The Wildebeest migration has moved into the Masai Mara. The inbound migration from the Serengeti Park to Masai Mara takes place around June or July. The annual migration includes more than 1.5 million wildebeests, zebra, topis and Thompson’s gazelle The return migration follows around August or September each year but the exact timing depends on the rains.
“Every creature was designed to serve a purpose. Learn from animals for they are there to teach you the way of life. There is a wealth of knowledge that is openly accessible in nature. Our ancestors knew this and embraced the natural cures found in the bosoms of the earth. Their classroom was nature. They studied the lessons to be learned from animals. Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.”
~ Suzy Kassem,
This first image gives a sense of the serene landscape along the Mara river in the Masai Mara. This is one of the crossing points adjacent to Paradise plain. At this point the river makes a wide “S” bend and is a place favoured by hippos and crocodiles alike. The river breaks into gentle rapids just after the bend due to all the rocks in the river bed.
“Don’t think there are no crocodiles because the water is clam.” Malayan Proverb
On this particular morning the crossing started with one intrepid wildebeest while the rest of the herd stood on the bank above watching, probably to see where the crocodiles would emerge.
Not long after the first brave soul made its move, the herd moved down and started to amass at the water’s edge. The problem for the front animals is that pressure builds from the back pushing them into the water.
Once the crossing starts some of the animals panic and take massive jumps into the boiling mass.
The river bed at this point is uneven and deep in some places and relatively shallow in others enabling the terrified wildebeest to jump out of the water.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford
As the numbers of wildebeest swell there is no longer space on the rock shelf at the edge of the water and more and more animals start to cross from inside the bend which takes them on a course through the rapids.
It is clearly exhausting trying to swim against the current and find purchase on the rocks in the river bed. Wildebeest legs and hooves are certainly not built for swimming.
Again with the pressure and lack of access due to all the animals at the main crossing point, some wildebeest decide to cross the river down below the main crossing point. The water deeper in places and is flowing faster.
“These are the four that are never content: that have never been filled since the dew began- Jacala’s mouth, and the glut of the kite, and the hands of the ape, and the eyes of Man.”
~ Rudyard Kipling
One adult wildebeest was clearly exhausted. It could see the massive crocodile approach it from its left hand side but just stood there. Seeing what was about to happen, the wildebeest close by quickly moved away from the danger zone.
The Nile crocodile grabbed the wildebeest by the head. You can see how big the crocodile was from the size of the wildebeest’s head.
The wide eyes of the wildebeest show how terrified they were. Those who have crossed this river before know what lurks below the surface of the water.
The sheer mass of wildebeest together with the noise and dust make this an unforgettable spectacle. The sheer intent and wide-eyed terror that the crossing entails is spell-binding.
“The time has passed when humankind thought it could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity.”~ Francois Hollande
Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.
Have fun, Mike
What a wonderful opportunity you have had to witness this spectacle firsthand – thank you for sharing it so sensitively.