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).
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