Where To See The Wildebeest Migration

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In February?

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In February?
By Hans Cosmas Ngoteya

In February most of the migration action takes place in the Ndutu Plains, to the southwest of the Serengeti. Behold the classic image of endless plains, blanketed and dotted as far as the eye can see with grazing wildebeest and their newborn calves.

Herd of zebras standing in shallow river drinking water in golden afternoon sunlight in Ndutu Tanzania

Zebra enjoying a welcome drink in Ndutu, Tanzania

Where is the wildebeest migration in February?

By February most of the herd is congregating in the Ndutu Plains, in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the south of the Serengeti.

February is usually prior to the rainy season (specifically, the ‘long rains’ which usually begin in March), any showers are sporadic and do not usually pose much of an inconvenience while game driving.

Is February a good time to see the great migration?

This month is all about multiplying. In February, Ndutu turns into a stage for the same astonishing show that began in January – the annual wildebeest calving. Around half a million young wildebeest come into the world each February.

During calving season, pregnant female wildebeest opt to give birth in this area due to the grass’s richness in calcium and magnesium, which is good for milk production. As a result, a vast herd begins to form. They can now be found grazing on the short grasses.

As soon as the calving season begins, so does the big feast for the cats. Lions, leopards and cheetahs can gain weight quickly and store energy for the future. For now, life is easy as they enjoy easy pickings on the vulnerable wildebeest calf. For that reason, February is also one of the best months for action photography and to watch the powerful predators hunt.

A calf's first few days

Wildebeest females give birth to a single calf in the middle of the herd, without seeking a secluded place as many of their antelope relatives do. Amazingly, about 80% of the females calve within the same two to three week period, creating a glut for predators. There’s strength in numbers, enabling more calves to survive the crucial first few weeks.

A calf can stand and run within minutes of birth. It immediately begins to follow its mother and stays close to her to avoid getting lost or killed by waiting predators. Within days, it can run fast enough to keep up with the adult herd. A calf eats its first grass at about 10 days, although it still suckles for at least four months. Even after weaning, it will remain with the mother until the next year’s calf is born. At that time, the young males are driven away, but the females often remain in the same groups as their mothers.

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In February?

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya

Hans Cosmas Ngoteya is a conservationist from Tanzania, a National Geographic Explorer, and co-founder of numerous conservation organisations including Ngoteya Wild, Landscape and Conservation Mentors Organization and Tanzania Wildlife Media Association.

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In February?

Heather Richardson

Heather is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She writes for the BBC, Sunday Times, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Departures Magazine, among others.

Where Is The Wildebeest Migration In February?

Anthony Ham

Anthony has been travelling around Africa for more than a decade. He has returned many times, seeking out stories about the people and wildlife of west and north Africa.

In recent years he has broadened his horizons into more traditional wildlife haunts, exploring Kenya, Botswana and South Africa. You can see his work in Lonely Planet and Africa Geographic.

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