Life on the Mara River, Tanzania

Posted January 13th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

At the northern end of the Serengeti in Tanzania lies the Mara River. The annual wildebeest migration crosses over the Mara river as it heads to the Southern grasslands in Tanzania. The Mara River is an intriguing place because over 1 million animals have to cross the river, and there is a huge predator population lying in wait for tmeals. In November 2010, there was drought in the Southern Serengeti, so many of the wildebeest and zebra were still north near the Mara river. In fact, there were large herds of wildebeest that still hadn’t crossed the river.

It is incredibly fascinating to watch a herd of wildebeest survey the crossing and decide whether or not it should cross. We watched a large herd for quite a few hours and finally gave up since it never decided to cross. They were looking for crocodiles!

Crocodile on the Mara River, Tanzania. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Crocodile on the Mara River, Tanzania. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

When the urge to cross becomes too great, one wildebeest will jump and then the rest of the herd will come surging through. Most make it, but a few unlucky animals don’t.

Wildebeest skull. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Wildebeest skull. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Below are a number of other photographs from the Mara River. The captions tell the rest of the story.

Zebra looking for an opportunity to cross the river. Hippos don't worry about the crocodiles. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Zebra looking for an opportunity to cross the river. Hippos don't worry about the crocodiles. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Wildebeest and zebra mill about, waiting for one of the animals to muster up enough courage to cross the river. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Wildebeest and zebra mill about, waiting for one of the animals to muster up enough courage to cross the river. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

The Mara region is beautiful. Blue skies for as far as the eye can see. The river is murky and brown and hides all kinds of hidden dangers. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

The Mara region is beautiful. Blue skies for as far as the eye can see. The river is murky and brown and hides all kinds of hidden dangers. Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

Hippos are always fighting and arguing with each other. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Hippos are always fighting and arguing with each other. Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8.

Predators are everywhere in the Serengeti. After the wildebeest cross the river, lions are waiting for them to cross their territory. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

Predators are everywhere in the Serengeti. After the wildebeest cross the river, lions are waiting for them to cross their territory. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

This young male lion was with a pride of 15 - 20 other lions. He poked his head out of the bushes to look around, then went right back into the shade for a nap. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

This young male lion was with a pride of 15 - 20 other lions. He poked his head out of the bushes to look around, then went right back into the shade for a nap. Nikon D700, 200-400mm f4.

Jackals hang around the lion prides, looking for leftover scraps. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Jackals hang around the lion prides, looking for leftover scraps. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Baby ostriches with their father. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Baby ostriches with their father. Nikon D300s, 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.



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