The main reason I went to the Serengeti National Park is to witness what has been dubbed as the “greatest show on earth” – the annual migration of the hoofed animals. Of course, I wish to spot the Big 5 game animals as well, namely, the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and the black rhinoceros, but that was not my main purpose.
This time of the year, the herds are to be spotted in Northern Serengeti close to the Maasai Mara (by the Kenyan border), as they head south in anticipation of the rains. The hillier and heavily vegetated area in this northern area of the park receives less human visitors, which I prefer as it is less crowded. The sight of more than two million animals moving across the plains is indeed the greatest wildlife spectacle.
The first Mara River crossing I witnessed was spectacular. We waited for four hours as the wildebeest debated whether to cross or not and at which crossing point (there are eleven). There were several false starts, but once they got going, the show is on! All it takes are two or three to lead the herd.
I witnessed another river crossing, but through a narrower river, with zebras coming along.
The second Mara River crossing I witnessed was as spectacular – this time through a different crossing point which was a rockier section of the river. This made the crossing more difficult and in addition, a predator – crocodile – was waiting for a prey. The struggle between the crocodile and its victim took 20 minutes.
Warning: the following pictures might be too gruesome for some of you. Two weeks before I arrived, there was a stampede at one of the crossing points at Mara River. Approximately 750 wildebeest perished. Today, vultures are having a feast. It is estimated that approximately 1 to 2% of the two million animals die during migration.