An East African Safari & 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 crossing the Mara river to Masai Mara. 

Masai Mara Great Migration Photos | Vinod Ramachandran |
Thousands of zebras on the Mara riverbank, a Dazzle of Zebras!

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 in 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 walked slowly across the other side followed by hyenas. We saw hundreds, maybe thousands of wildebeests waiting on the riverbank 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 predators and prey offer an extraordinary and 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

You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.

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

Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?  

Brain Jackman
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

Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one. To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just home.

Beryl Markham
A lone zebra makes the first crossing while the hippos watch

Zebras testing the water and looking out for the Nile crocodiles

More zebras making the move to cross the river

It’s really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else but lives in Africa.

Will Smith
Zebra swimming to the other side of the river

Topi antelopes joining in on the river crossing

A zebra that 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.

The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.

Richard Mullin
Brown spotted Hyenas circle a wounded zebra.  The wounded zebra had its stomach and parts of the 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

Africa has her mysteries and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.

Miriam Makeba
A mongoose on the lookout for snakes

A Wild buffalo stares at us

Wildebeests on the plains

If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.

John Hemingway
Wildebeests on the move

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

While we have seen some of these animals in 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 when 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, let’s respect them and give them space.

See this post for a breakdown of the Great Wildebeest Migration by season.

You cannot leave Africa, Africa said. It is always with you, there inside your head. Our rivers run in currents in the swirl of your thumbprints; our drumbeats counting out your pulse; our coastline the silhouette of your soul.

Bridget Dore

I hope these photos from our Safari trip and Safari quotes inspire you to plan your trip to Africa!

Photos captured by Vinod (aka 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 this post for some more African Quotes and Proverbs

You might also like: 
What to Pack for a Family Safari
Soaring about the Savannah in a Hot air balloon
Protecting Elephants
6 things to do in Nairobi 
Other posts from Africa


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2 thoughts on “An East African Safari & Masai Mara Great Migration”

  1. Nice photos! So good to know that the safari we used to know, which was hunting of animals is in the past. I’m such an animal lover, so it makes happy to know that there are people who take care of wildlife because they are majestic creatures! That’s also why seeing the Great Migration live and in person is one of my dreams! This blog almost brings me there. It’s very informative and the photos are stunning. the posts make me more eager to go on a safari. Hopefully soon!

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