One of the most famous wildlife events in the world is the Serengeti-Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration. It traditionally happens every year sometime in June-July.
While the migration pattern itself is fairly predictable, the actual timing of this phenomenon is becoming less so. Last year it started in early June and this year it was late May, earlier than ever.
The Migration is a weather-dependent occurrence and I think we can mostly agree world weather patterns are currently changing. As the rains arrive earlier the migration in turn starts earlier and becomes even less predictable than usual.
Africa is a region I’m really passionate about and, truth be told, it’s the region I get the most excited about sending my clients to. It has the wonderful diversity of dramatic landscapes, unique wildlife and a fascinating ix of different cultures. The one thing constantly requested though is to ravel at the time of Migration.
This is a really difficult experience to plan. I could toot my own horn and list some things I think I’m quite good at but predicting African weather patterns is not one of them. Unfortunately, I can’t offer my clients any guarantees they will see migration; indeed, I try to tell them it’s more than likely they will not. Why? Because it’s my arse on the line if they expect something they don’t get and they complain.
But here’s where I think I’m going to say something prospective clients of mine may find controversial: personally, I’m not sure I would bother. Sure, it’s an incredible sight to behold but or the average Joe, who has to take leave from work and fork out thousands upon thousands of dollars to get to Africa, I don’t think it’s particularly reasonable to expect or to plan to see migration.
For many people, Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They come for the safari experience; particularly to see the Big Five. The Serengeti and Masai Mara are two of the best places to see this and at any time of the year the chances are much higher than many other places. The joys of heading out on Safari cannot be fully described and, while the animals are obviously the main focus, the experience is heightened by a good tracker and guide. It is a remarkable opportunity to increase one’s knowledge of the world we live in and, in my opinion, this should really be the focus of any Safari.
I know I’ve said this before about other destinations but if you have the time and the resources, just go when you can. No matter what time of year you arrive, you won’t regret it.