11-06-2021 by Leni Frau
The time of the great migration of tens of thousands of wildebeest, as well as a few zebras and antelopes, is approaching again this year in East Africa.
Every year, the spectacle of the great migration of the animals from Kenya to Tanzania is an attraction for thousands of passionate naturalists, animal lovers and photographers from all over the world.
The most exciting but also dramatic moment, which is part of the cycle of life and regulates the biological balance of the great mother Africa, is when the animals cross the Mara river in the Maasai Mara area, practically on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. Thousands of wildebeest have been marching in recent days to prepare to ford the river that divides Tanzania's great Serengeti National Park and flows into the Kenyan reserve.
The transhumance usually begins in May, with the arrival of the great rains that move from west to east. However, not all animals move at the same time, but over time, with a migration formed by a large number of herds of herbivores.
Each herd can number as many as 80,000, but most are smaller. In June, the wildebeest move along the tracks of the Serengeti plain towards the Grumeti River and the Western Corridor, splitting into two main streams: one crossing the Grumeti River and heading north-east towards the river and the Masai Mara reserve, the other following the course of the river and heading north-west towards Lake Victoria. When the herds arrive at the rivers, one of the most famous and bloody natural spectacles can be witnessed: the passage of the herds through the crocodile-infested fords of the Grumeti and Mara rivers. Anything can happen, but sometimes you have to wait for hours or days before all hell breaks loose. Zebras and wildebeests bravely do not give up their migration, but many of them perish. The muddy rivers and the strong currents make the ford even more treacherous, but instinct prevails and often joint action is what saves most of the beasts.
On the banks, you can also see felines, ready to wait for the exhausted animals, and vultures, ready to feed on the carcasses. It is an epic documentary scenario, which those who love Africa cannot help but dream of experiencing at least once in their lives.
(photo: courtesy Paolo Torchio)
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