By Oli Dreike, Discovery Centre Manager.
The Serengeti became very dry during the first three months of 2015, with almost no rain falling in the new year, up until the start of April. This dryness was out of character for the season and resulted in the wildebeest moving north much earlier than is usual, and our watering hole becoming a magnet for much of the area’s wildlife, including huge herds of ‘confused’ and very thirsty wildebeest.
After some good rains, the Serengeti was looking stunning and very green. The wildebeest headed back down to the southern plains, yet there was still some spectacular game viewing close to the Lodge in April, with big herds of buffalo, elephant, plenty of lions, regular sightings of a leopard with small cubs, plus wild dog sightings.
But, with over 1 million hungry mouths feeding, the grass on the plains soon runs out, and as I write there are reports that the Migration is once again heading north, with huge numbers approaching Central Serengeti – it is expected that by early June the Lodge will once again be surrounded by the spectacular sight of hundreds of thousands of grazing wildebeest for as far as the eye can see.
Once the herds reach Central Serengeti, this is a perfect time of year for a hot air balloon flight, as the chances of seeing the Migration from the air increase. June and July are also the months when the wildebeest ‘rut’ takes place, making it a fascinating time to observe wildebeest (mating) behaviour, before the herds move through the Western Corridor and must run the gauntlet of crossing the Grumeti River, with its massive resident crocodiles.
As the rains become less frequent, and the Serengeti slowly changes from lush green to yellowy-brown, we not only expect to enjoy the Migration passing through, on its journey north to Kenya’s Masai Mara, but we also look forward to welcoming back our regular (and favourite) visitors – the elephants – who we expect to see more and more often, and in greater numbers, as the Serengeti slowly dries out .More posts from May 2015