Declared by nature, wildlife and photography enthusiasts as one of the greatest spectacles on earth, East Africa’s Great Migration is something that just has to be seen to be believed. The sight, not to mention the incredible and unmistakable sound, of more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 500 000 zebra and 200 000 Thompson’s gazelle on the move is mind-blowing. Undeniably one of Africa’s most sought-after travel adventures, the annual wildebeest migration is truly a once-in-a lifetime experience that should be on every wanderlust adventurer’s bucket list.
The Great Migration is a gruelling, unforgiving and never-ending trek, as enormous herds of grunting gnus forever traverse the endless Serengeti/Mara plains in relentless pursuit of lush new vegetation to graze. We’ve all seen it on countless wildlife documentaries, however, to witness its sheer magnitude in person is indescribable.
This world-famous journey happens all year, every year, yet no two years are ever the same in terms of timing and routing. The animals’ path is entirely dictated by the ever-unpredictable Mother Nature herself, whose constantly changing rainfall and drought patterns either entice the herds to new pastures or drive them off quickly in search of greener ones. The one thing that does remain constant is the fact that curious travellers from all around the world continue to flock to Kenya and Tanzania to watch in awe as the exciting drama unfolds.
Tirelessly seeking lush new shoots of fresh grass to munch on, these hungry, roaming herbivores literally never stop moving as they traverse enormous plains, hurl themselves off steep, rocky riverbanks and brave the dangerous hippo and crocodile-infested rapids of both the Grumeti and Mara Rivers. Of course this continuous mass of thundering hooves is forever being stalked by predators lurking nearby, giving onlookers the most jaw-dropping, action-packed wildlife sightings imaginable.
Seeing is believing, and you’ll defin itely want to take some postcard-perfect photographs of the unfathomable herds and nail-biting action so that your friends and family will actually believe your stories once you get back home.
And so, with the dramatic Mara River crossings now in full swing, we asked two of our renowned professional photographic guides, Grant Telfer and Andrew Schoeman, for some expert advice on how best to photograph the Great Migration. Here are their tips. We hope they will help you capture the magnitude and the magnificence of this natural phenomenon.
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