The beginning of our adventure to witness this event started when we contacted Wild Kenya Safaris http://www.wildkenyasafaris.com
The journey of the great migration however begins sometime in May where instinctively, large herds of wildebeest begin to leave the Serengeti plains to seek fresher greener pastures in the Maasai Mara. Tens of thousands of acres of grassland are suddenly covered by masses of migrating gnu and every step they take invites more and more followers to the pilgrimage. Come July, the herds are at the final leg of their destination and are ready to cross the river. But there is something else which makes this event spectacular beyond the sheer mass of migrating mammals.
The month long, tranquil marching pace has suddenly come to a dead stop and the entire atmosphere has been abruptly transformed into a state of absolute confusion, fear and panic. Survival instincts have taken over. A light splash is heard from across the river; Nile crocodiles inhibit these waters.
Uncertain of their next move, the grunting and moaning wildebeest wander parallel along the river bank trying to look for a shallow and trouble-free crossing that displays no hint of observable danger. But by now, thousands of gnu have gathered at the crossing path and the front line of animals are now being forcefully pushed and shoved up to the waters edge.
The giant Nile crocodiles which average four meters in length will patiently lay in wait. They know that food will eventually come to them since the wildebeest have no other choice, either you cross the river or starve to death in the now dry Serengeti. The crocodiles are quadrupeds; they have their eyes, ears and nostrils positioned on top of their head so that the rest of the body can remain partly submerged underwater. In this concealed state, they can easily be mistaken for tree logs, quietly directing their approach to the river shore with stealth. If need be, they can burst into action and swim at speeds of up to 30kmph. It is estimated there are less than 400,000 of these living dinosaurs left in the wild.
Anxiety on the river bank has now reached a heightened peak and a gnu finally finds the nerve to plunge into the raging currents, where now, as if by magic, the rest of the herd pour themselves into the wake of the first, their convulsive wading now forming one long synchronized line as they attempt to cross the river.
A five meter crocodile approaches the left flank of the now fear stricken wading herd, swimming past the first few wildebeest that are only a foot away from him. A struggling target has been sighted!! With jaws agape the crocodile lunges into the face of the victim where it holds on exceedingly tightly as it drags the now drowning gnu into the murky abyss.
It is assumed that over 200 thousand wildebeest die from drowning and predator attacks during this migration. The greener grasses however on the other side, replenishes the losses with over 400 thousand births a year. We were positioned right where the action was, with the best touring company http://www.wildkenyasafaris.com
to experience this breathtaking natural event first hand.
This great natural spectacle based purely on animal instinct reflecting the survival of the fittest is what we humans come to witness annually from all over the world and we will be back again next year with Wild Kenya Safaris http://www.wildkenyasafaris.com
to do it all over again.