The March of the Wildebeest

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 1 Comment

A loud volume of grunting noises permeated the air, drowning out all other sounds as it kept all attention to its reason for being. Vultures spanned and glided the open sky, dipping over the giant moving black mass here and there, resulting in the grunting becoming more frantic which each close encounter.

The heaving black mass moved to and fro from the Mara River banks and took on the motion of waves. A dance of life and death was imminent, and the participants on the land and observers from the sky were well aware of what was to come.

The tension-filled atmosphere was so intense, it began to seem almost tangible. The electrifying quality that began with these beasts began to spread itself out from the wildebeest and started to filter and cling deeply into all who where obessively watching the gathering and waiting for the inevitable crossing.

Man, predator and scavenger all took on the position of the voyeur to an ancient ritual.

@ Penny Robartes - Wildlife and Nature Photographer

And then it happened…

Whether it was the from the build up of wildebeest spurning the earlier arrivals on the river’s edge forward, the internal tension to cross to greener pastures making all dangers seem redundant, or all the other aspects, we will never be quite sure. With a roll of an eye signalling the anxiety of the beast, one took the plunge.

From then on it was like black ink pouring into water.
“The crossing has started!” exclaimed Joseph with a wide smile and eyes shining with true excitement.

It had started. This was the first crossing I had ever witnessed, and there is no way I will forget the feeling, the atmosphere, the moment. The intensity of the crossing was overwhelming. I felt like pinching myself as I was witnessing this natural spectacle from the opposite bank of the Mara River, not from across the country through my TV.

Heart thumping erratically  in my throat, I quickly brought my camera to my eye, but only after taking a few moments to experience the true enormity of what has occurring in front of me. The Great Migration has been happening annually for thousands of years, each heralding their own survivors and victors, voyeurs and participants.

Right there, right at that moment, I was overwhelmed by the utter privilege for being able to be in the great Mara Triangle, watching this equally great natural event.


How could I not absorb and feel the wild, unrestrained energy and emotion that was surrounding us.

Knowing that I am going to be there with Andrew Beck and our guests in only 3 days, those emotions that have been lying dormant are starting a twitch and stretch in awakening.

Bring on the March of the Wildebeest.

Penny Robartes

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