Witness the Wildebeest Birthing Season at Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National Park, Tanzania
Nowhere is the fabled circle of life more extraordinary than when wildebeest give birth en masse in the southern reaches of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Every year between January and March, more than 400,000 of these big-game animals calve during a period of just a few weeks in a curtain-raiser to the annual great wildebeest migration, when around 1.5 million travel to the Maasai Mara in their perpetual search for food and water. The sight of thousands of wildebeest giving birth in the grassy plains is a breathtaking spectacle, but it can also be quite brutal.
There is some safety in numbers – the more young delivered at once, the greater their overall chance of survival – but predators are always lurking. Some newborns are delivered straight from the womb into the jaws of a waiting pack of hungry lions or hyenas, and those that aren’t have to find their feet quickly. Most are running with the herd within minutes and are able to outpace hyenas in just a few days. For the squeamish, this time of year signals the tail end of the birthing season when many of the predators are satiated and you can marvel at the creation of life, rather than wince as a wildlife slasher film plays out before your eyes.
Nine-day photography safaris with Daryl Balfour of Wild Photos Safaris during the wildebeest birthing season cost about US$5,600 per person, including accommodation, charter flights, guides, park entrance fees and most meals.