In simple terms, it’s a great migration of wildebeest that commonly takes place in January and February of every year, and the reason why this major move is so important is that the wildebeest will try to give birth to calves in better conditions, which means that they will avoid any predator that could cause a lot of complications in the process. Sadly, predators are pretty intelligent, and they always head to the south of Serengeti (the places where everything will happen) to take advantage of the vulnerable newborns, making it a very risky natural situation for the heads of the family since they will protect their calves with everything they can!
When is the Best Time to See The Wildebeest Calving Season?
Enjoying this amazing event should be added to anyone’s bucket list and often planned 6 months to a year in advance. Because there are certain times of the year when wildebeest give birth, you should know the best times of the year in which you should start planning for your safari. In the case of the wildebeest migration calving, you need to visit Serengeti National Park in Tanzania between January, February, and March to see the whole calving season experience! Calving season often carries into March and is joined by other wildlife giving birth including thousands of zebras and gazelles that have accompanied the wildebeest on their journey.
Where Can You See The Wildebeest Calving Season?
In January after the rains start falling, herds of wildebeest along with other wildlife begin making their way to the Southern Serengeti. The Southern Plains of the Serengeti will begin to turn green and provide fresh grazing and the needed energy required for the calving season. During this time, within a two to three-week period, over half a million wildebeests are born. By February, as many as 8,000 wildebeest are born every day! Remember that this is an exclusive event that nature gives us every year and is something to consider ahead of time when planning your safari experience.
What Can You Expect From The Wildebeest Calving Seasons?
This event will give a lot of scenes that are unforgettable such as the massive and coordinated birthing by the hand of wildebeest in a 3 weeks period, where more than 500,000 newborn calves will join this world in an open plain! The most impressive thing about calves is the fact that in a couple of minutes they will be standing and within a few days, they will be running and trying to escape from any predators that live in these dangerous zones.
Sure, that sounds amazing and interesting, but this is not everything that will take place in this calving season. Since there will be a lot of vulnerable calves, predators including lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas will be lurking in the Southern Serengeti looking for food. During this time, the chances of seeing a predator-prey encounter and kill are extremely high. At this point, anything can happen to the newly born calves.
At the end of the calving season around March, the wildebeest along with other animals will be moving out to look for better weather, fresh graze, and a better environment free of those predators that are watching them. Also, they will need to keep moving because the southern Serengeti plains start to dry out and the weather will make it more difficult to stay.
Traveling to the Serengeti during the calving season will provide one of the most incredible experiences in nature- full of exciting action, drama, and miracles. This unbelievable experience occurs once a year and is one of the best times for optimal game-viewing. If you have the opportunity to witness this wonderful event, then don’t lose your chance! It will without a doubt be worth it!
Will I See Other Animals in the Mix?
Tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles have already accompanied the wildebeests throughout the year. Here it is no exception, as they use this opportunity to birth young themselves, as the cover of many wildebeests offers great protection. During the migration back to the northern Serengeti area and the river crossings, there can be as many as 200,000 zebras and 500,000 gazelles. You can have over 2 million animals in this concentration, and it is even more, with 7,500 hyenas, 4,000 lions, and up to 600 cheetahs.
Are there any risks in this Calving Season?
Unfortunately, during the migration, the young calves can find it challenging to keep up with the older members of their group and get left behind, which is an opportunity for predators to attack. In many cases, nearly 250,000 wildebeests die during this migration, and this can be due to things such as starvation, thirst, weaknesses, and climate change which can pose a threat to their survival during this season.
This can involve more intense rainfall and droughts which can affect the rivers and the amount of grass there is to graze for, as wildebeests play a vital role in the sustainable renewal of the ecosystem.