paul Kirui said...

Hi Anonymous, i think planning to come should be any time between now and October. However if you are to spend even just a day in the Mara, then you can choose to travel any day in September.

Nathalie Samuels said...

The map is a very good initiative, for masai mara updates on film, please see the governors big cat updates on
Nathalie Samuels, Screaming Reels Productions

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for a good update marked on the map.

We wish to see the migration. Can we see it from 5th to 7th September 2010 in Mara? Or will the animals stop moving by then.

We are traveling from FarEast and want to be there at the best time.

Paul Kirui said...

Hello unonymous;
Thanks for your question. the wildebeests will still be in te Mara in September. if there is any change, it iwll just be the concentration, but will not stop completedly before November.

Anonymous said...

What is the migration scene now? I am traveling to Masai Mara during first week of August. Hoping to catch some live action while animals are crossing the river.


Anonymous said...

Super helpful blog! Do you have a sense for whether it would be better to be in Masai Mara or the Serengeti in mid to late October? Thank you!

Paul Kirui said...

HI Anonymous;
From experience, teh Mara will still be good at that time. in some years the wildebeests ahve stayed until late November befroe going back to serengeti.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the useful information Paul. Is it likely there will still be river crossings in the Mara in mid-September, or will it have stopped by then? I know they will still be in the Mara, but I am interested in seeing the actual river crossings, and dont want to come all the way if this will not be likely in mid-September. Thanks for your help with this.

harry said...

Hi PAul. Thanx for the updates, so good to be kept informed even though we are in London.. Im planning on coming down to Nairobi and the Mara for 2 days in Sept. is there any lodge that maybe situated in a better place than another??