Wildebeest Migration in the Masai Mara, Kenya by

Journal Notes

After graduating from university, I set off to backpack East Africa with two friends. We flew into Nairobi right as the migration of 2 million wildebeest began to cross into the country from Tanzania’s Serengeti – as such, we bee-lined it for the Masai Mara, in anticipation of recreating the Lion King.

It was easy to find a tour to join on the streets of Nairobi. Within an afternoon, we had organized transport, accommodation and lodging through a local operator for roughly USD 300 for 4 days. It included game drives twice daily in both the Mara and Lake Nakuru National Park, great meals, a guide, village tours and truly spectacular game viewing. The fact that we timed our visit for the migration was icing in the cake.

In July, the wildebeest were just crossing the Kenya-Tanzania border so it took quite a lot of driving to find the massive herds. Hardly something to complain about, since those drives took us past prides of lions, herds of elephant, ostrich, zebra and much more. We would pass the odd wildebeest on route, but nothing would compare to driving into thousands of them as they ran across a dry riverbed. At the border, anywhere you looked you saw migrating wildebeest walking together in a thick line. Having since traveled to other national parks in Africa, I now fully appreciate just what an incredible sight this is. In the years since, I have been lucky to see more than 10 at once… Given the number of visitors, and how accustomed the wildlife grows to safari trucks, tourists are able to get surprisingly close to the migration (and other wildlife) making the entire experience absolutely unforgettable.

The timing of the migration changes each year and can be seen in Tanzania as well – it is absolutely worth structuring your vacation around this spectacle!

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