Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Migration update: Sporadic Rain over Ndutu

The wildebeest are now spread across a wide area in the south eastern Serengeti from the slopes of Ngorongoro Crater (east); to Loliondo (north) and past Ndutu (west). November and December are commonly referred to as the “short rains”. This is generally followed by a drier period (January/February) before the “long rains” start. This season has been variable with quite a lot of rain in November, but little rain in late December. This has meant that the herds have now moved away from their preferred grazing on the short grass plains of Ndutu. These plains have not yet received enough water to fully florish. Ndutu has short nutritional grasses and this is where the wildebeest prefer to calve. They will return to this area as a few days after decent rains as the grass will quickly shoot at the first sign of rain.

The wildebeest are about to start foaling with lots of heavily pregnant wildebeest. The number of wildebeest and zebra appears large this year, mostly due to the excellent conditions in 2008. The 2009 annual wildebeest migration has once again started the year in Ndutu and will remain here until the foals are born (January/February) and strong enough to start their trek westwards.

The best place to be based to see the migration is around Ndutu or Loliondo. Kusini Camp or one of the mobile tented camps are ideal at this time. Most of the roads in the area can be travelled as the drier conditions have meant that the roads are not swamped. The recent rain over the past few days and today may quickly change the road conditions though.

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