My tour to Tanzania had to be the highlight of the 2011 schedule. That trip allowed me to realize a childhood dream of witnessing the crossing of the Mara River by the wildebeest. Many of you will recognize the image above as it was my favorite of 2011! That spectacle left such an impression on me that I am dividing my Tanzania tour report into three sections starting with just images of the crossing!!! The group and I were fortunate enough to witness 5 crossings, each lasting about an hour or more! Trying to capture the true feeling of the crossing proved to be quite challenging because the mass of bodies was truly astounding. We started out just seeing the herd on the Kenya side and watched them gather in huge numbers…..in the thousands…..milling around on the far shore. Once one brave/foolish soul jumped in (there were crocs in there!) the herd followed and didn’t stop! Below are a few images that typify some of the action. Deciding where to compose is probably the hardest and where the Sigma 300-800 really shined!
We had opportunities both at sunrise and at sunset. On a few occasions I tried to isolate them against the darker backgrounds but always when they wer leaping!
Watching the herd struggle across the deep water is just mind-boggling! Given all the danger in the water, with the crocks lurking and the possibility of getting caught in rocks, I just wondered what compelled them to cross back and forth? The grass and rains looked like they were on the other side……so I don’t think it was a case of the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence”. I’m not sure they figured out why, but it is breathtaking to watch unfold!
One thing I didn’t realize was that there were so many Hippo’s in the Mara River! We actually saw a wildebeest pushed into a hippo and fortunately, hippo’s are vegetarian! I tried my hand at a few pan blurs as the herd headed down the banks just for a bit of variety. As I work on new ones in the coming weeks, I will post them.
I’ll be posting some more Tanzania tour images in the next few weeks showing some of the diversity of animals and birds. You can e-mail me: email@example.com if you want to be put on the list for the 2013 tour.