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River Crossings vs Calving Season of the Great Migration in Tanzania

The Great Migration's Dual Drama: River Crossings vs. Calving Season.

Explore the fascinating dynamics of The River Crossings vs Calving Season of the Great Migration in Tanzania. Understand the unique challenges and breathtaking spectacles as nature unfolds its wonders in this African paradise. Embarking on the exploration of Tanzania’s Great Migration, one encounters a harmonious dance between The River Crossings and the Calving Season. In this article, we delve into the intricate details of these phenomena, uncovering the mysteries and marvels that define this awe-inspiring spectacle.

Tanzania, with its vast savannas and diverse wildlife, hosts one of the most remarkable natural phenomena: The Great Migration. This awe-inspiring spectacle involves millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores as they traverse the Serengeti ecosystem in search of food, water, and safety. Two pivotal events within this migration cycle stand out: the river crossings and the calving season.

The Calving Season: A Time of New Beginnings

When: January to March: During the calving season, the Serengeti plains come alive with the arrival of thousands of newborn gnu. The pregnant females seek out safe and secluded spots to give birth. The sight of these wobbly-legged calves taking their first steps is heartwarming. The abundance of fresh grass during this period ensures that the young ones have nourishment.

Key Highlights:

Expanding Herd: The calving season significantly increases the size of the wildebeest herd.
Predator Activity: However, it’s also a time of vulnerability. Predators such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs closely monitor the herds, waiting for an opportunity to prey on the weak and inexperienced.
Circle of Life: The calving season exemplifies the delicate balance between life and death in the wild.

The River Crossings: A Perilous Journey

When: June to October: The river crossings are perhaps the most dramatic episodes of the Great Migration. As the herds move northward, they encounter formidable obstacles—the Mara and Grumeti Rivers. These water bodies are infested with crocodiles and strong currents. Yet, the wildebeest and zebras must cross to reach the lush grazing lands on the other side.

Key Highlights

Courage and Chaos: Thousands of animals gather at the riverbanks, their instincts urging them forward. The air is thick with tension as they plunge into the water, battling the currents and evading crocodile jaws.
Dramatic Scenes: Some make it across successfully, while others struggle or fall victim to predators. The riverbanks witness scenes of triumph and tragedy.
Bucket List Experience: Witnessing a river crossing is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The sheer force of nature unfolds before your eyes.


River Crossings: The Mara River crossing is the most iconic, with others in the Grumeti River. Calving Season: Southern Serengeti plains, particularly around Ndutu.


River Crossings: More popular due to the dramatic visuals and adrenaline-pumping action. Calving Season: Less crowded, offering a more intimate experience.

Wildlife Galore:

River Crossings: Witness the mass movement of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, along with crocodiles lurking in the waters. Calving Season: Observe newborn calves taking their first steps, mothers exhibiting fierce protectiveness, and predators like lions seizing opportunities.

Landscapes and Nature Patterns:

River Crossings: Dusty plains contrasting with the raging Mara River, showcasing the migration’s dependence on water sources. Calving Season:lush green plains dotted with acacia trees, providing shelter and food for the vulnerable calves.

Accommodation Options:

Both: Diverse options exist, from luxurious lodges to mobile camps, catering to different budgets and preferences. Choose based on your desired proximity to the action and preferred amenities.

Location and How to Reach:

Both: The Serengeti National Park, accessible through flights to Arusha or Kilimanjaro International Airport, followed by internal flights or road transfers. Consider: Different camps offer varying access points within the park, impacting your proximity to specific events. Calving season is around January-February, whereas river crossings usually begin around July. Learn more here about each month the Great Migration spends in Tanzania.

Safari Packing List:

Similar for both: Neutral-colored clothing, sun protection, hat, comfortable walking shoes, binoculars, camera with zoom lens, and essential toiletries. Calving Season: Pack warmer clothing for cooler evenings.

Conclusion: Nature’s Equilibrium

The Great Migration demonstrates that nature is both beautiful and brutal. The calving season brings forth new life, while the river crossings test survival skills. As travelers, we are privileged to witness these extraordinary moments—moments that remind us of the delicate equilibrium that sustains our planet.

So, whether you’re an intrepid adventurer or a wildlife enthusiast, make sure to include the Great Migration in Tanzania on your bucket list. It’s a journey through life, death, and the unyielding spirit of the wild.

What makes The Mara River crossings significant in the Great Migration?

The Mara River crossings are a known moment, where gnu face the formidable challenge of moving treacherous waters, identify their resilience and unity.

How does the Calving Season impact the Great Migration?

The Calving Season brings forth new life, introducing a delicate balance between vulnerability and strength, highlighting the predator-prey dynamics in the wild.

Are the River Crossings and Calving Season interconnected?

Yes, these phenomena are intricately linked, with The River Crossings preparing the wildebeest for the challenges of the Calving Season, creating a symbiotic relationship in nature’s grand design.

What role do predators play during the Calving Season?

Predators lurk in the shadows during the Calving Season, capitalizing on the danger of the young wildebeest, contributing to the delicate balance of nature.

How do wildebeests showcase unity during The River Crossings?

The River Crossings become a symphony of movement, highlighting unparalleled unity among the wildebeest, turning each crossing into a visual masterpiece river crossings vs calving season.

Why is the Great Migration considered a timeless spectacle?

The traditions and instincts embedded in the wildebeest’s migration create a timeless spectacle, transcending generations and showcasing the perpetual cycle of life in Tanzania.

The calving season greatly expands the herd, only to see its numbers culled during the river crossings. These two momentous events make the Great Migration in Tanzania one of the most awe-inspiring and unique spectacles on earth, and definitely deserving to be part of your bucket list.

What is calving season in Tanzania?

Generally starting in January, the pregnant wildebeest give birth and by February some 8 000 baby wildebeest are being born every day. The calving season carries on into March and is joined by other animals too.

What is the best time to see the Great Migration in Tanzania?

The best months to see the Great Migration in Tanzania are from November through to September, where different aspects of the migration can be enjoyed depending on when you go on safari. Calving season is around January-February, whereas river crossings usually begin around July. Also the wet season happens in the months of October through April and May, with rains falling though not the whole day and every day that you may not be able to take part in any activity at all. The best time to see the Great migration in Tanzania is during the dry season between July and early October.

What river crossing is the Great Migration in Tanzania?
There are two major river crossings along the path of the Great Migration. They are the Grumeti River crossing in Tanzania and the Mara River crossing in Kenya. The Grumeti River is the first water obstacle that these bumbling herds will encounter on this journey.

How long does the Mara river crossing last?
This crossing usually occurs at Mara River around late July to August with parts of September and again on their return south, around the last two weeks of October through early November. Hence, the best times to track and see the annual wildebeest migration in Masai Mara.

What month is the Serengeti migration?
Where is the best place to see the Great Migration? The Great Migration in Africa: Where, When & Why You Should See It. The abundance of young prey also means you might have a greater chance of experiencing Lion, Leopard, and other predator attacks during your visit. Serengeti National Park (Tanzania): This is definitely one of the best places to witness the Great Migration, as large herds of Wildebeest and Zebra begin to congregate.

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