The Wildebeest Crossing the Mara

My tour to Tanzania had to be the highlight of the 2011 schedule.  That trip allowed me to realize a childhood dream of witnessing the crossing of the Mara River by the wildebeest.  Many of you will recognize the image above as it was my favorite of 2011!  That spectacle left such an impression on me that I am dividing my Tanzania tour report into three sections starting with just images of the crossing!!!    The group and I were fortunate enough to witness 5 crossings, each lasting about an hour or more!  Trying to capture the true feeling of the crossing proved to be quite challenging because the mass of bodies was truly astounding.  We started out just seeing the herd on the Kenya side and watched them gather in huge numbers… the thousands…..milling around on the far shore.  Once one brave/foolish soul jumped in (there were crocs in there!) the herd followed and didn’t stop!  Below are a few images that typify some of the action.  Deciding where to compose is probably the hardest and where the Sigma 300-800 really shined!

We had opportunities both at sunrise and at sunset.  On a few occasions I tried to isolate them against the darker backgrounds but always when they wer leaping!

Watching the herd struggle across the deep water is just mind-boggling!  Given all the danger in the water, with the crocks lurking and the possibility of getting caught in rocks, I just wondered what compelled them to cross back and forth?  The grass and rains looked like they were on the other side……so I don’t think it was a case of the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence”.  I’m not sure they figured out why, but it is  breathtaking to watch unfold!

One thing I didn’t realize was that there were so many Hippo’s in the Mara River!  We actually saw a wildebeest pushed into a hippo and fortunately, hippo’s are vegetarian!  I tried my hand at a few pan blurs as the herd headed down the banks just for a bit of variety.  As I work on new ones in the coming weeks, I will post them.

I’ll be posting some more Tanzania tour images in the next few weeks showing some of the diversity of animals and birds.  You can e-mail me:  if you want to be put on the list for the 2013 tour.


15 Responses to “The Wildebeest Crossing the Mara”

  1. Great series Roman! I hope to make one of these trips someday.

  2. Incredible images as usual. No kidding really awesome!

  3. pkurywczak Says:

    Absolutely breathtaking!!!

  4. Toby Spector Says:

    That was fantastic!!! I am living vicariously through your wonderful images. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for posting more images from this day. You really captured some exciting moments. Makes me want to go back.

  6. WOW, Roman…it’s easy to see why the image of the wildebeest crossing was your favorite of 2011…that’s a life-time shot in my opinion. It’s truly spectacular and it almost looks like a painting with that light. Your trips are the best…I’m going to save my pennies so someday I can go on this trip!

  7. Amazing and Stellar images. Never had the good fortune to visit Africa and photograph such amazing scenes… but your images just transported me there. That’s what is all about and as usual you did a great job at it! New item for by bucket list.

  8. Hi Roman, the above images certain convey the mass hysteria that these animal make prior & during the crossing and the first two images show that. They know they need to make the crossing, however they also know the dangers that lay in wait. Incredible to think they will doing the same thing six months later in reverse. Amazing that herds of 20-30,000+ massing to cross, can soon quickly disappear in a very short space of time, especially when you least expect it 🙂

    You need to add sound to these shots to add the icing on the cake.


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