August 22, 2010
The great migration is often referred to as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The migration consists of over one million wildebeests moving across East Africa in search of food. The wildebeests are also joined by thompson gazelles and zebras making for fantastic sightings of both herbivores and the big cats that hunt them. Upon landing in the Masai Mara we started to see wildebeests everywhere. They huddle together in groups of a few hundred to a few thousand for protection and it is amazing to see them grazing and moving as a unit. I particularly enjoyed watching them scatter as they have the funniest spaziest run. They are not particularly pretty animals, but the sight of them all moving together is truly breathtaking. One of the coolest things to watch is a crossing. The wildebeests must find grass where they can graze and often have to cross rivers many times. Each crossing can be lethal as the rocks are slippery, the currents strong, and hungry crocodiles position themselves with mouths wide open at a crossing. We actually saw two attacks- one where a crocodile killed and ate a thompson gazelle, and one where a crocodile attacked a wildebeest, but it escaped. The great migration is being threatened by poachers, global warming, and encroaching humans. Tanzanian authorities just announced plans to build a road that will go right through the great migration causing unimaginable disruption to this natural wonder. You can read about these plans here. For more information on the great migration click here.