by Chelat Venugopalan
It was drizzling in Masai Mara that evening. There were not many animals in sight. After a long drive and sightseeing, we were heading back to our camps, as there was an unsaid rule that no one should stay out after sunset. Suddenly Jacob, our guide, pulled over our vehicle and exclaimed, “Look!”. We turned around and witnessed one of the most remarkable scenes.
The crimson sky, the setting sun at the horizon with silhouettes of all sorts of species – big and small. The ground vibrated with the raucous pounding hooves of stampeding wildebeests. Without hesitation, I pressed the shutter and what unfolded was a photographer’s ultimate dream capture! The scene was lit with all its orange and red glow intact.At the time of the Great Migration, the animals journeying in search of green pastures in Kenya is a sight to behold. While the spectacle of the Great Migration is enthralling and mind-blowing, the mass exodus is triggered by rainfall happening over 50 km away.
The rains lay a trail to newly grown pastures, which is the fodder for the meal-hunting wildebeests. It is believed that this phenomenon is an intuitive reaction of animals to lightning and thunderstorms in the distance. They usually start in the month of July, but the accuracy of the timing depends on nature. This long journey entails unforeseen dangers for these hooved travelers along the way. The most sought-after moment of this event is the crossing of wildebeests in large numbers across the Mara River. The months from July to November are traditionally thought of as the best season to sight this massive migration of wildebeests. The Great Migration in Kenya is undeniably an extraordinary but natural spectacle and a remarkable experience to witness.
An accountant by profession and photographer by passion, Venu is a Keralite and currently working in UAE, Dubai. Venu started his journey with a film camera, Afga Click 3,120 film roll. He loves to travel and experience different people, cultures and photograph them but he is fond of the wildness of Mother Nature.