Africa is a land of beauty: what about the vast landscape and wilderness full of the most spectacular collection of wildlife; calm atmosphere, cold climate; and the African sun setting in the background of some of the most magnificent hills and valleys.
But probably the most famous of all the attractions must be the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania. The journey is so incredibly worth the titles of one of the world’s greatest wonders.
The wildebeest (also known as the wildebeest) is a herbivore that belongs to the antelope family. These large antelopes have different subspecies, and the most common are blue wildebeest, wildebeest from Nyasaland and eastern white-bearded wildebeest (often in Kenya and Tanzania).
The wildebeest can be described as having a well-built front, slender back and thin legs. They have a large head, which looks like a cow, large curved horns, a shaggy mane and a pointed beard. These massive antelopes are on average 1.4 meters high and can weigh an incredible 280 kilograms. They also have a bushy tail that can be 50 inches long.
Wildebeest habitats are grassy plains and open forests. Their diet includes succulent grasses and succulent plants. For that reason, large herds migrate from place to place on such watery and fresh pastures.
Wildebeest live in large herds, where dominant males take control. Females are 8 and a half months pregnant. Usually newborn calves walk a few minutes after birth. They follow and breastfeed the mother for 6 months, after which they are old enough to be alone. A healthy calf, if lucky, can grow up to more than 20 years old.
An important fact to note is that wildebeest are the only animals capable of controlling their birth at the same time for a period of 2-3 weeks. Their migration therefore ensures that their young have enough food and water to survive.
Males mature for about three years. This is the age in which they establish their dominance in the group. They do this by marking their territories with feces and other secretions and protecting them from other males.
The great migration of wildebeest usually begins in Ndut; a special place between the Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro plateau. During the onset of short rains, between February and March, more than half a million calves are born. There is plenty of food, so the chances of survival are high.
By April, the grass was mostly depleted and migration was moving towards the western borders of the Serengeti. This usually lasts until May. During this period, long rains in the western region provide an abundance of pastures for a large number of wildebeest and zebras.
Zebras and wildebeest, although they have no origin, have a perfect partnership. The wildebeest, with its sharp sense, can detect moisture for miles. Zebras complement this with their sharp eyesight. When it comes to feeding, zebras have an advantage, feeding on long grass. The wildebeest follow them from behind, feeding on short grass, which is now just the right size.
When the dry season comes, the wildebeest moves further north. During July and October, they break into the Masai Mar. With numbers ranging in the millions, wildebeest and zebras cover vast lawns and savannas as far as the eye can see. These large herds attract many predators including large cats such as lions and cheetahs, hyenas and vultures.
The spectacular part of this great journey is always centered on the Mara River
.Here they bend, and occasionally zebras, gather in thousands on one side of the river; their sounds fill the African air. Large crocodiles were waiting inside the river. For a moment, they seem to be hesitant, everyone wants to cross, but for some reason no one moves. Then suddenly, a brave wildebeest stepped forward and dived first into the murky waters of the Mara River. This triggers a stampede, where each animal swims for itself and struggles to reach the other side. The crocodiles are in a hurry to kill, not wanting to waste this golden opportunity. Wanted as the proverbial ‘flaw from heaven’.
Many wildebeest lose their lives by strangulation, and others from the teeth of hungry crocodiles. Still, a few unfortunates who manage to cross the Mara River end up being a meal for the big cats and hyenas that set up an ambush on the other side. For the other thousands who escape this temptation, it is time to feast and enjoy their stay in the Masai Mara Reserve, because when the grass runs out, they will have to return to the Serengeti.