Wildebeest Into the River
Google ‘wildebeest migration’. That’s really the only way you can envision what I witnessed on my recent trip to Tanzania. More than 1.5 million of these 600+ pound beasts, related to antelopes, and their young follow the seasonal rains in search of food and water in a 480-kilometer (300-mile) loop. The route is often called the Great Rift Valley, crossing many rivers, the biggest and most treacherous of which is the Mara River. The migration is so stupendous it’s called one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. 200,000 zebras join in on the fun, creating some kind of symbiotic relationship. Go figure.
We watched 3 crossings of thousands of wildebeest. The crocs were usually waiting, mouths open. The wildebeests would come out the other side of the river, exhausted, and keep walking. The decision to jump into the river, seemed to be without reason, although I’m sure there was some kind of rule of engagement. As the wildebeest gather up for leaping into the river, they churn up dust. Lots of dust. It hangs in the air like fog. While a maribou stork watches right by the thundering hooves.
I’ve seen a lot of sub-Saharan Africa scenes, from the humdrum to the fantastic. This ranks up their with the ultra-fantastic.
Photographed with my Canon 5D MkIII camera.
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