Migration of the Wildebeest

Almost.  It was July and the start of the migration.  Perfect timing.  After all, our trip to Africa started with the idea of this “much documented” migration.  Well, no “Great Wildebeest Migration” for us BUT it was still a haven for viewing a multitude of all sorts of animals in a 5-mile radius.  And just to witness and be in an African savannah is enough to thrill us no end.

gathering

zebras and wildebeests

They were getting ready for the migration, we were told.  Zebras were queuing as if for immigration (to pass the border hee hee!)   😀

queuing-zebras

zebras in a line

and hundreds of wildebeest grazing and waiting perhaps for their turn to queue?   😀  Sometime between July and October, the famous Masai Mara National Reserve reverberates to the thumps of millions of hoofs as the Great Wildebeest Migration billows. Even if we missed this, we were thrilled nonetheless to just have a “NatGeo” moment.

wildebeests

wildebeests (waiting for their turn?)

Everything about Kenya’s finest wildlife reserve is outstanding.  The wildlife is abundant in Masai Mara and the rolling grassland makes certain that animals are always within field of vision.  After grazing in Tanzania’s northern Serengeti, as if in one accord, a large number of wildebeest and zebra enter the Masai Mara around the end of June drawn by the sweet grass brought about by the long rains of April and May.

buffalos

buffalos

steenbok

steenboks

The rolling grasslands, the diversity of the inhabitants, the acacia trees fulfilled my expectation of the African landscape depicted in Out of Africa.

sunset

savannah

It is where the word “safari” is in its truest sense. We even witnessed a cheetah take down a wildebeest.  A highlight it definitely was for the day.

cheetahs

cheetahs (before the attack!)

A sad note though… scientists at the Nairobi based International Livestock Research Institute (ILPI) have found that the numbers of giraffes, hartebeests, impalas, warthogs, topis and waterbucks noticeably and persistently fell throughout the reserve between 1989 & 2003.  They blame it on the increasing human settlement around the unfenced park.

hartebeests-2

hartebeests

running-gazelles

gazelles in action

Seeing the Big 9 was an experience unparalleled.  And what are they, you may ask?  The Big 5s are the Buffalos, Elephants, Leopards, Lions and Rhinoceroses and the Big 9 extends to the Cheetahs, Zebras, Giraffes, and Hippos.  Yes my friends, we saw them all and save for the Leopard that didn’t get photographed because it was just too fast and nimble.

elephant

elephant

lion

mama lion

zebrazebras

A trip to Africa is obviously not complete without experiencing a safari and is almost always the highlight of one’s trip.  It was for us and we went to not 1 but 4 great safaris in Kenya and Tanzania.  Awesome!  Stay tuned for more safari tales (hopefully soon!)   😉

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