This was the day that we saw what we came for – The Great Migration! We started the day with a beautiful sunrise at our camp before we left. Before we got to the river crossing, we saw one of our leopard friends from the day before. When we pulled up to the river, it was probably only about 10 minutes and then the one wildebeest made a decision and it was on! It was almost like someone turned on a faucet – the wildebeest and zebra poured down the bank to the water in giant clouds of dust. Some stopped for a drink while others continued up the opposite bank and into fresh grasses waiting to be grazed. There were no crocodiles or hippos in this portion of the river, so it was a peaceful crossing for the herd. Our jeep was positioned right where the herd came up the river bank after the crossing, so we had a perfect view of the crossing aftermath. Most made it unscathed, but we did see a few limping after they finished crossing. Mike took this amazing timelapse video of the crossing from our vantage point:
Mike also took this video of the crossing:
After the crossing, we drove for just a short while when we stumbled upon a male and female lion laying at the edge of the river bank. Our guide said that it’s common to see cats out when the herds are crossing because it’s very easy prey for them. The cats come to the food instead of having to work too hard for it! The lions appeared to be honeymoon lions, but that only really went one way. The female kept circling the male, trying to get him to mate, but he wasn’t interested. It was kind of cute watching her try, though.
As we meandered back to camp, we came across some more lounging lions and a large family of elephants who were bathing in water and dust. There were several babies in the family and they were absolutely adorable. It was so funny seeing the adult elephants and the babies coming out of the water – the adults had a water line like halfway up their bodies and the babies were completely wet! The family crossed the road and we got to see a juvenile male elephant pretend charge a jeep and trumpet to show us how fierce he was! Mike caught it on video and I love watching the elephant swing his trunk around ferociously.
The last eventful animal sighting we had was two giraffes necking. We saw two giraffes close to each other and stopped to watch. The giraffes started circling one another and rubbing their necks together. It was mesmerizing to watch, like this intricate rehearsed dance. At one point, one mounted the other, so I thought we were actually seeing the giraffe mating ritual. However, the two giraffes were both male! What looked to us like a romantic dalliance was actually an assertion of dominance. It was really interesting!
Between seeing a leopard (again), the migration, the lions, the elephants, birds, and the giraffes, this was an incredibly eventful day!