Amazing Migration

It is a warm, dusty day in the Serengeti.  The soft, early morning light has evaporated into a heat haze that envelopes the truck, coating me with dust and sweat and zapping my energy.

Which is fine, since it is about this time of day that I generally put my camera down and simply enjoy the wildlife.  And daydream.

I’m definitely a daydreamer.

Today I imagine a massive column of soldiers marching across the horizon.  The heat shimmers, the ground rumbles, there is the smell of death in the air (or maybe it’s just excrement and soldier sweat).  I’m seeing Sauron’s siege of Minas Tirith.

As engaged as I am with the battle, I barely notice my driver ease our truck toward the marching horde.

Until…

With a startled realization, I see that we are facing a herd of thousands of wildebeest and zebras, milling to our right, as if worried about crossing the faint trail we’ve been following.  Five minutes pass, ten minutes, the mass of beasts swells.  Soon they will have no choice but to press forward, simply from the pressure exerted by the grey bodies advancing from behind.

And suddenly they go.

At first, just a few adventurous wildebeest sprint past us, some behind, some in front.  Soon we are surrounded, an insignificant outcropping in an inexorable tide.

It’s amazing.  And unforgettable.

Time stands still as the herd moves by.  Some animals stop to check us out but most are oblivious.  My driver tells me there are over a million animals in the migration. That this herd, in fact, is just a small branch of the larger group.

Though I capture a few dozen images, most of the time I stand, transfixed, like a hobbit on a rock safely ignored by the waves of armies passing below and about him.

This is my favourite image from that day.  I think it comes closest to capturing the scale of the moment, the attentiveness of the zebra, and the mindless progression of wildebeest.  Please check out this image and others I have for sale by clicking here.

- Mike