An East African Safari : Photos from the Masai Mara Great Migration

The Great Migration is the largest mass movement of land mammals on Earth, when more than a million wildebeest, along with thousands of zebra, topi and gazelle, stalked by predators like big cats, vultures and hyenas circle through the Serengeti plains in Tanzania and Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Following instinct and the scent of moisture, looking for fresher greener land, the herds move clockwise from their calving grounds in the lush plains of the southern Serengeti, moving to the northern Serengeti and eventually cross the Mara river to Masai Mara.  The Mara River crossing is the hardest part of their journey, a life-or-death situation since there are vicious Nile crocodiles and territorial hippos is the river waiting to attack.  Hippos are herbivores but we saw one feeding on the zebra that fell prey to the crocodiles.  We watched in horror, as a severely wounded yet brave zebra walk slowly across the other side followed by hyenas. We saw hundreds, may be thousands of wildebeests waiting on the river bank in masses before the first ones made the daring leap. Masai Mara Great Migration is definitely one of the greatest wildlife shows on Earth.

As the plains in Serengeti dry out, the animals spend the summer and early fall in Masai Mara before heading south again in the fall to repeat the cycle. The scale of this event and the encounters between predator and prey, offer an extraordinary and an amazing wildlife spectacle. There were many baby elephants and lion cubs around as well showing us the cycle of Life and Death on the plains. We had the opportunity to see the animals in the wild and the migration firsthand — here are a few photos from our trip to East Africa and the awe-inspiring Masai Mara Great Migration.

Photos from the Masai Mara Great Migration

A young male lion in the Mara surveying the savanna

Elephant family enjoying the grass. An adult elephant eats about 150 kg (300 lb) of grass, leaves, twigs and fruit each day.

Cuteness overload! Saw this little one running around with her mama watching from a safe distance nearby

Black and white rhinoceroses are actually gray. They are different not in color but in lip shape. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip, while the white rhino has a squared lip.

A journey of Giraffes

Territorial Hippos

A lone zebra makes the first crossing while the hippos watch

Masai Mara Great Migration

Zebras testing the water and looking out for the Nile crocodiles

Masai Mara Great Migration

More zebras making the move to cross the river

Zebras cross the Mara river #GreatMigration

Thousands of zebras on the Mara river bank, a Dazzle of Zebras!

Zebra swimming to the other side of the river

Topi antelopes joining in on the river crossing

A zebra that does does make it to the other side becomes a feast for the crocodiles and a hungry hippo.  Although Hippos are vegetarian we did see this one eating the fallen zebra.

Brown spotted Hyenas circle a wounded zebra.  The wounded zebra had its stomach and parts of intestine hanging out as it slowly made it to the other side of the river and kept walking and trying to catch up with his mates.

Yellow billed stork enjoying his catch

A leopard hides after finishing his meal on the tree

A mongoose on the lookout for snakes

A Wild buffalo stares at us

Wildebeests on the plains

Wildebeests on the move

The cheetahs picking its prey from hundreds of wildebeests in the area

While we have seen some of these animals in the zoos, local safari parks and even in a safari at the Animal Kingdom in Disney, nothing prepares you for seeing them in the wild.  Did you know the word Safari in Swahili means Journey.  In the past, a Safari often meant hunting for the big game or Big 5, but thankfully these days, safaris are just to observe and photograph wildlife.  There were a few occasions during our safari that we were a mere couple of yards away from the animals, they were least interested in us and fully focused on their prey or their surroundings.  It truly was a humbling experience and makes you realize that this beautiful blue planet is not just ours, we share it with these amazing creatures, lets respect them and give them space.

Photos captured by Mr.Suburbia, and subject to copyright.  Please don’t use them without permission. Thanks to our amazing safari guide Wilson at Angama Mara who made every attempt to get our family front row seats to witness the Great Migration and capture photos and make memories.

See also Doing little things with a big heart : Protecting Elephants

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