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Best time to see the Wildebeest Migration




Best time to see the Wildebeest Migration





Best time to see the Wildebeest Migration?

To answer this simple question, we need to first understand the cycle of the migration as animals move in search of water and fresh nutritious grasses.
Up to two million wildebeest and half a million zebra live on the Serengeti along with thousands of gazelles, impala and other antelope. This in turn attracts the predators which make this area a piece of dramatic open air theatre.
Every year some 1.4 million of these wildebeest and 200,000 of the zebra move northwards through the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and into the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. The wildlife spills out into buffer zones outside the official parks where wild animals co-exist alongside the local Masai and their livestock.
November
Why they do this and when depends on the rains. The cycle begins in the sweet grass plains in the southern part of the Serengeti….The short rains begin in November to mid-December, prompting the migration back south to the south-western part of the Serengeti to the short sweet grass plains. Long columns of wildebeest and zebra are trailed by opportunistic predators.
Mid December to March
From mid December to March, the short grass plains of the south around Ndutu and the Ngorongoro Crater area are alive with migrant herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles and the animals give birth during this period of abundance.
Long Rains – April to early June – Seronera
When the long rains begin in April, the plains are at their most beautiful, vivid with wildflowers and teeming game. This is an ideal time for photographic safaris as the quality of the light is magical. From April to June, the Serengeti is the theatre for one of the most impressive wildlife shows on earth. Hundreds of thousands of plains game begin moving north-westwards to the Seronera, then the Grumeti River. This spectacular moving feast is trailed by predators; lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena.
The Seronera area of the Serengeti comprises open plains dotted with attractive kopjes. There’s plenty of resident game with relaxed predators as well as the migrating herds coming through in April and May. Given the Seronera’s central position, you can stay here and still travel south and north to the Western Corridor. However this advantage means that the Seronera remains busy throughout most of the migration.
July – Western Corridor & Northern Serengeti
By July, as the rains dwindle, huge columns of wildebeest and zebra cross the crocodile-infested Grumeti River into the Masai Mara, where there is permanent water. The Grumeti River lies just to the north of what’s called the Western Corridor. This area also has plenty of permanent game including zebra wildebeest, the predators and forest species.
The Northern Serengeti lies between the Seronera and the Kenyan border. This gentle rolling game country includes the pretty Lobo kopje. Given its northern position, it is far less crowded than the southern grasslands and the Seronera.
July to August – The river crossing
Many people want to see the dramatic river crossings when the columns of wildebeest and zebra scramble their way across the Grumeti and Mara rivers to reach the richer grazing lands of the Masai Mara in southern Kenya. Like the three billy goats, they must cross the river to get to the better ground but the crocodiles lie in wait. The animals mill around for a while on the southern banks before suddenly one brave wildebeest takes the plunge into the river current and then thousands follow in a dramatic watery stampede. Some do not make it.
August to October/November – Northern Serengeti & Masai Mara
Once safely across the wildebeest, zebra and gazelles spread out across the Masai Mara plains as far as the eye can see. They come to give birth to their young and the grasslands echo with the sounds of the new-born. These are good times for the many, but not for all. Predators are naturally drawn into the Mara with lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena all on the hunt. High above on the hot winds the carrion birds, the vultures and eagles, soar.
Most of the year the best game-viewing in the Masai Mara is in the Greater Mara areas. This is because there is a balance of cattle and wildlife in these areas – the cattle keep the grass short and green which the plains game prefer, and the predators follow the plains game.
However between July and October, during the migration season, good game-viewing becomes possible throughout the whole Masai Mara area as the million of wildebeest and zebra “mow” the grass down, making it palatable even in the normally long grass areas.
November to December – The migration heads south
As the fresh green grasses of the Masai Mara are mown down by the game, and the dry season continues the wildebeest, zebra and gazelles start to return south over the rivers and back into Tanzania especially once the short rains begin again (which heralds lush green grass).
Sometimes you get short periods of rain before the real ‘sho











GRUNAU BABY II B-2




GRUNAU BABY II B-2





Precise numbers are not known but various craftsmen have probably built more Grunau Babies and Baby derivatives than any other sailplane. Thousands were constructed in Western Europe between 1931 and 1945. During World War II, factory records show that 4,104 rolled from workshops in Germany and the occupied countries. After the war, thousands more were built in Czechoslovakia, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, and Australia. The Grunau Baby also influenced the development of other sailplanes such as the Slingsby Kirby Kite, Slingsby Cambridge 1 and 2, and the Slingsby Type 21 two-seat trainer.

Edmund Schneider designed the Grunau Baby and built the first examples at his factory near the village of Grunau, in the Silesia region of eastern Germany. Today, this area is part of western Poland and Grunau is called Jesow. Schneider built the first Baby in 1931. It was a smaller version of the ESG 31 Stanavo, a sailplane designed during the same year for American pilot Jack O'Meara. Schneider used an innovative wing design patterned after the elliptical wings used on the high-performance sailplanes designed by the Academic Flying Group of the Darmstadt Technical University, the Akaflieg Darmstadt. Schneider's wing held a constant chord from the root to the aileron, and then the leading and trailing edges tapered to a rounded wingtip. To maintain control during a stall, Schneider designed the outboard wing and aileron with washout, or twist. On a wing with positive washout, the trailing edge of the wing curves up near the tips when viewed from the rear.

The German glider champion, Wolf Hirth, had nothing to do with designing the Grunau Baby. However, he lent his name to the Baby sales campaign and for some time, many thought he was the designer. This was easier to believe because the glider handled well in the air and exhibited good performance. The factory at Grunau began to hum steadily to fill a stream of new orders. The fatal crash of another Schneider sailplane at the 1932 German national soaring contest in Bavaria compelled Schneider to hire a professional aeronautical engineer, Emile Rolle who redesigned the Baby from nose to tail. This new version was called the Grunau Baby II. Among its many improvements, the Baby II had a longer wing, reshaped rear fuselage, and a shorter rudder. On April 3, 1933, Kurt Schmidt soared a Baby II all day, all night, and into the next day without landing. He had remained aloft for 36 hours and 36 minutes, a new world endurance record for motorless airplanes. The news electrified the world and for the next ten years, Grunau Baby II production continued without pause.

Schneider continued to refine the airplane and introduced the Baby II A and the definitive II B. The II A introduced a wing of slightly greater span to accommodate spoilers for glidepath control, ailerons with a narrower chord, and for the first time, a canopy and windscreen for the cockpit. When the Baby first appeared, it was accepted wisdom that the pilot should feel as much unimpeded airflow as possible, the better to sense rising and falling currents of air, temperature changes and the like. On the II B, Schneider changed the spoilers to the more powerful Schempp-Hirth, 'parallelogram' configuration and added a wheeled launch dolly that the pilot jettisoned immediately after takeoff. Other versions followed but more Grunau Baby II B gliders were built than all other variants combined.

The Baby II B was nearly a perfect club sailplane. It was relatively easy to build from plans, it flew well, and the aircraft was strong enough to handle mild aerobatics and the occasional hard landing. Novice pilots could attempt their first real soaring, flying high and far, using updrafts generated by slopes and mountain ridges, and spiraling columns of warm air called thermals. Many Grunau Baby II B pilots achieved the coveted Silver-C soaring badge introduced in 1930. This required a pilot to remain aloft at least five hours, gain a minimum of 1,000 m (3,280 ft) after takeoff, and cover a horizontal distance of 50 km (31 miles).

Fleets of Grunau Baby II B sailplanes served as primary flight trainers operated by the Deutsche Luftsport Verband (German Sport Flying Organization, the DLV) created in 1933. The DLV became the Nationalsozialistiche Fliegerkorps (NSFK) in 1937. The Nazi political machine operated both organizations to train military pilots without appearing to violate the post-World War I Versailles Treaty that outlawed such remilitarization. Many of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) pilots that flew during World War II first trained in Grunau Babies.

May 1, 1949, marks the date when the U. S. Air Force officially transferred the Grunau Baby IIb to the custody of the National Air Museum. Very little is known of the glider's operational history. According to the data plates secured to the bulkhead behind the pilot's seat, technicians built this glider in 1944 at the Petera Hohenelbe l/Rsgb. workshop factory. The ai









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