Cheetahs thriving in Mashatu

Mashatu Game Reserve is in south east Botswana adjacent to the Tuli circle. Today, Tuli is a village in Zimbabwe which forms the centre of a circle described by a 10-mile radius. The Tuli village was the base for early poineers into the then Rhodesia. The circumference of circle was described by the radius of the canon’s firing range which was positioned in the camp at the Tuli village. The southern half of the Tuli circle stretches south of the Shashe River into Botswana.

There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Despite being a dry area for most of the year, this is an area of prolific wildlife and birdlife. We are fortunate enough to be involved in a private syndicate operating in Mashatu. One of the special features of Mashatu is its leopards but the cheetahs are also thriving in this private game reserve.

On our first afternoon game drive we found one of the female cheetahs with four sub-adult cubs. It was dusk, it was dry and dusty. The cubs were clearly tired.

The cheetah mother was ever alert. This is the the inbetween time when the day time hunters are looking for a place to sleep safely and the nocturnal hunters are just starting to get moving.

Stop for a moment and think how stressful it must be as a cheetah mother trying to constantly stay alert and keep your little ones alive. Surprises are dangerous and can be deadly in the bush. I am always so impressed with their independence and self-reliance.

“The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.” ~ Nancy Newhall

The next day, mid-morning and we found this lone cheetah male who had just killed an impala ram. It was hot and the kill was out in the blazing sun. This male was panting heavily. As all cheetahs do, they rest for a short while to catch their breath and then tuck in to their kill because of the high probability of it being stolen.

This male cheetah has started to feed and opened up the soft underbelly but he was clearly very hot and did not look under nourished so he just stood assessing what the odds were and tryed to decide what to do next.

Eventually he decided to retreat into the shade of a Shepherd tree. It was too hot and he was too tired to drag the kill into the shade. I always marvel at bush cats’ ability to lie on rough stoney ground in apparent comfort.

“The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.” ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

Wild animals do not seem to have regrets or harbour their thoughts on what might have been. They take stock of the area and start looking for the next opportunity.

The four sub-adults were in prime condition, testament to an excellent mother. It would not be too long before they would be abandoned by their mother, as her teaching would be done. True empowerment with consequences!

But for now the shade and the company would do just fine while they regrouped and waited for the next opportunity to present itself.

These sub-adults looked relaxed but they were still alert and as soon as a distinct sound was heard they all turned around to locate it.

I watch wild mothers and see how they protect their young as best they can and even more importantly they empower their young and teach them the way of the world to ensure they can survive on their own.

“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

“We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

Wings around Mashatu

We visited Mashatu in mid-September 2019 with family and long standing friends, Simon and Cora Ford and their daughter Kate and fiancee Jack. Simon and I grew up as children in Zimbabwe and both developed our love of the bush from our early childhood. Our friends have a deep love of the bush and it was a privilege to show them around Mashatu.

“More than any other creature, beyond insects, birds offer a kaleidoscope of colours, shapes, and behaviours and they are exquisitely designed for their environment.” ~ Mike Haworth

In mid-September, it is early spring in southern Africa so the migrants have not yet arrived and the residents are preparing for the time of plenty.

This tawny eagle was perched on top of a large bush just above a kudu bull which looked to have died from natural causes. The reason the tawny was in the tree and not on the ground was that a leopard was surveying the carcass.

Not far way, the lions had taken down a female Eland. There was not much left after the lions had had their fill followed by the hyaenas and then the jackals. Needless to say, the real waste disposal team were on the scene, an assortment of vultures and Marabou storks were also congregating. Marabou do not have ability to tear off flesh from the carcass so rely on pieces removed by the vultures. Marabou are not shy to use that strong dagger like beak to steal a morsel or two.

Another diurnal resident is the ubiquitous Kori Bustard. This is one of Mashatu’s big seven. It is the largest flying bird in this part of the world. It is very seldom you will find an image of a Kori bustard walking towards you, they are very wary of vehicles and like all wildlife have a distinct safe distance which they like to keep from something they are unsure about.

After driving around the Majale river environs looking for lions, cheetah and leopard we traditionally find a prominent spot to get off the vehicle and have a “sundowner” and watch the sun setting. This is normally a time of animated chatter about what we had seen in the past hour or two. This means it is dark by the time we head back to camp. There is a spot light on the vehicle which we use after dark. It has a red filter to reduce the effect on the wildlife. On the way back we saw this Spotted Eagle owl.

The Spotted Eagle owl was quite a sighting at night. Even with our vehicle turned off and everyone silent on the vehicle this owl would turn its head back and forth picking up sounds in the night air which we could not hear.

Another excellent night time sighting was this Three-banded courser. The Three banded and Bronze-winged coursers are mainly nocturnal and tend to freeze when approached. Their eyes are large and wide open, ideal for nocturnal activity. I have also frequently seen the diurnal Temmnick’s courser in Mashatu.

A Red-eyed dove. This is a common visitor around camp in Mashatu, it is bigger than both the African morning dove and the Cape turtle dove but they all have the distinctive black collar on the back of their neck. This dove likes the riverine forest habitat around our syndicate, Rock Camp, in Mashatu. I find the best way to try to remember their calls is to verbalise. For a red-eyed dove it is ” as if to say – I am”.

A pair of Tropical boubous visited camp every day. They were usually seen burrowing around in the leaf litter under the large Mashatu tree just next to the main lodge. These boubous have an astounding medley of call. The Tropical boubou is a bush shrike and it pairs for life. They can often be heard duetting. To vocalize, they move higher off the ground than during their usual activities, and may perch on an exposed site. They also nod their head and bow their body when calling, making them even more conspicuous sometimes. As many as seven different types of duet have been recorded and seem to form some sort of morse code like language.

“Hear how the birds, on every blooming spray, With joyous music wake the dawning day.” ~  Alexander Pope


A Jameson’s firefinch distinctive because of its red belly, neck and face and black-grey bill. The crown, nape and back are a washed pink. They normally come to drink from the bird bath in ones or twos.

These are Green wood-hoopoes. They travel in family groups of up to ten individuals. They scour the bark on the trees for insects and grubs. They make a racket like babblers and are colloquially called “cackling widows” because of their noise and dark plumage. It was interesting to see them in what looked to be sucking up water with their long red bills.

In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence. ” ~Robert Lynd

This was a young Kurricane thrush which was just starting to develop its malar markings on its throat and cheeks. This was also an afternoon visitor around camp. It also scoured and tipped through the undergrowth looking for insects and grubs. Although a common resident in southern African I have not regularly seen them.

These white helmeted shrikes were wild but are quite habituated to all the comings and goings in the camp so do not fly off at the first sight of people.

White helmeted shrikes normally travel in family groups of around six birds. They chatter constantly but are not as noisy as babblers. They are alway a welcome sight around camp and visit daily for a drink and dip in the bird bath at the camp.

These were the birds that we saw on out travels around the Mashatu game reserve and we did not specifically stop for the birds. The rest were seen around camp in the middle of the day. There is abundant birdlife in Mashatu at all times and it becomes overflowing in summer when all the migrants from lesser spotted eagles to all the cuckoos and woodland kingfishers and carmine bee-eaters arrive to feast on the abundant insect life.

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.” ~Robert Wilson Lynd

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

Feline surprise

It was around 7h00 on a fresh spring morning in Mashatu Game Reserve in south east Botswana. We were travelling in our open game vehicle along the dry bed in the Majale river. This is usually a wonderful place to see wildlife crossing the riverbed on its way to its feeding places. The diurnal wildlife is going to its feeding grounds, and the nocturnal wildlife is looking for a place to sleep. The cathemeral wildlife, which is active both in the day and at night, are wandering around looking for opportunities.

A few hundred metres in front of us we saw a young leopard crossing the riverbed.

“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” ~ Heraclitus

The young leopard climbed up the far bank and disappeared into the crotons. Undeterred, we found a route for our vehicle up the steep river bank and started to look for the young leopard which we expected to be mobile and hunting. To our surprise we saw her up a dead tree looking down at the ground in front of her.

What she, and we, did not realise is that there were two fully grown lionesses lying in the shade of a bush close to the dead tree. This leopard must have climbed the river bank and walked straight into the two sleeping lionesses. Instinctively, this leopardess climbed the tree out of danger from the two lionesses.

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask, act. Action will delineate and define you.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

This young leopardess settled down for what looked likely to be a long wait. She kept her eyes on the lionesses all the times.

Every now and then this leopardess looked up, very alert because she was assessing whether the lionesses were sufficiently fast asleep for her to descend the tree and make her escape.

Alert, wary and patient.

The lionesses seemed to not have seen her and rested peacefully never looking up at her, high up in the tree about 30 metres away. The leopardess was caught up a dead tree with no protection from the rising sun which was getting hotter by the hour.

Eventually we decided to leave the stand-off and go and look for a little more action. About two hours later we decided to go back and see how the stand off was developing. It was now really hot, the young leopardess was no where to be seen. The lionesses were lying peacefully in the shade. The stand off seemed to have ended happily for all concerned.

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.” ~ Dale Carnegie

The young leopard obviously got a big fright walking straight into sleeping lions. Her instinctive reaction was to climb the nearest tree to get out of harm s way. The intensifying heat from the rising sun must have forced her to take a calculated risk and come down the tree and escape to a cooler or shady secure place.

But life inevitably throws us curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected. I’ve come to understand these curve balls are the beautiful unfolding of both karma and current.” ~ Carre Otis

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

Thwarted kill

It was just before seven in the morning in Mashatu Game Reserve in south eastern Botswana. We were on our game vehicle looking for a cheetah family, comprising a mother and her four almost adult cubs. We were looking in the area they had been last been seen the night before.

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” ~ John Muir

Cheetahs do not usually move at night which is when the lions, leopards and hyaenas are all active. We therefore knew that were in the area. After searching for a while (in the right area) we found the cheetah family on the move.

There were three sub-adult males and a female with their mother. They were walking through the bush with intent. We followed from a distance so as not to interfere with their search for food. When cheetahs sweep the bush like this anything can happen.

“Let go of all your thoughts and concerns. Immerse yourself in the moment. Look and listen, and nature will slowly reveal herself to you. It takes time and respect for you to tune in. Only then will you begin to truly see.” ~ Mike Haworth

It did! An adult male Steenbok broke its cover and bolted.

It was a astounding how quickly that Steenbok dashed up and over the rise on the stony terrain.

In an instant, one of the young cheetah males took up chase. It was impossible to get both quarry and predator in the same image because there was such as large gap between the two when they came past us. The cheetah’s acceleration was breathtaking and it was quickly in the chase.

We lost sight of the two as the eternal dash of life and death played out. We could only see where the two had run to from a game vehicle which had stopped on the main Mashatu road. That vehicle must have had a prime sighting of the cheetah actually catching the Steenbok.

Unfortunately through ignorance or otherwise, one of the guests stood up on the game vehicle, which must have been quite close to the cheetah with its kill. In the midst of strangling its prey, the young cheetah got a fright when the person stood up (in the game vehicle), scaring the young cheetah and it ran away leaving its half dead Steenbok catch.

As it happened, an adult Black-backed jackal was close by and witnessed the take down. It saw the young cheetah leave the half strangled Steenbok unattended. Needless to say after watching to see that the cheetah did not return, the jackal seized the half dead victim. The jackal bit into the back of the Steenbok’s neck in an attempt to finish off the strangulation. It worked.

Once the Steenbok had stopped breathing, the jackal tried to pull the dead antelope away from the glaring view of the spectators.

The Black-backed jackal clearly could not believe his luck.

This jackal kept on looking around to check that no other predator had seen what was going down. Every now and then he looked to check that the Steenbok was actually dead.

“If you chase perfection, you often catch excellence. ” ~ William Fowble

The jackal eventually managed to cut into the Steenbok’s hide and began to feed. Strangely the jackal did not gorge itself. Perhaps the final killing and dragging was too strenuous a task, and after feeding briefly the jackal backed off about twenty metres from the kill to rest. After a while we left the jackal and its kill and went looking for the cheetahs again

The cheetahs having lost their prey slowly made their way back to each other and regrouped.

The cheetah involved in the chase was still breathing deeply.

“Stop chasing what your mind wants and you’ll get what your soul needs.” ~ Anonymous

The most amazing aspect of the whole sighting was that the chase must have lasted just a few seconds and took place over probably 400 metres. It also took place over very uneven stony ground with gullies and thorn bushes everywhere.

The one, among many, impressive aspects about wildlife is that there is no apparent animosity over the loss of the kill. Acceptance is swift and the predator moves on. Within twenty or so minutes the family had reunited and stopped to rest in the shade of a shepherd’s bush, alert for the next opportunity.

The thrill of the chase is beyond description. It is fresh and cool, early in the morning. There is the sound of birds everywhere. You are watching the cheetahs quietly making their way through the bush. Then, in an instant there is action. A chase is underway with the sound of hooves and pads on the stony ground and in a flash there is just wisps of dust swirling in the air.

“I would rather have an mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” ~ Gerry Spence

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

Leopard hour

We spent a wonderful six days in Mashatu in mid September. Mashatu is a game reserve in the south east of Botswana in the Tuli Block area.

“As one who has often felt this need, and who has found refreshment in wild places, I attest to the recreational value of wilderness.” ~ George Aiken

Mid-September was the start of spring in this part of the world. The evenings were cool but the days hot. It was very dry and there were just a few small pools of water remaining in the Majale river, which is the main river coursing through Mashatu.

Our routine was to get up early and be ready for a cup of coffee and a rusk at 5h30 at the time the first light was starting to paint the eastern sky with pastel tones of blue, apricot and pink. The spurfowl were calling as were the turtle doves. Those of you who have had the opportunity to spend some quiet time listening and watching the bush wake up to a new day will know how serene and transcendent it can be.

“Cherish sunsets, wild creatures, and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth!” ~ Stewart Udall

It was about 6h00 and we were driving along the Majale river searching for anything interesting. From the back of the vehicle one of our guests, Jack, quietly told us to stop as there was a leopard in the tree above us just on our left. There, on the bough of Jackalberry tree,was a young female leopard keenly watching something on the top of the river bank above us.

She decided that what she had spotted was worth investigating. After a good stretch to loosen up, she effortlessly made her way down from her high arboreal lookout.

“The reason that I keep writing is that all my most powerful messages about the fates of wild places that I care about need to have words as well as images.” ~ Galen

This lithe leopardess lightly made her way down the tree onto its roots. This time there were no squirrels, vervets, baboons or spurfowl to give her position away.

Down the tree along a fallen log and onto the sand bank. She climbed up along a gully in the river bank and moved out of sight on top of the bank.

We drove around to get on top of the river bank and only then did we see what had caught her attention. A pair of steenbok. These are small but very alert and agile antelope. Once close enough, the young leopardess made a charge at the steenbok but they were too quick for her and both of them evaded her.

“Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the moments and places that take our breath away.” ~ Unknown

After her short but unsuccessful steenbok hunt she went back down to the Majale river where she scent marked against a gnarled tree trunk in the rich saturated early morning sunlight.

After marking her territory she crossed the dry river bed to the other bank where she climbed up and walked west along the crest of river bank. Her spotted and rosetted coat blended beautifully with the winter’s fallen leaves laying like a confetti of orange, browns and whites on the river bed and river bank.

Every now then she would stop when she heard something. Just assessing where it was and what it was.

After about half an hour of wandering along the edge of the Majale river she lay down to rest, but even then she perked up whenever she heard something. All of us were dead quiet on the vehicle but we could not hear what she heard. Her ears turned in different directions assessing which way the sound was coming from.

As she wandered through the trees and croton bushes along the river she walked through light and dark patches created by the deep shadows and early morning rays of sunlight.

I have never seen a leopard doing this before. She lay down next to some eland dug and proceeded to rub her head and neck in it. This was presumably to mask her scent

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” ~ Helen Keller

Needless to say the eland dug dirtied her face and neck though she seemed quite pleased with herself.

It was fascinating to watch this independent, confidence and alert predator on her early morning wandering.

Ever the opportunist, this leopardess saw a tree squirrel and made a dash for it. The squirrel darted into this small bush. No matter how much the leopard stretched up into the bush she could not flush out the squirrel. As soon as she was not looking, the squirrel jumped out of the bush and made a lighting dash for the nearly crotons and managed to get away – shaken but unscathed.

After missing her second target of the morning, she wandered on further away from the river looking for something she could catch.

Eventually, thankful for the privilege of spending about an hour with her, we left her in peace to find her meal.

Presumably, she would within a hour or so have gone back to the river to find a large well leafed tree to sleep in where she was cool and away from danger.

“It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed.” ~ Art Wolfe

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike

Mara wildebeest crossing

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

Wildebeest migration revisited

It is that time of the year again when one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth arrives in the Masai Mara, in Kenya. The exact timing and the number of migrating wildebeest depend on the quantity of rain and where it has fallen.

“The visual spectacle is indescribable. Every sense is swimming. Your eyes stretch over unimaginable numbers of animals. Dust is everywhere. It is hot. The wildebeest grunts and groans surround you. The tension in the air is palpable as the masses build on the far bank of the Mara river.”~ Mike Haworth

The website Herdtracker indicates that the herds have arrived at the border of the Serengeti and Masai Mara National Park. The herds are travelling north into the Mara Triangle and Mara north where they will feed for about two months before starting to trek south again from October travelling down to Ndutu in the south of Serengeti to calf the frequency of which peaks around February each year.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes deep and permanent, in the ideas of the mind.”~ Miriam Beard

I have included a series of images taken during two wildebeest crossings at the Mara river Figtree crossing a couple of years ago. Around August-September, the wildebeest usually arrive from the Serengeti travelling into the Masai Mara in Kenya and you can see tens of thousands of them coming across the plains and down the hill slopes towards the Mara river.

As the numbers of wildebeest grow they start pushing the front animals towards the edge of the river bank which in some areas is an earthen cliff with drops of five to six metre down to a very steep embankment.

This drop is especially difficult for the calves being so much smaller than the adults. Amazingly, we never saw one animal break a leg coming down such a treacherous drop.

Once down, there is a strong compulsion to follow the others and the wildebeest launch themselves off the steep bank into the deep and fast flowing Mara river.

There is no particular leader in these group crossings, whoever plucks up the courage goes first, be it a calf or an adult bull.

Many of the wildebeest have crossed this river many times and know what danger lurks below the surface. The experienced ones have a really good look to try and locate the crocodiles. The river at this time of the year is normally carrying a lot of sediment making it a muddy brown colour so the wildebeest often cannot not see the crocodiles.

Once the leaders start crossing there is an overwhelming compulsion to follow on mass.

As the numbers of wildebeest crossing the river grows so more and more dust is stirred up and as you can see at times it becomes quite dark.

“We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know it for the first time.”~ Thomas Stearns Eliot

You can imagine the terror. These wildebeest are used to wide open spaces with clear air and all of a sudden they are pushed into an place which is darkened by thick dust. There are other wildebeest diving into the water all around you and you know there are massive Nile crocodiles waiting to ambush you as you cross.

Looking at the thin legs of the wildebeest, it is hard to believe they can swim effectively through the fast flowing Mara river.

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”~ Thomas Stearns Eliot

There is a huge advantage to individual animals crossing in a crowd. The chances of an individual being singled out by the crocodiles is substantially lower.

When the crossing begins it is every animal for itself. For most of the calves it would be their first crossing. It is hard to fathom the terror these youngsters must go through in this mad dash.

These adult wildebeest are swimming hard to cross the Mara river but the fast flowing current is pulling them down river. Often this means they end up on the other bank at an unintended spot which is difficult to exit.

This bull had swum half way across the Mara when for some inexplicable reason he stopped and came back to where he started. He was absolutely exhausted and could not walk out of the water back onto dry land despite the threat from crocodiles.

Flying wildebeest – an iconic image of these animals launching themselves terror stricken and panicked into the fast flowing muddy Mara River in the Masai Mara National Reserve.

The wildebeest crossings are truly spectacular both in terms of numbers and intensity. You will be moved by this natural phenomenon. The sheer terror in these animals eyes is clear to see. Terror or not, they have to cross to get to new pastures to feed.

In an article in Sciencedaily in June 2017, it was reported that an average of 6250 animals drown or are trampled crossing the Mara river each year. While this is a huge number, it is small in relation to the average of 1.2 million animals making the crossing during the year. The crossings usually peak along the Mara river in the three months from July to September.

“To those who stay put, the world is but an imaginary place. But to the movers, the makers and the shakers, the world is all around, an endless invitation.”~ Unknown

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun, Mike