Caption: Lioness, using an old tree stump as a vantage points, stares across the Serengeti plains in anticipation of her next meal while a cub dozes next to her, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
When we visited Serengeti in July this year, the only lions we saw were those in the picture above, together with some other members of the pride lying in the grass under the tree stump.
Although Serengeti is world-renowned for its big cat population, during the annual wildebeest migration there is so much prey for the lions that they can afford to spend most the time lying in shady spots digesting their last meal.
In fact, when you’re in the midst of the migration, you don’t see much wildlife other than wildebeest and zebras — there’s simply not enough room for anything else.
We drove to Serengeti from South Africa specifically to see this yearly wildlife trek, so weren’t disappointed at not seeing more lions, or the obligatory cheetah on a termite mound, or other large mammals.
Did the migration live up to our expectations? Absolutely! For three days we were ever-conscious of the slowly moving tide of animals, hearing them at night like frogs in the distance, and seeing them in their thousands by day.
Only One Wildebeest Migration
For many this is a once-in-a-lifetime exerience and probably will be for me. I see lions most times I visit the Kruger National Park or Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. But there’s only one wildebeest migration and you have to get to East Africa to experience it, which is a long way from South Africa and expensive to visit.
We went to Serengeti to experience the migration, not necessarily to photograph it, as it’s almost impossible to convey such magnitude in pictures, unless one is lucky enough to get good shots from the air.
The plains of Serengeti extend forever, so there’s space aplenty for the wildebeest herds on their journey towards the Mara. It’s only when they congregate to cross the Grumeti and Mara Rivers or pass through other bottlenecks that they form tight masses. The rest of the time they’re walking single file, or spread out over huge areas, oblivious of the tourists trying to capture this phenomenon with their cameras.
Below are some wildebeest migraton pictures taken in Serengeti and neighbouring Grumeti Game Reserve during our unforgettable few days there.
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