Why You Should Visit Our Migrations Expeditions Camp

Botswana’s zebra migration is a wildlife spectacle that occurs annually between December – March. This period is known as the green season and is infamous for its life-giving summer rains. Usually, the heavy rains fall over January and February each year, but they don’t last long and you can expect to find the landscape lush and beautifully green until about April.

 

The green season is not only a popular time for travellers to visit the lush green plains of Botswana, but zebra find the green season quite enticing too. This can be attributed to the great nourishment this season offers.

The zebra migration is the longest single migration of animals that has ever been recorded in Africa; they cover a revolution of 500km in total (311 miles). Every year, tons of travellers flock to Botswana to bear witness to this natural phenomenon.

We’ve compiled this blog, to give you some in-depth insight into the zebra migration, our Migrations Expeditions camp, and why you should travel to Botswana to experience it.

FACTS ABOUT THE ZEBRA MIGRATION

  • The zebra migration is essential for the ecosystem as it stops zebras from over-grazing any region and ensures food sources are optimally used.
  • Predators also benefit from this phenomenon as they follow the zebras and other herbivores, and prey on the weak and younger herd members as the journey unfolds.
  • This zebra migration is one of the longest African mammal migrations, spanning 250km one way and 250km the other way, making it a round trip of 500 km (311 miles).
  • The ecosystem and weather play an integral part in the migration’s direction and how the zebras move along their journey.
  • They usually start in the Caprivi strip/Chobe River Floodplains in the north-easternmost corner of Botswana.
  • Here, floodplains provide expansive water and food sources for extended periods- the grass isn’t as nutritious as Nxai Pan, but it’s consistent.
  • They journey to Nxai Pan, an extensive grass plain on the northern fringe of the Makgadikgadi basin in Botswana, for the sweet & nutritional grasses. These grassy plains are peppered with fossil beds and smaller pans.
  • It’s believed that the Migration pattern is hereditary as new generations know precisely where to go.
  • Often, Migration can be interrupted by modern veterinary control and buffalo fences, which have seen the zebras adapt and widen their migration field.

WHY YOU SHOULD EXPERIENCE THE ZEBRA MIGRATION

The Migration is characterized by three movements one way, from Chobe Enclave towards Nxai Pan National Park and three movements back to the Chobe Enclave.

We’ll highlight the three most important movements of the zebra migration below and where you’ll see all the action.

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THE FIRST MOVEMENT – NOV-DEC

Chobe Enclave > Linyanti Reserve > Savuti Marsh

The first rains govern this period as it dictates the timing of the zebras’ journey. They follow the sweet and abundant grass plains towards Nxai Pan National Park. The moist floodplains of the Chobe River in the northern region of the Chobe National Park are where the zebras start their journey. They are based here as it’s always moist in Chobe and therefore it provides consistent grasses that are low in nutrition but reliable. From the first indication of rain, zebras start their journey south during November/December.

In the Chobe areas, they pass through various cattle farming areas on the outskirts of the Chobe Enclave, including:

  • Kachikau Village &
  • Parakarungu Village

In this movement, they travel from floodplains to the desert. From the Linyanti Wetlands, through the Savannah Plains, Savuti Marsh, Seloko Plains, and Mababe Depression, which can be characterized by its dry, mopane woodlands. From here, they travel across a large stretch of the deep Kalahari Sandveld. Mopane woodland & Terminalia woodland – the grass here is not as nutritious as in the Nxai Pan. There are scattered water holes, but they are few and far between.

SECOND MOVEMENT- END DEC-JAN

Savuti Marsh > Mababe Depression

The herd journeys towards Savuti. This is the hardest part of the journey towards the desert. There is a permanent waterhole at the end of the Savuti River, including pod-bearing trees, predominantly acacias, which are attractive elements and very integral to the migrations. These trees can convert atmospheric nitrogen into solar nitrogen, helping other animal species subsidize their diet in the absence of food sources.The zebra then continues south and takes advantage of the natural waterholes and water points along the way.

THIRD MOVEMENT- END JAN- FEB

Mababe Depression > Nxai Pan > Makgadikgadi

Here, the zebra will be rewarded after their long and arduous journey with the taste of the sweet and nutritious grasses. They spend 2 months here and stay until March. Some drop their calves in the wet season. They have the incredible ability to hold off on birthing foals for four weeks, depending on the weather.

WHY VISIT OUR MIGRATION EXPEDITION CAMP IN BOTSWANA?

We have setup a special camp to help you see the longest single migration in Africa, among other experiences. The Migration Expedition camp is a world of wonder and makes the perfect, African safari experience.

In a life of deadlines and busy cities, the new source of luxury is having wide-open space, having your undivided attention on exploring and relaxing. At Migration Expeditions in Nxai Pan National Park, we offer just that – the unbelievable calm that comes from gazing at the horizon and having space to yourself.

Migration Expeditions’ eco-sensitive design facilitates a seamless flow between its pristine desert environment and our stylish bush camp. The main area has two canvas-covered hubs; one side housing a dining area with an open kitchen and opposite, a cosy lounge area. Solar-powered charging points are available for those all-important cameras. The fire circle is at the heart of our bush camp offering and is an extension of the shared lounge area. Its magnetic quality beckons, inviting guests to share an authentic, warm African safari experience with us.

We’ve listed a few more reasons you should visit our Migration Expeditions camp. Bear in mind that this camp is best experienced in the green season.

GREEN SEASON IS A PHOTOGRAPHER’S PARADISE

Botswana also becomes a photographer’s paradise in the green season. The rains wash away the brown winter landscape into a shimmering green, summer wonderland. You will be able to photograph the full-leafed acacia trees in all their splendor. The crusty salt pans transform into startling wetlands full of birdlife and migratory species. Another great aspect is the phenomenal lighting that can be found in the area. You really don’t have to do much to capture the perfect photograph on your Botswana safari.

THE ZEBRA MIGRATION INCLUDES BIRTHING SEASON

The zebra migration also brings with, the birthing season. The lush green plains provide the perfect nourishment and environment for these long-distance travellers to give birth to you their young. In fact, antelope such as impala and springbok use the greenery to give birth as well. With the floodplains sprouting fresh grass cover, the first ungulate calves begin dropping. The grass cover provides both, great nourishment and much-needed protection from predators, who seem to regard this period as an open invitation.

If you want a once-in-a-lifetime experience of nature unfolding right before you, there is no better time. All you need to do is watch from your game vehicle how the circle of life unfolds before you.

VIEW THE RENOWNED BAINS BAOBAB

Baines’ Baobabs are another fascinating attraction here. A cluster of baobabs that have been around for millennia was painted by artist and explorer, Thomas Baines on his trek with James Chapman in 1862 across Botswana in search of Victoria Falls. The baobabs were the subject of the iconic painting, which captured the lure and fascination of these unusual trees as well as the beauty and authenticity of this Botswana paradise.

WORRIED ABOUT TRAVELLING DURING COVID-19?

We have instituted all recommended Covid-19 regulations and protocols at our camps, as advised by the World Health Organisation. We are committed to boosting your confidence to explore as you experience an authentic African safari in one of the most enchanting countries in Africa.

If you still have concerns, check out our Coronavirus (COVID-19) frequently asked questions blog.