October 25, 2018 | By Caroline Abele
Last month I had the privilege of traveling to Tanzania with three friends. Upon returning from a trip, I like to ask the question, “What was my favorite part? Here is my answer: the crossing of the wildebeest on the Mara River.
Our day began with us quietly waiting in our Land Rover, observing the actions of the migrating wildebeest. They would group up at the edge of the cliff leading into the water with us holding our breath thinking, “This is it … they are going to the edge of the water!” only to have them move back to nibbling grass in the Savannah. All day long we would check the mood of the wildebeest, the crowd of Land Rovers looked like people waiting for fireworks at the Fourth of July.
Late in the afternoon we received word they were grouping again at the edge and suddenly the word spread like fire … they were going!!!! All Land Rovers raced to the edge of the river to secure a prime spot to watch 1,000 wildebeest cross the river. The wildebeest raced down the cliff with dust flying, and one by one they did a racing dive into the water. They were in single-file, racing through the water in hopes of not being caught by the crocodiles that were waiting patiently for one to stumble or tire.
The crossing took over 10 minutes of constant movement and we were lucky to not witness a wildebeest losing their life to a croc. One baby wildebeest made the crossing only to find his mother had stayed on the other side. The baby was in a state of panic not knowing what to do and then decided to go back across. You could hear the gasp of disbelief from the Land Rovers as this seemed a certain death, but as he made it to the other side and was reunited with his mother, a big cheer went up from the crowd.
This crossing was the only one during our stay and was a memory of a lifetime.