Monday, November 8, 2010

Waiting to Cross

    By Chediel Mnzava

For more than twenty years, my clients had been hoping not only to see the Migration, but also to see the wildebeest crossing the Mara River in the northern Serengeti. On 5th Sept 2010, I met them at Lake Manyara airstrip but it was not until four days later that we got to the northern Serengeti, as we spent two days exploring Ngorongoro Crater and the Highlands and another two days exploring central Serengeti.
We finally got to northern Serengeti on the fifth day. With our fingers firmly crossed, hoping to catch a crossing, we set out for the Mara River to see if anything was happening there.

We found a big herd of wildebeest gathered by the river, with more coming from the plains behind to join them. The pressure from the collective herd was growing and they wanted to cross but were undecided if this was the best time or place. So they kept following the river downstream and we kept following them, from a distance, so as not to panic them. After some time, they started to pick up speed. I raised my binoculars to my eyes to see what was going on. "They are crossing" I said briefly, so as not to waste time talking. We rushed to the crossing point and there it was, a perfect crossing. The herd was huge; the river bank high; the river deep and the current strong, but their instint was definitely stronger than all of that and they kept running down to the crossing point from all directions and they kept crossing.

We watched this drama going on for rmore than 40 minutes non-stop. We could not have asked for more. The clients felt their dream had come true.  "I have been involved in several animal counts in southern Africa but never in my life have I seen so many animals as I have seen here, and on this entire trip. Anyone who wants to see game should come to Tanzania, you have a great country."

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