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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration


… The wildebeest are here once again!Although these is just the start of the most dramatic wildlife pilgrim on earth, the early start means there is a lot to be anticipated with more dramatic episodes expected to unfold as the migration continues. Trailing the noisy gnus from the expansive plains of Serengeti as they cross Talek, Mara and Sand River has never been this exciting. Sightings of the first plunge have been witnessed at the Sand River by those in the ongoing Kenya safari

Cheetah in Masai mara
In the recent years, we have witnessed the most historical, dramatic, exciting and sometimes interestingly frustrating episodes due to the effects of adversely changed weather patterns both in Mara and Serengeti. For instance; apart from the early stop of the rains in Serengeti, the un-seasonal weather of the last month has caused the wildebeest to continue moving in a rather abnormal patterns.Zebras as usual mark the genesis of this gyratory exodus, in fact, the moment their hooves touch the waters of the Mara river, it marks the official instigate of undoubted endless annual pilgrim.

Tradition documents that the migratory herds usually separate into two divergent groups - one in north-east Serengeti and northern Loliondo region and the other one in the Western Corridor/Grumeti area. The western heard has always had their first plunge into the Mara – but it’s not a guarantee.Whilst some wildebeest are, as we would normally expect at this time of year, in the Western Corridor area, other herds can be found as far north as Bologonja up near the Mara River.

In just a few days after crossing the Sand River, the wildebeest together with Zebras and other ungulates are expected to move on to spread over the Keekorok region towards the Mara Bridge – surprisingly covering an estimated 25 kilometers.Due to the rains in Mara, the herds are unlikely to speed up their march towards Mara River and Ol Keju Ronkai River in search of waterholes as it has been the case in the last few years when most of the waterholes in the Mara are dry. This also means the real thrilling river crossings might not start sooner than earlier anticipated.

Lions are still being sighted in good numbers and even the prides are beginning to split into smaller groups. The arrival of the migration means food will be easy to find and therefore, staying as a large pride may make it difficult to hunt as it is easy to be spotted by the prey.

JBA- Kenya Safari