Facts: Mara migration remains one of the world’s natural mysteries

Amazing facts about Mara Migration

The great Mara migration remains one of the world’s natural mysteries as people seek to explain how the more than two million animals accomplish the migrating cycle year-in year-out.

There have been various explanations as to why the wildebeests, zebras, gazelles and elands find it easy to find their way from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Mara and vice versa.

Here are some;


The dominant bulls that have been through this journey take the lead and command the pace of the whole herd. These are bulls that have covered the hundreds of miles a couple of times in their lives, and are believed to have earned the respect of the others.

It is estimated that the animals cover a vast 3,000km2 each year in the migration cycle.

The dominant bulls give a distinct calling sound through their noses, filling the plains of the Mara, as the animals that arrive early enough wait for others to catch up before they can cross the river.

Weather interpretation

Scientists believe that wildebeests can sense water from up to a 50 kilometer radius using thunder and lightning as their guiding light.

The animals are always determined to find a water source during their long journey, and often spend more time close to water sources.


The migrating animals always mate during their stay in Kenya’s Masaai Mara National Conservancy. It is believed that the mating period lasts very few days to ensure that the calves are born in the same period for greater protection.

The calves are often pushed to the middle of the herd whenever the animals are on the move.

Ten days after birth, calves are always strong enough to run in case of any dangers.

They always spend as much as four months close to their mothers before they are slowly left to fend for themselves as the older cows wait for the next mating season.

Feeding pattern

During the great Mara migration, the wildebeests, gazelles and elands move together with the zebras because they feed on different types of grass.

While the wildebeests, elands and gazelles feed on the softer lush grass, zebras majorly prefer the tougher grass. This way, the fields serve more animals at a go.

The great Mara migration is still under observance by researchers who seek to find out more about the animals and how they manage to accomplish the long journey year-in year-out.