October 17, 2018

The great wildlife migration of east Africa

In a world that is fast becoming more and more urbanized with mega cities, conurbations and sprawling metropolises with endless blocks of skyscrapers and other massive concretes dotting virtually most corners of the globe today, people now appear to have been permanently locked away for good from mother nature.

Lovers of nature and wildlife are left with no option than to watch national geographic on television or visit drab zoos were animals are kept in confinement. However, going to the zoo may give us an impression of how big an elephant is in real life or how beautiful a peacock is, but watching them look at us helplessly from their caged compartments may be likened to a hot desert dweller going into big freezer so he could have an experience of what living in a temperate climate region in winter could be like.

East Africa and indeed the entire continent seems to evoke nostalgic interest in wildlife whenever they are mentioned and for good reasons too, considering the fact that so many wild animals including those on the near extinct list, still roam about in their natural habitat within the woods, grasslands and plains of the African continent.

 

One of nature’s greatest sights to behold, which have been reoccurring on an annual basis over the ages, can be found in the plains of the Serengeti National park and the Masai Mara National Reserve that straddles the countries of Tanzania and Kenya. Here in this region and far removed from civilization is where the great wild beast mass migration occurs.

Nature’s oldest pilgrimage, already listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world involves millions of different arrays of wild beast as they make a race for survival, as a deadly drought wreaks havoc behind and forcing them to run towards greener pastures.

This amazing migration occurs simply because during January and February, the rains peak, and in euphoria, the wild beasts are motivated to massively procreate. By April, the table turns and drought sets in. In no time, trees and grasses wither and water bodies’ dries out leaving only two options for these wild beasts; to either migrate northwards towards Lake Victoria or stay put in Serengeti and inevitably die. Faced with such life and death scenario, they always chose the former and vote with their feet when they still have the strength to embark on this perilous journey.

What has remained a puzzle is why the hordes of wild beasts including gazelles, Zebras and others would have to wait till the eleventh hour and also had to congregate into a monstrous herd before departing Serengeti. The most dangerous part of their journey and also the most amazing and picturesque is when they get to Masai Mara around July, in trying to cross the crocodile infested Mara river, the hideous uncountable herd that have been galloping for miles now suddenly screeches to a halt as they struggle among themselves to get across, all at the same time!

To add to this thrilling experience, the hungry and angry crocodiles now have a field day as they launch vicious and deadly attacks against the migrating beasts, bringing down as many games as their canines could grasp at.

 

You may have watched this amazing event on National Geographic television documentary but nothing compares to beholding such sight in its natural habitat under the hot tropical African sun.

The image will surely stay with you forever!

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