WILDEBEEST CALVING SAFARI
Witness the Explosive Drama
The number of wildlife before you – uncountable. Thousands of wildebeests birthing in endless masses, too numerous to comprehend. It’s an emotional scene with the beginnings of almost infinite new life… and then, becoming even more dramatic with the appearance of predators, like lion and cheetah, drawn to this spectacle of vulnerable newborns.
Between January and March, this is the timeless phenomenon that plays out on the southern plains of the Serengeti, when two million wildebeests herd in from the Masai Mara, attracted to the fresh green fields, replenished by recent rains. They’ll need the nourishment found here as it is calving season when hundreds of thousands of wildebeests will be born.
Over these few short months, close to half a million newborn calves will drop onto the grasses of the fertile Serengeti, as many as 8,000 a day. And they are not alone; other grazers too, give birth during this special time – thousands of zebras, Thompson’s gazelle, and eland, instinctively using the numerical safety of the wildebeests to help protect their own.
The newly born wildebeests quickly adapt to this sudden world, scrambling to their feet within minutes and able to run with the herd in just a few days. They will need these skills to help evade the many predators that are attracted to these newborn fields.
Grazers And Predators
In the amazing parallels of nature, the predators of the Serengeti have instinctively come to give birth at this same time of year, when the chances of finding plentiful meat for their hungry young is greatest.
But despite the incredible numbers of newborn wildebeest calves populating the vast fields, a kill can still be a challenge for the cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, and African wild dogs stalking nearby.
The wildebeest mothers know these fields, returning here year after year. They give birth in the shorter grasses, where the appearance of predators are more noticeable. And when a cheetah or hyena approaches, groups of mothers join together, creating a barrier around the vulnerable newborns to help them survive.
This season of mass calving is another way nature helps to insure the survival of the majority of the newborn wildebeests. The predators get more than their fill of fresh meat and thus satiated, leave the majority of the vulnerable calves alone.
How Nature Supports Its Own
Besides this interdependent relationship between predator and grazer, there is also an unexpected support system among the grazers as well. The many zebra and gazelle here in these birthing fields eat the longer grasses which are difficult for the young wildebeest calves to consume. With the longer grasses removed, the shorter remaining shoots are ready for the newborns to eat.
Even the geological forces of nature have played a role in the birthing cycles of these millions of wildlife. Going back thousands of years, the Ngorongoro area was an active volcanic site. Ash spilled out over these plains, enriching the soil and creating grasses rich in calcium and magnesium. The pregnant wildebeest mothers are attracted to these sustaining grasses, needed to nourish their unborn calves.
Thus, the very earth and soil of the past millennia, are instrumental in this vast spectacle of birth and death, played out before you.
Why Safari To The Calving Fields?
As you can see, there is plenty of drama when hundreds of thousands of wild baby animals are born. It’s an incredible sight you won’t witness elsewhere.
In addition to uncountable wildebeest calves, these fields produce thousands of baby zebra, gazelle, and eland. And, the explosive greenery of the plains brings about the birthing season of so many other species – baby baboons, warthog piglets, baby elephants, and giraffes add to the nursery-like feel of these plains.
Additionally, during this time, the big cats are giving birth to their small cats – lion, leopard, and cheetah cubs can be seen throughout the Serengeti in this unforgettable menagerie.
And finally, the Great Migration from July through October is the time of big headlines and lots of tourists. But not so, the calving season. You’ll have the park to yourself… that is, you and the infinite wildlife and their young filling the Serengeti.
The Maasai Community – in addition to the incredible calving fields, you can enjoy a cultural moment at a local Maasai village. Meet these indigenous people and learn about their customs and ceremonies.
Hot Air Balloon Safari – in the central Serengeti, take an optional safari, sailing above the park where you’ll witness this amazing scene from above.
Survey: Wildebeest Calving Safari
You’ve heard of the Great Migration, but this is where it all begins, on the immense birthing fields of the Serengeti.
Northern Tanzania in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, on the edge of the southern Serengeti plains.
This is the Wildebeest Calving Safari
Come witness the largest and perhaps last concentration of wild animals on the planet. 1.7 million wildebeests. 400,000 Thompson’s gazelle. 300,000 zebra. And, their innumerable animal babies. It’s one of the world’s most magnificent, moving… and beautiful spectacles.
Join us for the Wildebeest Calving Safari
Africa Kenya Safaris offers journeys to the Serengeti and other attractions in the region. Just contact us to get your safari started.
Here are some of our tours bringing you to the Serengeti:
Our Combined Kenya & Tanzania Safaris
4 parks: Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara
5 parks: Masai Mara, Lake Victoria/Serengeti/Ngorongoro, & Tarangire
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