Named one of the »seven new wonders of the world«, the great migration of the wildebeest in the Maasai Mara needs to be seen to be believed. That's why thousands of tourists and photographers flock there every year in the summer to capture this great miracle of nature on camera.
It is etched into the DNA of the wildebeest, the gazelles, zebras, and eland that accompany them on this journey. It is in the DNA of the predators who lie in wait to steal their moment in dramatic scenes. That's why photographs of this life or death drama speak to us on a primal level.
The scene is played out across 40,000 square kilometers. This area is comprised of the dusty plains of the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, and of course, the Mara River.
Stunning shots of the migrating wildebeest in the Maasai Mara
Photos of the great migration of the wildebeest chart just a part of the year long cycle of movement of the wildebeest across the plains of the Serengeti. In the start of the year, in the dry season, the wildebeest reside in the southernmost area of the Serengeti. However, once the food source there has run out, they are compelled by nature to seek pastures new, and head first to the north, in search of replenished sources of food and water holes. They are accompanied by predators such as lions, hyenas and jackals. It is here the wildebeest face their greatest challenge - they must cross the Mara River, replete as it is with hazards, in order to reach the juicy areas on the other side. At the river die each year thousands of animals: Due the high cliffs at some places, where the wildebeest can easily rush or because they are trampled dead from the herd that moving up. But the greatest danger represent the lurking crocodiles in the river.
The river crossing mainly takes place during the months of July and August. With the Gnu-Finder (German) you can find out where the animals stay at a certain time. The data is based on many years of experience, but of douse there are always differences.
We had early August the lucky and were able to observe two River Crossings. First, the animals stood for hours on the one side of the river and waited for the right moment. But maybe they also observed the countless Jeeps and tourists who had been stationed on both sides of the river. But the wait was worth it, around lunch time (at this time the most Crossings take place), one wildebeest has made the beginning and all the others followed him. It was a huge cloud of dust and the water splashed by the hooves. On the other side it was not so easy for the animals to find stability and to overcome the cliff, as more and more animals moved up from behind. After approximately 15 minutes the the whole spectacle was over and we could reminisce what we have just seen.