The Greatest Spectacle on Earth…

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature…”

By Frank Lloyd Wright

Hello! Do you know what I am? No? you might think I’m some kind of skinny bull, but you are wrong! I am a wildebeest, also known by the name of gnu, humans think we are ugly but you know what? My species is the main character in one of the greatest spectacles on earth…

Yes, indeed…Every year millions of us along with hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles are responsible for the most spectacular mass movement of terrestrial mammals anywhere in the world.

Thousands of people around the world come to the Masai Mara between July and September to watch us cross a river full of crocodiles and set camp to feed from the very nutritious and phosphorous-rich grasses of the Mara in South West Kenya.

Crossing the Mara River

Of course we cross the Mara river back and forth because we are restless creatures, we love to live in danger and we love drama. In return we provide magnificent photographic opportunities. Whether you come to see us with a point-and-shoot or your pro-camera and big lenses we guarantee great shots.

Crossing the Mara River back and forth

Besides crocodiles, we also attract one of the highest concentrations of large predators, among them thousands of lions and spotted hyenas, along with some leopards and cheetahs.

Believe me you might want to take some pictures of these animals hunting us, it is a chilling experience.

Two juvenile males having for lunch a captured wildebeest

We are the most abundant large herbivore in East Africa and our name wildebeest means “wild beast” in Dutch/Afrikaans, not very original right? We do prefer our African name gnu. We belong to the family of African antelopes and you can recognize us for our dark grey coat and black stripes (which are clearest on the front regions), short, thick neck, and crooked horns.

The Wildebeest migration route

Our migration characterizes the Serengeti ecosystem and is responsible for the worldwide fame of this region. Based on the rainfall’s timetable and abundance, we depart the Southern Serengeti and the West of the Ngorongoro Conservation area where most of our females calve (have babies) at the end of January or early February, and move towards the North and North-East arriving in great numbers to the Masai Mara around July and August.

Crocodile snatching a wildebeest….but my friend escaped
Aren’t we a sight worth taking pictures of?

It is during this stage that we must pass the Grumeti and Mara Rivers, home to a dense population of magnificent crocodiles. The sight of hurling ourselves into the the water to cross the river is just unforgettable, particularly when there are crocodiles waiting to have their richest meal of the year.

Good bye!

And that’s why our migration and the time we spend in the Masai Mara is considered the most unique zoological drama in the world

For more pictures of these incredible animals visit The Wildebeest and the Great Migration

4 responses to “The Greatest Spectacle on Earth…”

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