Wildebeest Migration

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
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Trip End Dec 13, 2002


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Hello again.

Have I mentioned one of the rules of safari is not to leave your tent at night?  Needless to say, everybody uses the water closet before retiring.  This evening we heard a pack of hyaena outside camp.  So I took some sleeping pills.  And woke up to tell about it.  In the morning there were several bucks running through the trees lining the edge of camp.

The morning game drive can be the best time for viewing animals.  Many of the prey are waking up in need of water.  We ran across a leopard hunting.  Pretty exciting to watch even though there was no prey in sight.

Our destination today was across this one river.  We drove for miles looking for a shallow point.  Millinga finally crossed and we got stuck.  Normally I try to help out - like pitching tents.  Not this time.  I wasn't going to take chances with the water.  But Dowdi and Millinga get us on our way.  Again, one of those times there's nobody within sight.

Not long after we found a fresh wildebeest carcass.  An encouraging sign.  About two miles later, there was a cluster of rocks.  So Millinga circled around.  Lying inside were two male lions.  Their bellies so full they could barely move.  Their breathing was shallow and fast.  Millinga said it would be two days before they hunt again.  Things are looking good.

We continued along the road.  Small groups of wildebeest were crossing.  Coming up on the left there was a huge rock - like a scene from The Lion King.  As we got closer, a silhouette of a lion appeared.  He was looking to our right, where another lion was walking through the tall grass.  He was approaching a heard of wildebeest in the distance.  They appeared only as a dark line.  Millinga heard them crossing a river.  The lion was hunting for a kill.  So we drove off the road about 300 yards away.  And waited.  Most hunts are only 10% successful.  But Millinga thought this one had a good chance.  The lion was catching a herd when they were most vulnerable.  Suddenly, the dark line broke.  The wildebeest started scattering.  A few moments later, the lion's head popped up.  He missed.  Almost saw a kill.

We finally caught up to the wildebeest migration.  It was staggering!  THOUSANDS of wildebeest.  A full panoramic view took three frames on camera.  Unfortunately, the roof of the Land Rover was closed so I couldn't get capture the depth.  But I just sat there in awe.  The migration moves clockwise through the Serengeti.  One full loop every year.  As we drove on to the front, they were being led by zebra.  Apparently wildebeest have poor eye sight so they just follow.

Eric
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