The Indecision of the Wildebeest

Last week's trip to the Northern Serengeti gave us as good a demonstration as any of how incredibly frustrating wildebeest can be!  We found ourselves sitting on the banks of the Mara River while herds streamed down from the North.  Our patient guide, Philip pulled out the coffee and settled down for a long wait.  As the hours progressed, the wildebeest milled around from left to right, forming splinter groups and toeing the banks.  A few brave animals started to skid down the banks to the water's edge, only to lose courage at the last minute and clamber back up again.  Eventually a critical mass seemed to have been reached and a palpable tension was building.  All of a sudden the flood-gates opened and the animals began careering down the steep banks in their hundreds.  From the edge of our seats, we watched dismayed as they reached the level of the water, suddenly seemed overcome by their haste and began walking in aimless circles again, before finally ending up back on the bank.  They then ambled off in the opposite direction as though they'd forgotten what they'd come here for.

Later in the day, driving from Lamai Serengeti to Serengeti Safari Camp in the Bologonja area, the evening light painted the tawny grass in a warm glow.  For as far as the eye could see there were wildebeest stretching to the horizon on all sides, grunting softly in silhouette against the fiery sky.  That night, cosy in bed with a hot water bottle, the sound of hoofs in the grass and the bullfrog like noises of the herds moving around the guy ropes, was enough to send us into a peaceful sleep.

Nomad guide, Chediel, just called to say that the herds are still crossing and re-crossing the Mara River and there are many animals around the Bologonja area and heading towards Lobo.

Happy migration watching!

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