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Serengeti & Its Migration – A Paradise Worth Seeing

by AfricanMecca Safaris / Wednesday, 30 December 2015 / Published in Blog For AfricanMecca Safaris, Latest Tanzania Blog Posts From AfricanMecca Safaris

Serengeti & Its Migration – A Paradise Worth Seeing

30 December 2015 | Published By AfricanMecca Safaris | Blog CategoriesTanzania.

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There is still a place on Earth where life was as in the beginning; a place where life still scintillates. To the Maasai tribe, a pastoralist people in the Ngorongoro and Serengeti, this is the place where the land runs on forever, a land suspended in time, a last refuge of the largest concentration of wildlife remaining on earth; an endless array of grassy plains, woodlands and hills dotted with glorious animals of every type and size. Long ago, before the age of man, mountains to the east of this natural wildlife refuge spurted their fury, laying a long and thick blanket of volcanic ash. Entire mountain ranges were buried, leaving only the mountain summits as lone markers of an ancient world, long lost. Over the course of four million years, ash turned to rich soil yielding vast grasslands, and today cradling some of the most important animal species on earth. Yet of this richly diverse habitat, one species stands out from all others, as it is the foundation of the wildlife ecosystem in the Serengeti. With herds reaching over one million, it is the wildebeest that affects many other species. Often called the Serengeti Clown, the wildebeests are magnificently endowed, ready for their endless search of rich grasslands and freshwater. Alongside this massive population of wildebeest, co-exist other herbivores, equally drawn by the rich and varied vegetation of the Serengeti. The Serengeti, ruled by simplest of life’s principles, where herbivores eat plant, and carnivores eat herbivores, thus resulting in the magnificently rich animal life diversification; a paradise, where lions and cheetah hunt with might and stealth, a great generosity offered by the enormous wildebeest herds, where nothing is left to waste here on the Serengeti plains.

The Great Migration – Central Seronera, Grumeti & Mara Rivers, Lobo Wilderness

In the short rain season, the wildebeest herds grow strong on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti including the Kusini, Ndutu, Masek and Maswa wilderness. But as the lack of pasture and water deepens around April, it demands movement, a defining moment for the wildebeest herds…migrate or starve. For nearly 1.5 million animals, this becomes a race against death; against hunger and thirst. The herds accompanied by zebras and gazelles drive towards the Grumeti River west and Mara River north via central Seronera bypass, drawn toward Mother Nature’s promise of water and grass. This epic yearly journey takes place between the two African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. The wildebeest herds migrate north towards the famed Masai Mara Reserve in southwestern Kenya, where they roam for three to four months (July, August, September to parts of October), until the rains resume and then migrate back to eastern Lobo Serengeti, becoming a deadly gauntlet of predator versus herbivore that lasts more than 800 kilometers (500 miles).

The Mating Season In Southern Serengeti – Ndutu & Kusini

The wildebeests dedicate the commencement of each migration with the breeding season in southern Serengeti. Within the first few weeks of this long migration, bulls engage in constant battles over females and territories. Within just a few weeks, 90% of all the cows are impregnated. It is during this time that the herds move past Moru’s large granite outcroppings called kopjes, now, temporarily changed to perfect vantage points for waiting predators. There is neither malice nor remorse on the Serengeti, just a paradise to eat and feed all of its own. As the migration passes through the woodlands of the Serengeti, the permanent residents, including the Maasai giraffe, look on uninterested. These need not migrate, as they feast on the permanent, drought resistant, woodland foliage – the acacia trees. Other species, like the savanna baboon, roam the woodlands by day and roosting in trees by night, feeding on almost anything within their reach. Herbivores feeding on nearby grasslands must be ever watchful of the predators. Yet, there is one herbivore with little to worry about; the Serengeti adult elephant has virtually no enemy. After months of facing the force of strong predators, the dangers of brush fires, the wildebeest finally reach the paradise grasslands of the Masai Mara in Kenya starting July and August and, their instincts bringing them to a place of plenty. Here, they will live and range for few months until the rains return in October.

The Inimitable Precinct Of The Serengeti – The Ngorongoro Crater

To the southeast, lies a microcosm of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera encompassing 100 square miles of rich, fertile land. Entombed in an Eden lie rich forests and foraging vegetation, an abundant feast for resident animal species. Hippopotamus, rhinos and thousands of other animals make their home here, others only migrate for the season e.g. lesser flamingos. But, like other ecosystems, dangers lurk here too. The Ngorongoro Crater offers refuge to endangered species like the black rhino, who endures this limited paradise, as it offers protection against poachers who hunt the rhino for its precious horn, while at the same time offering a banquet of options for the ever prideful lion. Serengeti ecology is also known as the “Cradle Of Mankind”. It was here in the southeastern plains near Ngorongoro lies Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli, wherein lies a human fossil record that dates back 3.7 million years. Today, it is the proud Maasai people that dwell here, following the pastoralist lifestyle of their chaperoned wildlife friends, the wildebeest.

 

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