Booking a wildebeest migration safari in Kenya and Tanzania promises an incredible opportunity to witness one of Africa’s most iconic natural spectacles. The term “wildebeest” originates from Africa and aptly translates to “wild beast,” reflecting the animal’s imposing appearance characterized by a large head, shaggy mane, pointed beard, and formidable, curved horns. However, these creatures are not the menacing predators of the African savannah; instead, they serve as a reliable food source for truly menacing predators like lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas.
Wildebeests belong to the antelope family and are uniquely captivating animals found in the southern, northern, and eastern regions of Africa. They are known for their gregarious nature, rapid population growth, and the formation of exceptionally large herds. While wildebeests are fascinating to observe during a regular safari, witnessing their annual trek across the Serengeti during the Great Migration is a spectacle beyond compare. To provide you with a comprehensive understanding of these remarkable animals, we’ve compiled a list of intriguing facts about wildebeests.
Blue wildebeests, though members of the antelope family, exhibit a robust build and disproportionately large forequarters, resembling bovines more than antelopes. They can reach lengths of up to 8 feet, stand about 4.5 feet tall at the shoulders, and weigh up to 600 pounds. Both males and females sport horns.
Wildebeests inhabit grassy plains and open woodlands across Central, Southern, and Eastern Africa, with particular concentrations in regions like the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya. These creatures are active day and night, continuously grazing while traveling in extensive herds.
Their spectacular northward migration in search of greener pastures is primarily influenced by weather patterns and typically takes place in May or June. This migration ranks among the most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles globally, involving up to 1.5 million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of other animals, including zebras and gazelles.
During February and March, the beginning of the rainy season, up to 500,000 wildebeest calves are born annually. These calves quickly learn to walk within minutes of birth and can keep up with the herd within days. Wildebeests can live for up to 20 years.