We probably all know the images of the Great Migration from documentaries, photographs and travel brochures and somehow they all feel dramatic. Wildebeest bodies crowded on the Mara River bank, hesitating, restless, and anxious. Then one is brave enough to make the first move or just pushed by the crowd, jumping into the water of the Mara River for the greener grass on the other side, swimming, desperately trying to keep its head above the rushing water. More wildebeest pushing, jumping, calling, following the one in front and the river fills with a line of swimming animals. And then one goes head under, the next wildebeest tries to turn around, but the strong current won’t allow that, its struggling and then the other one comes up again, they carry on to the other side. There is pushing and panic and desperation, the path out of the water up the riverbank is tight. The others try to find another path up the bank, fall, try again and more wildebeest are pushing from the river. Finally the first of the herd reach the rim of the riverbank and run onto the grassland. They made it. Now turning around to see how the others are doing. Pushing, calling, panic, fear, yet this herd was lucky, no casualty to the crocodiles. They gained access to the green grass of the Masai Mara and they will do it again and again, bringing their offspring to the Great Plains for food and survival even if that means to face the river.
This epic drama draws not only crowds of animals to the Masai Mara, but also visitors who want to see it with their own eyes. And there is no documentary that can let you feel being there at the crossing with the big herds and their mission for food.
Its photographer’s heaven.
Ute Sonnenberg, www.rohoyachui.com