There’s dust and snorting and grunting and a very steely determination in Mara Plains as the wildebeest migration of the Maasai Mara moves through. It’s a spectacle that is hard to describe and one that really has to be seen to be believed.
There are tens of thousands of wildebeest moving across the landscape in steady streams. They move as a herd – each following the animals in front, stopping when the others stop and moving when they move. It’s a collective drive based upon a primal instinct that leads them in a never-ending cycle across the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti, following the rains and the fresh grass.
Naturally this mass of herbivores brings in the predators and lions, cheetahs, leopards and crocodiles all wait along the riverbanks, waiting patiently for the animals to cross the narrow channels where they are most at risk of tripping and least able to run at top speed.
The cats are fat and lazy. They have no need to work hard in their hunting right now. The food pretty much comes to them and in the dawn light we see multiple wildebeest carcasses strewn across the rocks in the dry riverbeds. Chubby lion cubs swat each other playfully, their bellies full and their chances of survival greatly enhanced. Despite the glut of food around them, we still saw two lionesses take their chances in hunting another fresh meal. They are sloppy though, not keeping to cover much, and although they came exceptionally close, these hunts ended in the wildebeests’ favour. Perhaps they were practicing or perfecting their moves or perhaps they were just trying their luck. With all the animals constantly streaming in, they certainly will not go hungry.
One morning exposed to this world-famous migration and our brains are numb with the magnitude of it all. We’ve retired to Mara Plains camp for a delicious lunch of chicken skewers and a multitude of salads and will try and reset our minds in preparation for this afternoon’s game drive. It looks like rain is brewing and indeed we had a huge storm last night. Rain drives everything here so we’d quite like to see the rivers filling up and the wildebeest celebrating the water that they follow their entire lives.