Wildlife in Africa can provide a breathtaking spectacle if you know what to look for. One of the phenomenons that absolutely cannot be missed while taking a safari tour is the seasonal migration pattern of wild animals.
Coming in contact with the wildlife routine Wildlife migration involves the movement of animals based on a seasonal, long-distance pattern. Most animal species follow a migration cycle, including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, frogs, insects, and shellfish. But what determines animals to behave that way?
Animals go to great lengths when climate changes occur, when food sources become scarce or when the mating season arrives. Still, to count as a real migration process, this phenomenon must occur on an annual or seasonal basis. Otherwise, any other types of movement behavior can be only seen as a local dispersal.
Classification migration behaviors
Animals can either be forced by their nature to change habitat or can choose to do so on their own. Furthermore, within the same species, it is an often occurrence that not all members migrate.
When going on a Tanzania Safari Tour you can be a witness of:
– Obligate migration process, when the members of a specie have to migrate to cope with their wildlife requirements;
– Facultative migration, when migration depends on outside conditions and is not a compulsory process;
– Complete migration, when the entire animal colony disperses from one habitat to another;
– Differential migration, when only a particular part of the colony has to migrate. In this case, age or sex can be determinant factors for migration to take place.
Animal behavior to focus on Tanzania Tours and Safaris provide tourists with the exceptional benefit of being able to observe how almost two million animal species relocate in order to find food and water. The wildebeest can travel even 1800 miles for better living conditions and they follow a clockwise pattern.
As you may imagine, due to the harsh climate, the long journey is far from being easy. Statistics say that some 250.000 animals lose their life in the attempt of migrating. They either become victims to the extreme weather conditions or fall prey to the most vicious predators.
Since wildebeest migration happens between Tanzania and Kenya, tourists have to keep a close eye on the weather and plan their safari holiday carefully. Depending on the area they are visiting, tourists may be able to view the wild animals having their young or how courting takes place in different species.
However, the most amazing experience is by far the watching the animals cross the Grumeti River of Tanzania, while organized in herds. This is a unique experience not only because tourists get to see baby animals, but if one has a hard stomach, you can even see predators ambush weaker specimens, turning them into prey.
Where to go to witness the process
If you want to catch a glimpse of what is known as the most impressive animal migration in the world, you need to focus your Tanzania Safari Tour on the northern area of the country, where the large Serengeti National Park is located. The migration process starts here, as the park is vaster than the Masai Mara in Kenya. Moreover, the animals can scatter freely, as the tourist density tends to be lower.
Choosing the best time to visit
If experience in this business is lacking, tourists are tempted to believe that they can plan Tanzania Tours and Safaris, just about any time of the year. Even if camp and lodge managers tent to enforce this belief in order to have clients all-year-round, this is hardly the case. The first thing that should be known is that dry climate alternates with the humid one, making difficult for the area to be visited in some periods of the year.
On the other hand, the migration process has specific months when wildlife activity reaches its peak, but even those are a gamble. Weather conditions can cause migration patterns to alter from month to month or from year to year, as animals tend to go where food sources are located. So even if the right research is done, tourists may still have a somewhat disappointing experience.
Visiting Tanzania from December through March may allow tourists to view the wildebeest calving season. Most of the young are born within a period of three weeks, mostly at the beginning of February. This period also attracts a large number of predators, making lion or hyena kills a recurring sight.
From April to May herds start to relocate to the richer plains and woods from the Serengeti National Park’s western Corridor. This part of the years is also when the rainy season begins. Roads become impracticable making it difficult to follow the migration process. It is highly advisable to refrain from visiting Tanzania at this time of year, since the hot weather combined with the humid air will turn the visiting experience into a nightmare. Also, since water is easier to come by, herd members scatter around, making it difficult to spot them.
The end of May brings forward the end of the rainy season and the wildebeest resumes with its migration towards west. From May to July, the animals keep moving forward until they reach the Grumeti River, one of the greatest obstacles in their way. This happens by the end of July.
From July to October, the herds exhaust their food supplies and continue to move on. If viewing the river crossing is the main focus point of your vacation, then pack your bags and head out there from August to September. That is the most likely period for this to happen. In November, the rainy season returns.
Tanzania provides lots of eye candy. However, knowing a little something about animal behavior will set apart a wonderful experience from a dull vacation.
Author: Mr. Akber A.D PanjuShare this post...
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