11 April 2005
Sporadic rain over most of the southern part of the Serengeti ecosystem during February and March meant that the herds were constantly on the move in search of adequate water and grazing.
In February, the area dried out extensively, and the main groups moved northwards and westwards, and soon many were to be found around Moru, while many more had moved deep into Maswa Game Reserve. Large numbers even went as far as the Musabi Plain in the Western Corridor. For much of the month, migration viewing for those based in the southern plains, entailed long drives. As soon as rain fell at the end of February, large aggregations immediately moved to the north west of the woodland around Ndutu, where many cows dropped their calves.
Happily, mid March saw decent rain again in many parts, and the resulting growth of new grass acted as a magnet, and there were excellent viewing opportunities for significant numbers of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, especially on the western part of the short grass plains. More widespread rain in early April should ensure that the migration will remain widely distributed across the short grass plains for some weeks, but it remains to be seen whether the exceptionally dry conditions prevailing at a critical time for heavily pregnant / lactating cow wildebeest and their newborn calves will have an impact on the ability of those calves to endure the coming dry season and the long treks they will have to make to the pastures in the north.