A GLIMPSE INTO THE AFRICAN MIGRATION SEASON
I recently returned to Africa in August to lead my second safari of 2016. This trip was for the incredible migration season, arguably the greatest annual event in the animal kingdom. No matter how many times one has witnessed the migration it fills you with awe. Each day brings with it new adventures and a glimpse into the real life behavior and challenges of animals that call the Masai Mara their home. Despite the greatest efforts of directors, I have never seen a TV program or movie that comes close to duplicating the experience of witnessing this adrenaline filled action first hand. A poet writes a verse, but the reader does not see the mind of the author, they only catch a glimpse. So too it is with any attempt to convey the true African experience in a video production, no matter how well it is executed it still falls short. Certainly one can get a sense of it, but it just simply cannot do it justice. Knowing this and in full disclosure of the same, I will share with you in brief some snapshots from my experience of life in the Mara. Though it is certainly not sufficient, one cannot help but try to convey the marvel of this exceptional event.
Here in the African grasslands great misconceptions are proved false, Lions once thought to be the king of the jungle are shown subject to the gentle giants that we call Elephants.
Scale becomes relative to your perception when a towering Masai Giraffe walks into the scene, dwarfing the Zebras that just a moment before seemed so large.
The most unlikely of characters become the hero of the hour as a wiry, brave mother Warthog accomplishes the impossible in warding off the attack of four Cheetahs attempting to capture one of her three small piglets.
The struggle between life and death, grim though it may be, is revealed as the harmonious circle of life. The animals that make this place their home maintain the perfect balance here in the African wilds. Without the Wildebeest the population of Crocodiles would surely drop off drastically and the absence of Crocodiles would lead to the plains of the Mara being over-run with Wildebeest to the point that mass numbers would assuredly starve.
The incredibly well camouflaged Leopard is a challenge to locate due to a stunning vanishing act, it merely walks into the tall grass and disappears into its surroundings, lost from sight.
Despite their drab colors and simplistic behavior, one finds a new found respect for the Gnu after watching a Wildebeest dance in the late afternoon rain showers. They quickly shed their perceived lazy demeanor and race about the pains in celebration of the fresh rains that have fallen.
Expressions of friendship and affection are displayed here between wild beasts in ways that would put to shame many of our own race. Despite their identity as an apex predator, there is no question about the love and harmony between two Cheetah siblings.
Should you have the chance I cannot encourage you enough to embrace the opportunity and go experience this incredible event. You will see the cycle of life as it unfolds and write your own story to share once you depart. I’ll be returning there again in 2017 to lead my Premium African Migration Safari, if you’d like more information you’ll find it here at this link.
If you’d like to see a collection of images from my recent trip please visit my Africa – Masai Mara Portfolio.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. – Nathaniel
Dawn of the Lion | Africa
Scars of Life | Lion
Whispers In The Grass | Leopard
Lofty Ambitions | Giraffe
Seduction Of The Savana | Africa
© 2016 Nathaniel Smalley Photography – All rights reserved.