Great thunderous sky mountains lollygag in the sky. Lazily swallow the sun clad hills, swathing them in immense clouds. Grand Cumulus Nimbus pregnant with precipitation soar above the drenched plains. Broad nostrils inhale the earthy traces off the first rains. Strident exclamations determine the twisting cadence and rhythm of the migrating herds. Impulsive movement, resolute in character, directs great trains of wildebeest toward the river.
Northward bound the clamorous cloud formations draw the long meandering lines to the Masai Mara. Then again the hills of Wogakuria obscured by dark driving rain lead the persistent gnu south along worn trails. Crossing the river once more!
The established routine, habit established over time. Countless animals perish in the Mara River; traumatic instants expose the vulnerable calves and elderly, swept away in the swift waters. Time and time again they return to the waters edge crossing in pursuit of the great ponderous “sky mountains”!
I have sat and watched a great many river crossings over recent years. This year has been quite unusual with a high swift river sweeping the lines of crossing wildebeest into great bows. Stretched from one bank to the other. Unfortunate youngsters swept off along the river and often the unwitting prey of the ancient river dragons. Crocodile! Foundering herds scraping, crawling and leaping up the steep riverbanks. We are fortunate to have campsite a short distance from the river set in a small woodland stretched along the backbone of one of the hills stemming from Wogakuria. Shadowing valleys that feed into the river.
The herds seek security on the short grass of the hilltops around the camp at night, hoping too we will with our lamps and cooking fires keep the Lion at bay. In the morning the incessant chant “gnnuuuu gnnnnuuuu” heralds movement for the river woodlands. A quick scan of the horizon soon points us in the way of the migrating herds. Before long we seek out a suitable vantage point from which to observe the comings and goings in the general area of the preferred crossing point of the day. Tumultuous sounds accompany the initial foray to the riverbank, which often proves to disturbing turning the herds on their heel. Slow deliberation and the need the absolute want, return to the herd. The approach steadfast, often aided by an influx of fast approaching herds frequently twists the anxious animals and heralds the crashing vigorous drive across the river. Apprehension be damned! Here I go!