Wim’s News from the Wildebeest Migration Safari:
We had an ultra early start to catch up with the animals we had left yesterday approaching from horizon and starting to gather close to the Mara River, under cloudy skies.
Actually it remained cloudy all day and this afternoon we even had some rain, but more about that later.
On the way to Kaburu we encountered a pack of hyenas … eight of them had already made an early morning wildebeest kill, and were tucking into their meal with vigour. When two jackals wandered onto the scene and made to join in the feast, antagonism and interaction between the hyenas and jackals became quite alarming … and naturally provided plenty of photographic opps. Then more and more vultures arrived and the drama intensified, with jackals chasing vultures, which in turn tried to dislodge the hyenas, who in turn tried to fight everyone off.
We arrived at the river, and no sooner had we parked when a large contingent of wildebeest and zebra started to make the crossing.
Then a double crossing occurred for some unknown reason, with animals traversing the river in both directions. As animals arrived on one river bank they saw others heading in the opposite direction, and quickly turned to join them, only to reach the other bank and have to swim back yet again.
The chaos and confusion continued for about thirty minutes before all of them finally determined the direction they should be heading, and suddenly there was unity of action and they arrived on the appropriate bank.
Surprisingly, although quite a number of crocodiles could be seen eyeing the mayhem, –
– only one made a serious lunge and grabbed a calf, which it pulled under water very quickly.
Once all the animals had crossed and everything returned to normal we moved on to Maui Maui, where we found animals as far as the eye could see. A massive buildup was starting, but was proceeding quite slowly – maybe because of the cloudy weather?
So we decided to return to the Lodge for lunch and to return later.
On the way we came across two large male lions.
They had made a kill in the rain, and were settling down to enjoy their feed. We hoped that the lions would shake their manes in the rain, so that we could capture those lovely images of raindrops flying in an arc … but no, they were far too intent on enjoying their repast to worry about rain soaked fur!
And a little further down the road was another pride of lions, relaxing in the rain.
When we returned to the river there was no rain and the scene was exactly the same as we had left it. We watched as the pressure and tension started to build and build – and readied our cameras for the action. Even the crocs were peering expectantly at the river banks …
And minute now – the wildebeest approached, and checked the steep slope, ready for the first leap – any second now –
And down came the rain!!!
The wildebeest retreated, together with the zebras, and all thoughts of crossings for today were over.
We made our way back to the Lodge where we are now gathered for our predinner drinks. As always the anecdotes and jokes are flying together with comparisons of our images of the day.
Because of the rain which delayed the crossings today, we expect the pressure to make the crossing tomorrow to be quite something …