After photographing at Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Serengeti National Park, the final stop on my African photo safari was the Mara River, near the border between Tanzania and Kenya.
Here I watched a natural spectacle like no other: the annual wildebeest migration when wildebeest (along with zebra, gazelle and eland) cross the river in the hundreds of thousands.
The never-ending migration routes of the animals is what defines the Serengeti Ecosystem. It’s not something that starts and stops, but a constant movement as the animals search for food and water. Changes in the environment and weather patterns are the factors that alter when and where the animals choose to be at any given time. They need to follow the rains and the growth of new grass.
As they travel the northern part of their route, the path is cut many times by the Mara River – a dangerous obstacle not only for its swift current but also for the predators that are concealed within it.
I’m not sure if anyone understands how the moment of crossing is chosen and by which of the many animals. The anticipation builds as the wildebeest pile up on the edge of the cliff … and then dissipates … as they seem to change their minds and find a different place to cross. The monster crocodiles foiled again as they await their feast.
Eventually a choice is made and as soon as one wildebeest enters the water they all go together in a thunderous stampede like a courageous protest of the wild — they can’t kill us all.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the wildebeest migration through my lens. While this was the last stop on my photo safari, I still have lots of photos to share from all of the destinations on my trip.
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Sue Jarrett says
Wow! You must have been able to move around the area to get so many different angles. Great shots!
Joe Hudspeth says
Absolutely beautiful captures Anne. Fantastic shots. Best I’ve seen of this phenomenum.
Laura Knight says
An amazing spectacle indeed and well captured. Thoroughly enjoyed your images and read about your adventures.
Laurie MacBride says
Utterly fabulous images, Anne – amazing perspectives and the sense of being right there almost among them. Great job!
Harvey Spears says
That was amazing. Thank you for sharing.
Steven Read says
Jackson Frishman says
Great images, Anne, wow! That 200mm shot of the wildebeests plunging down the bank stands out especially. No crocs that day?
Excellent moments and compositions!!! Great shots with a variety of perspectives and camera+lens combinations! Also, I noticed you must have been experimenting a lot of Aperture and shutter speed tries, which really brings out the complete aspects of the scene: WILD MIGRATION!
Cliff Anderson says
Great shots with impact. I’m jealous 🙂 Have seen the migration but not the river crossing.
Keep up the good work..
Cecil Houser says
Great shots, what great memories you have preserved. Thank you so much for sharing.
Russ Bishop says
Nice visual storytelling, Anne. That must have been quite a scene to witness!
Don Ruwald says
Absolutely fabulous photos. It had to be an amazing scene to see. Great job.
Gajendra S Tyagi says
Fabulous Shots in such a lovely and low light, not that easy to take such a wonderful details…Great photography Anne McKinnell , Lovely Compositions and excellent perspective, in all the frams with full of action photography, wowwwww~Thanks for sharing with us. …!
Amazing images!! A true artist with a story to tell…
Kenneth Khana says
Wow! Those are great images! Hope I can match that quality and great sense of the moment reflected in the pictures one day!
Robert Burke says
Anne, Wow! Great shots, another place to put on the list of must go…. Thanks for sharing… :-))
Toad Hollow Photography says
Wow, Anne, what a sight!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us all, I know I really really enjoyed reading about and seeing these incredible animals as they go about their regular migrations. Top drawer, my friend!
Emme @ Green Global Travel says
Wow, incredible photos! I especially love the view point of the last one. It must be awesome and a little scary to witness something like this! Thanks for the post.
Manel Dias says
These images are amazing. You obviously had the courage to stand by & to get the memorable shots. I was there personally some years ago. But to watch these defenseless wildebeest crossing the Mara river was a heartbreak for me. The reason was that the number of Crocodiles awaits to snatch the vulnerable wildebeests was a horrifying scenery to me…even though that was considered a norm in that situation. How ever thank you very much for publishing these marvelous pictures. This reminds me of the “Beautiful and the Wondrous” nature of the Tanzanian wild life.
Lee Kivi says
What a magnificent sight to see and capture. Bravo for such a outstanding photo essay.
Jer in Dallas says
Unfortunately, one can not translate smell onto film , digital image, or even a movie. The temperature of the day , the sounds of the wildebeest, and of course, if one of the “crocs” grabbed a prey, THAT sound.
Great shots however. Do you wonder what it was like in the early 1900’s , or earlier?
Edward Kramer says
Exceptional photos and story! :):)
Bob Willoughby says
Wow! What a thrill it must have been to witness, let alone photograph! Thanks for sharing.
Anne McKinnell says
Hi Bob, yes it really was a unique experience. To see so many animals making the crossing all at once was quite a spectacle. Thanks for your comments!