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My First Ever Wildebeest Crossing I Witnessed

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael 4 Comments

I am so blessed to say that last year I got to witness one of the worlds greatest wildlife phenomenons for the very first time. This experience has been a dream of mine from a very young age and this wildlife gathering if I may, has been listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa;

The Great Migration

This great spectacle of nature is an iconic safari option for avid travelers, nature lovers and those who want a little more from their African experience. The Great Migration is made up of almost two million wildebeest and over 20 000 plains game migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti to the south of Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of lush grazing grounds and life-giving water. This treacherous odyssey is dictated by the seasons and where the rains are, the wildebeest are not far behind. This epic journey from north to south spans almost 3000 kilometers and is virtually endless.

As mentioned, my dream came true last year & I have the privilege of making this dream a reality again this year but in this blog I’d like to share my very first wildebeest crossing with you.

This was the very first crossing image I had ever photographed;

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So no fire works, nor anywhere close to an award winning image but it was my vert first image of a crossing!!!

The emotions I was feeling on that day is indescribable and only fully understood once experienced.

Ill try and keep this to a short version of the story as had already spent time in the Amboseli, Lake Nakuru & Lake Naivasha before arriving in the Masai Mara.

The July Big Cats & Tuskers Safari Itinerary was molded in a away to start in the Amboseli & end in the Masai Mara in the hopes of our guests getting the chance of seeing a crossing or to easily extend their safari int0 our first week of the Great Migration Safari.

My very first crossing all happened on the penultimate morning of the Big Cats & Tuskers Safari and both my guests and I were blown away by what was happening.

As I mentioned my emotions and excitement were running wild but I kept my cool as best I could. I helped my guests set up their cameras as the mass of wildebeest on the banks of the Mara River edged their was closer to the access point. The wildebeest in the front of the herd could not handle the pressure from the eager beasts behind them and the crossing was ON as the ran down to the waters edge.

I remember very well telling my guests to just SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT! By the time I picked my camera up the front end of the herd were all testing the waters slowly being emerged by a cloud of silk like dust as seen in the image above.

I could see the rest of the build up continuously pushing forward and so I told my guests to get ready for the first animal to jump because when it does the rest will follow and;

IT HAPPENED!

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All the images above are in the order in which they where created, a bit all over the place yes? Wildebeest crossing to the beasts on the bank, landscape orientation to portraits??

The reason for it because ones mind is everywhere!

I figured that photographing your first crossing is extremely difficult believe it or not. You do not know what to photograph, where to look, what to listen to, what to smell and while this is all happening you can feel the vibrations of their hooves cutting into the hard crusted banks of the Mara River and with this lures the monster crocs of the Mara swimming upstream to make their pick on its next victim.

Overwhelming to say the least!

Throughout this 20 minute astonishing, somewhat “unreal” dream come true of a sighting I just kept pointing out good photographic opportunities to my guests continuously bellowing out these words, SHOOT, SHOOT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

A magical day indeed and I cannot wait for this years season that starts in the next few weeks!!

I hope YOU will join me one day soon because all the stories, images or videos in this world will never do this experience justice!

I look forward to changing the way YOU see the world!

Big Cats & Tuskers Safari

Come and join us on one of our most popular itineraries, If you’re looking for a ‘best of Kenya’ safari this is the one for you! Few African animals inspire like the big cats & large elephants. This safari is specifically designed to showcase these animals within some of the most iconic wildlife destinations in Kenya.

More Info

Great Migration Safari

Join us in one of the world’s most iconic destinations, the Masai Mara. This area teems with wildlife & by far one of the best wildlife photography destinations in the world. During August & September over 2 million animals gather on its plains setting the scene for one of nature’s most incredible spectacles and undoubtedly the best wildlife and photographic experience in Africa.

More Info

Until then;

Happy Snapping!

Michael

About the Author

Michael Laubscher

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Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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Comments 4

  1. Lianne

    The only thing I can really say is; I CANNOT wait for the Great Migration 2019 season!
    Hope my first ever crossing will be as good as yours!

    1. Post
      Author
      Michael Laubscher

      Great to know! We are just as excited to welcome you to the Masai Mara. Lets hope so! I am sure your in for a magnificent time!

  2. Mandeep

    Amazing shots, Michael. I can truly relate to what you mentioned… the first crossing sighting is surreal and overwhelming!

    1. Post
      Author
      Michael Laubscher

      Hello Mandeep

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog and the kind words. Surreal & overwhelming indeed!

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