Life in Ndutu During the Great Migration
Trip Start Jan 21, 2014
12Trip End Feb 01, 2014
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We drive slowly along the creek headed for the marsh. We pass two hyena eating bone from the carcass of a long dead kill. Whether one appreciates hyena or not, it is difficult not to be impressed with their powerful jaw that snaps bone with the ease of a hot knife going through butter.
We next encounter eleven members of the Marsh Pride. They are lounging after gorging themselves all night. The youngsters, in particular, have stomachs so swollen they nearly drag the ground
We drive into the privacy of the woods. As we move deeper into the forest, we are treated to glimpses of huge concentrations of wildebeest through the trees. As we move into the open plains, our vehicle is immediately surrounded by wildebeest and zebra. We are in the middle of the Great Migration!
I've seen the Migration before but have never been surrounded by it. What an awesome feeling. We drive slowly and are soon absorbed into the Migration. None of the animals seems a bit concerned over our presence. We remain with the animals for well over an hour.
The afternoon begins with the location of two previously unseen male cheetahs. They had taken down a full sized wildebeest and are feeding on their conquest when we arrive on the scene.
Later, we drive back to the river and find wall-to-wall wildebeest on both banks
Two other kills are made on the Ndutu Plain this afternoon. The first is a gazelle that falls to the brother and sister cheetahs that we first saw sitting on the NatGeo film crew Jeep.
The second is a full grown wildebeest taken by the two females that split from the Marsh Pride and are raising their four cubs very close to the Wild Source Research Camp. The camp biologists decide to name this new independent group the Olasiti pride. Olasiti is a Maasai word for one of the species of acacia trees that are prevalent in the area near the camp.
Tonight is our final night at Ndutu. The Wild Source staff makes it memorable
The conversational centerpiece for our final dinner in Ndutu was provided by Marianne. She noted we had likely seen half a million wildebeest since we arrived. After due consideration, she believes some wildebeest, also known as gnus, are more attractive than others. The pros and cons of Marianne’s position are debated back and forth until tears are streaming down the faces of everyone at the table.
The poor wildebeest has quite a reputation. It is rumored God created the gnu out of spare parts left over after all the other animals were created. The poor gnu must also overcome its position as the ugliest of Africa’s UGLY FIVE. The ugly five also includes the warthog, hyena, marabou stork and lappet faced vulture.
The staff has one final surprise for all of us – dessert. The cooks prepare a beautifully decorated cake featuring The Wild Source logo in colored frosting. They announce dessert by creating highly realistic lion calls (using a bucket and cardboard tube) that precedes their dancing entrance. Great fun is had by all.