The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of the most popular and important wildlife conservation areas in Africa. It’s home to a huge variety of wildlife species, including the wildebeest.

Wildebeest, also known as gnus, are a type of antelope native to Africa. There are two species of wildebeest: the Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) and the Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou). The species most commonly associated with the great migration in the Maasai Mara and Serengeti is the Blue Wildebeest. This event is considered one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world, with over 1.5 million wildebeest, along with hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, making this journey in search of fresh pastures and water.

The migration typically starts in the Serengeti in Tanzania around July, moving northwards into the Maasai Mara around July/August, where they stay until around October/November before making their way back to the Serengeti. The exact timing can vary each year based on the rainfall patterns.

This migration is fraught with peril for the wildebeest, as they must cross crocodile-infested rivers and face predators such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs on the plains. Despite these dangers, the wildebeest migration continues year after year, a testament to the sheer force of nature and the survival instincts of these incredible animals.

While in Maasai Mara, the wildebeest graze extensively, which leads to changes in the landscape, impacting other animal and plant species as well. It’s a crucial element of the ecosystem, showing the interconnectedness of all forms of life in this area.