Things you should know about the wildebeest before you head down to Maasai Mara.

One ย of the greatest wildlife spectacles of the world is under way. This is the annual migration of the wildebeest from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Maasai Mara as they cross Mara river.

But what exactly do you know about this phenomenal animals called the wildebeest or gnus(pronounced as ‘news’) or Nyumbu in Swahili?

Here are quick facts about the wildebeest.

  • They are in the family of antelopes. (Shocked huh?)
Wildebeest

Wildebeest

  • They can live to up to twenty years.
  • Their mating period is seasonal and usually timed so that the young ones are born close to the beginning of the rainy season when pasture is in plenty.
  • During this period an average of half a million calves are born. ( Half a million!)
  • Their gestation period is about eight months.
  • When a calf is born it is able to stand and run within five to fifteen minutes of birth.
  • The young calf starts to eat grass at about 10 days but continues to suckle up to about 5 months.
  • Within a few days a young calf can run as fast as the adults in the herd.
  • Young males are driven away from the herd when the next calf is born while the females stay on.
  • They are grazers and can not do without water for more than a few days.
  • They have a migratory cycle each year in the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem covering up to around 2000km. This is dubbed as the great wildebeest migration.The great wildebeest migration.
  • A single herd of wildebeest can have up to about one million of them.
  • During the great migration about two million wildebeest cross the Mara river.
  • These animals are a reliable source of food to the predators of the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem.
  • Predators follow the wildebeest as they move. Their main target being the young and weak.
  • Other territorial predators like lions will only attack the wildebeest when they cross their territory.
  • Wildebeest are active both day and night!
  • They are also generally noisy.
Yo.. whatchu looking at?

Yo.. whatchu looking at?

What more do you know about wildebeest? Have you already gone to see the migration? Share with us your experience.

With Love,

Bonita!

PS:The photos used in this post belong to their respective owners.

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8 Discussion to this post

  1. David kariri wanjiru says:

    Nice piece of information.

  2. Baitairi says:

    Gnu is pronounced as “Ngunuu” in my native Meru. What a great deal of info ’bout gnus. Keep it up!

    • Bonita says:

      Thanks Kiburi! You crack me uo all the time with these Meru Vibes ???. I need to visit Meru and do a post. Do we have Ngunuu at Meru National park?

  3. Myra says:

    Entertaining informative read

  4. Eva says:

    Would never have pictured them as antelopes! This time i’ll have have it all figured to when I go see the migration

    • Bonita says:

      Hey Eva…I know. Never thought of them as antelopes too! All the best as you catch them migrating. You know the drill…tag us in the pics!

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