There is a tangible sense of excitement pulsing through the Mara right now. After a quiet time, more people are starting to return to the Reserve. They are not the only visitors – we are days away from welcoming the return of the greatest land migration on the planet.
Already, there have been a handful of small but exciting zebra crossings. A visual treat and an emotional roller-coaster for those lucky few who get to witness the running of the gauntlet first-hand. The massive crocodiles have spent months basking in the sun, lying motionless with very little in terms of sustenance. Waiting. Soon, it will be time to feast.
For now, the herds are still small but they’ll grow steadily over the next few weeks. Behind them, moving slowly in the heart of the Serengeti, are the stars of the show: the wildebeest. Although we expect them to only arrive in about another month or so, you can sense the sudden shift in energy, from the guides and guests and of course, the animals which call the Mara home.
Over the last two weeks, the landscape has changed significantly. The soils have started to dry, and the grasses have shifted from a green-golden hue to a lighter straw colour. These images, taken from the same spots dotted across the Mara showcase the seasonality and constant change within the grasslands.
Currently, the skyline is hazy as a result of the seasonal fires sweeping across the ecosystem. There is a gentle but steady breeze blowing across the Reserve signalling the change in seasons.
For lions, this dry spell couldn’t have come soon enough. The last few months have been tough for them. Prey has been scarce and risks have had to be taken – on all fronts – in order to stay alive. Immediately, the diet of the lions has shifted away from buffalo and towards zebra.
This time of year often sees a change in guests’ safaris. The primary objective for many is to see a dramatic river crossing. This involves heaps of patience, commitment and luck. And did I mention patience? The result is that you often spend more time just sitting quietly in the car, watching nature’s glorious performance. By sitting still and watching, you often get rewarded with wonderful and unexpected treats.
The real gem of the upcoming weeks for me will be the sound and the energy of the gathering herds. Tens become hundreds, hundreds become thousands, and thousands sound like thunder. Dust will fly, hooves will pound, water will splash and the Mara will reveal yet another layer of its magnificence.
I also find it important, at this time more than ever, to take notice of all aspects of the reserve. As captivating as the Migration is and as easy as it is to get totally swept away by it, there are so many more moments to enjoy every day.
There is a reason it is billed as one of the greatest reserves on Earth.
Two years ago the wildebeest arrived very early. We were exceptionally lucky to witness a handful of massive river crossings. These caught us off guard and left us amazed. In the blog post from two years ago, I tried to record the events which led up to this unusual timing. If you have any interest in the river crossings and understanding them then be sure to have a read.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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