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Serengeti Wildebeeste | Migration of Maasai Mara GNU

Updated on September 20, 2014

Wildebeest Migration--Serengeti--Maasai Mara

Wildebeest Migration--Serengeti to Maasai Mara National Park
Wildebeest Migration--Serengeti to Maasai Mara National Park | Source

Maasai Mara River

Maasai Mara River
Maasai Mara River | Source

Wildebeest Gathering

Wildebeest gathering at the Serengeti--journey to the Mara
Wildebeest gathering at the Serengeti--journey to the Mara | Source

Wildebeest Crossing the Mara

Wildebeest Crossing the Mara
Wildebeest Crossing the Mara | Source

Wildebeest Migration

The Serengeti National Park and the Maasai Mara wildebeest migration is a spectacular migration of wildebeest that takes every year. The wildebeest migration is a must see event as millions of wildebeest make an epic journey of their lives.

Have you ever heard of the great wildebeest migration that takes place in the Serengeti National Park each year? This is the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth involving millions of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and impala. The animals migrate in large numbers every year as a response to the weather conditions and availability of pastures to graze.

The exact time of the year when the wildebeest migration occurs at the Serengeti national park is never the same as it is dependent on the weather patterns prevalent in a particular year. The routes the wildebeest follow during the migration is also not constant every year as they have alternate routes which they use in response to the weather conditions.

What is a Wildebeest?

This is a type of antelope that is predominantly found in East Africa. In biological classification, it belongs to the genus Connochaetes and the family Bovidae. Wildebeest are in the same family of animals with the domestic cattle and sheep which are known as ungulates. There are two distinct type of wildebeest:

  • Black Wildebeest, which is also known as the white tailed gnu
  • Blue Wildebeest, which known as the brindled gnu

The wildebeest lives in the vast savannah plains of South, Central and Eastern Africa, with the black wildebeest more predominant in the south while the blue wildebeest is predominant in the east.

Black Gnu (Wildebeest)

Black Wildebeest
Black Wildebeest | Source

Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest
Blue Wildebeest | Source

Wildebeest Facts

Wildebeest Facts

  • An adult wildebeest can reach a height of 4.5 feet, length of 7.5 feet and weigh up to 280 kilograms.
  • Most wildebeest live for up to 30years
  • They got their name from the Afrikaans who called the ‘wild beasts’ due to their menacing looks.
  • An adult gnu can run to speeds in excess of 80km/h or 50mph
  • Wildebeest will give birth to 500,000 calves in a synchronized calving that lasts for two to three weeks.


Black Wildebeest

Black Wildebeest : Can easily be identified for its white tail, dark colored and hairy skin. The horns are very large and are curved in an upward and forward manner.

Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest--They are also known as the white-bearded or common wildebeest. This type of wildebeest is predominant to East Africa, with the largest populations being found in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. The feature that separates the blue wildebeest from the black wildebeest is the dark colored bands over its shoulders and flanks.

Serengeti National Park-- Tanzania

Serengeti National Park-- Tanzania: Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 because of its unique ecological diversity and spectacular wonder of the wildebeest migration. The park covers approximately 1.6 million hectares or 25,000 Square kilometres of almost tree-less flat savannah. It was declared a game reserve in 1929 and then a national park in 1951.

The diverse Serengeti National Park ecosystem supports a host of other animal species apart from the wildebeest. These include antelope, leopards, rhinos, elephant, cheetahs, caracal, hippos and giraffes among others. Many of these animals are at risk of extinction and have been given special protection under the international CITES Treaty.

The Serengeti national park is in the same ecological zone as the Ngorogoro Conservation Unit which was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1979

Serengeti--Mara Migration Route

Wildebeest Migration

Have You Ever Witnessed the Wildebeest Migration?

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Serengeti National Park--Wildebeest Migration

Serengeti National Park Wildebeest Migration-- The wildebeest migration between the Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Parks in Tanzania and Kenya respectively is the world’s most spectacular animal migration. Almost 2 million animals embark on a one thousand kilometre journey between the two countries in a circular route that has been going on for millions of years and has been programmed into the genetic memory of the species.

Wildebeest Facts

Wildebeest Facts--Fighting
Wildebeest Facts--Fighting | Source

Wildebeest Migration with Zebra

Zebra in the Wildebeest Migration
Zebra in the Wildebeest Migration | Source

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