Travelling has the capacity to open your eyes so wide and show you a world that you may never have imagined existed. For me it’s a compulsion, it’s an improbable and unforeseeable adventure, which excites me immensely. The people, the culture, the scenery, the language, the smells, the atmosphere… Everything about visiting a whole new place is just so astounding and character building. Africa is certainly no exception to this rule!
Having had the opportunity to travel to such a diverse continent is a privilege in itself but when you find yourself free camping in the mist of the Serengeti National Park your senses are most definitely awakened. As you lay awake listening out for lions roaring in the distance, or feel your tent shake vigorously with the stampede of Zebras rushing past, you really start to realise that you are in another world, territory that doesn’t belong to you! From the early morning game drives in the Masai Mara, where you sit patiently waiting in the hope of witnessing a kill to the sunrise hot air balloons over the vast plains of the Serengeti, each and every moment is truly incredible.
As if all of this wasn’t amazing enough. Imagine my excitement when I happen to be there during the immense ‘Great Wildebeest Migration.’ The Great Migration is one of nature’s most spectacular events. With the movement of between 1.5 – 2 million wildebeest throughout the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems it’s hardly surprising that it’s dubbed as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Watching these incredibly courageous creatures as they begin to congregate and form an orderly queue spanning for miles and miles is quite remarkable, but nothing can prepare you for the mass pandemonium that occurs during the rush to cross the Mara River. All it takes is a command from one dominant Wildebeest and it’s all stations go.
I remember sitting patiently in our safari vehicle when all of a sudden the ground beneath us began to shake as these gallant but desperate beasts gathered speed and made a run for it, creating huge dust clouds. Imagine the scene from the Lion King, where Mufasa is being chased through the gorge by thousands of wildebeest. It’s like this but tenfold and it’s real!!! Entrusting the mighty Mara River with their lives they charge down the banks and leap boldly into fast flowing, turbulent water infested with hungry crocodiles lying in wait. This crossing is no walk in the park, it’s a blood thirsty struggle.
I was overcome with emotion and nerves as I watched this event unfold. My heart was pounding as I willed the beasts across the river, hoping that they all escape unscathed. This however was not a reality. This spectacular display of nature was being showcased right there in front of me, as many fell victim to the unforgiveable jaws of the powerful and relentless crocs that would take out their victim in a flash.
I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have witnessed such a breathtaking and astonishing phenomenon.
These amazing memories will live with me forever!!
To see the Great Migration for yourself, browse some of Tucan Travel’s tours here.