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Africa Geographic
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Africa Geographic Travel
Wildebeest and calf
© Will Burrard-Lucas

Written by Kelsea Lee

This time every year as the rains bring the Liuwa Plain in Zambia back to life, Africa’s second biggest wildebeest migration moves into the southern reaches of the national park to drop their calves. Our guides at King Lewanika Lodge have just reported seeing the first calves arriving, marking the start of the annual birthing season – a time spanning just a few weeks when the majority of the calves will be born.

Wildebeest group in Liuwa Plain, Zambia
© Will Burrard-Lucas

By synchronising the births over a short period, the wildebeest provide the best protection possible to their newborn calves. The predators can only hunt and eat so many times per day, so there is a greater chance for each individual calf to elude unwanted attention if they are merely one among thousands.

Wildebeest migration in Zambia
© Will Burrard-Lucas

If the births were spread out over a season, the supply wouldn’t be as saturated and the predation rate would be much higher.

Wildebeest and calves
© Will Burrard-Lucas

Within a few short weeks the herds swell with new life, and the next generation of knobbly-kneed wildebeest join the Liuwa Plain. It is a time of plenty for the cheetahs, hyaenas and lions – easy prey awaits at every turn and the circle of life continues.

Wildebeest calf running through water
© Will Burrard-Lucas

For several months, the herds will remain in the south, feeding on the mineral-rich grasses. Around June, they begin the next phase of their annual migration, heading back north for the winter season.

Aerial view of wildebeest migration in Zambia
© Andrew Macdonald

As if this natural wonder wasn’t incredible enough, this is also when the wildflower blooms sweep across the plains, bringing a mosaic of colour stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s a magical time of year on the Liuwa Plain.

Wildebeest with wild flowers
© Will Burrard-Lucas

Join Time + Tide and discover this stunning landscape for yourself!

Sunset with wildebeests
© Will Burrard-Lucas
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Time + Tide

Time + Tide is an award-winning, family owned and operated collection of camps with over 65 years of history. We focus on conserving unique land and marine areas, making a positive impact on our local communities and offering you safaris of a lifetime. ZAMBIA Norman Carr Safaris - South Luangwa and Liuwa Plain National Parks Chongwe Safaris - Lower Zambezi Valley MADAGASCAR Miavana - Nosy Ankao