The Great Migration is still the greatest

One of the wonderful things about planning a private mobile camping safari is that we get to position ourselves right amongst the action in the Mara. Whether our setting is amidst some particularly social lions, or adjacent to the best viewing spot for the wildebeest as they begin their inexorable streaming across the mighty Mara River, choosing our particular campsite based on the current conditions allows us to be immersed in the wildlife wonders my guests have come to see.

It’s hard to know what to leave out, so here’s the best of the past couple of months in the Mara:

*Finding a pair of mating leopards – two days in a row!

*Being out at first light to witness ten thousand wildebeest, and a good number of zebra, take a dawn plunge into the danger-filled river. This only got better when we had lions, leopard and a hyena all ambushing the exhausted animals as they emerged on our side. 

*An entire clan of spotted hyenas feasting on a hippo they’d killed. This was so close to camp that we were able to revisit daily and see the incredible speed which these predators devour their prey, even 3,000 kgs of hippo!

*Driving on and on through an endless ocean of wildebeest, themselves lost within the great savannah grassland.

*A 45 minute battle between a monstrous Nile crocodile and a crossing wildebeest, who finally broke free from the croc as darkness fell, only to face the perils of the night time carnivores.

Sometimes it seems that all the odds are stacked against the gnus (wildebeests). However, their sheer numbers tells us they’re doing something right, as over a million of them trample through these great plains that feed them. For it is only a fraction of the million or so that get eaten each year, and they manage to breed successfully in what is regarded as one of the most dazzlingly synchronized reproductive systems of any large mammal. Several hundred thousand baby gnus are born within a few weeks of one another and by flooding the market with their calves, they ensure most make it through. 

Thanks to Matthew Savitt for these wonderful images taken on safari with me last month.