Masai Mara

22:43 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

When we chose our trip to Africa, we chose Kenya for a few reasons - weather, the time of year, but most importantly, the wildebeest.

The time frame we were looking to travel in was just in line with the Great Wildebeest migration, where the wildebeest and zebra travel from the plains of the Serengeti, across the rivers into Kenya & the Masai Mara.

When we first drove into the park, you could already see the wildebeest everywhere. They travelled in great droves, mingled with the zebra who follow along with them in hopes of protecting themselves by being faster & smarter prey.

 
Our first drive in Masai Mara wasn't focused on the wildebeest, although it was hard to escape them. We drove around taking in all the game there was to see. In Masai Mara, we saw all of the big 5, with the exceptions of the rhinos (which we saw in Lake Nakuru). Despite how much game we saw the whole week, seeing the big 5 was a feat, as the leopard can often be shy to show themselves during the day.

 
 
Besides the elusive leopard, we got to see animals in a different habitat. While the animals are certainly wild and wandering about as they should out in the open, you can still see how they have adapted to an environment where humans and cars are around.  During one drive, not only did we spot a cheetah, but he spotted us and hopped up top of the vehicle to get a better look around him for prey. Apparently this isn't an uncommon occurrence and the prey isn't humans!

 
 
The next day, after a quick drive and breakfast by the hippo pond, we headed off to the main attraction, the wildebeests!

They are pretty unique animals, wandering across the Mara and (stupidly) following whoever is in front of them, although organised in straight lines across the plains. I can't say much about the wildebeest in terms of looks either. Their blackish grey colour, along with their (straggly) mane and beards make them look like an old topi who hasn't quite aged gracefully.

We went to find them making their crossing of the rivers into Kenya and went to the southern most part of the Mara in the Mara Triangle, passing by the border of Tanzania.

 
We found a great spot on the river with a herd right there, and set-in to watch.  It was not easy going - the wildebeest would approach the shores, then get nervous and turn back. Vans would drive up, and scare them away (the most frustrating part of the trip to see people not respect nature like that). They would start pushing the other wildebeests towards the water, then follow someone else in the other direction. In 3 hours, we saw 2 groups of zebra cross, but not one single wildebeest. It was a bit disappointing. After the rest of our good luck on the safari I was certain we would see the crossing, but it was not meant to be.

 
We headed back towards the camp, but not first without crossing another river and getting a glimpse of the carnage the wildebeest crossing leaves in the waters. The river is full of carcasses, with vultures and crocodiles laying in wait for their next prey.

 
Perhaps it's good we didn't get to catch this legendary migration this time - another reason for us to return to Africa for another safari.

 

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