We woke up at Northern Wilderness Camp for another early but tasty breakfast and headed off towards the herd we saw yesterday. We found it after an hour or so and it had not yet crossed but instead moved along the Mara River which was guarded by smug crocodiles. It was now simply a game of waiting patiently, but after some time Matthew suggested we could take a chance and check on another herd, of course that meant we may miss both but we trusted Matthew’s gut(?) in this and drove towards the other herd.
On the way we came across a pair of lions which gave around zero fucks that we were there, or at least it felt that way when the male lion got up, walked towards us while we were standing still and then passed us on the side no more than five meters away. I could almost hear Mona’s heart beating and for a brief period considered whether I should back down from the open roof but Matthew were ready to get the car moving if the lion would try to enter the car. Everything went well and we decided we should continue the search for the other herd.
We arrived just in time for the start of a rather impressive herd crossing, and despite more pictures than I’m willing to admit and even some video it’s hard to capture this but to sum it up it was an exhilarating experience watching it to say the least.
The main crossing lasted for just over than 30 minutes – and at times I had to fight the urge to just join in. During the period there were short pauses when the flow of gnus dried up – some animals hesitated so groups (families?) got split up causing sad moo-ing from both sides. So after the main crossing the courageous/reckless ones who had crossed once already did the crazy thing and crossed back again – after having a long look at the 50 or so bodies in the river that got trampled or snagged by crocodiles (which did not miss the opportunity to have a feast). Check the photo above again, those bulbous shapes you see are near the slope on the other side? Those are not rocks…
Once those crossed back and the herd was happily united, more came along from the original direction and suddenly it was fine to cross (again) – so some poor suckers crossed for the third time while we were having our lunch as spectators. As some say in Sweden “Alla skall med!” (Everybody shall join!)
Satiated with gnus for once day we did some game driving along Mara river, not far from the Kenyan border before heading south towards Kati-Kati (another mobile camp than the previous one we learned) in order to position us better for the return drive the day after.
What a day, we also saw some vultures enjoying gnus who did not make it to the river, and of course more elephants and giraffes. There will likely be enough photos from this trip to last me a lifetime of desktop background images. Last but not least we spotted another Leopard, that is part of it – behind legs and a tail but perhaps we could come back tomorrow and check again.
We arrived at Kati-Kati somewhat late only to find out we should go to the other Kati-Kati next to where we were – and signs would of course have been to easy so off we drove again. The “road” to this camp was by good margin the worst we’ve encountered so far. I was pretty convinced that we had taken a wrong turn when we had bushes on both sides and minor vegetation and vague traces of tracks ahead of us. Right about darkness came I spotted some fire a bit further along and yep, we were on the right “track” the whole time. After dinner we were so tired so we skipped showers and fell asleep.