Following an over night stop over in Nairobi, we headed for the Masai Mara, just a 45 minute flight from Wilson Airport, carrying camera gear only, other luggage had gone ahead on a truck. Our aim to witness the transmigration of the wildebeest.
Leaving the camp before sunrise and driving through the cool morning air did nothing to prepare us for the sight of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of wildebeest grazing on the wide-open plains. The herds spread for as far as you could see. The gentle grunts of the animals signaling that all was well and there were no active predators in the vicinity.
In the Mara Triangle, the area to the west of the Masai Mara, there is a coalition of cheetah, known as the Five Brothers, such a coalition is a extremely rare. Because they are five in number and all must be fed, they are prolific hunters, and are very effective. As we arrived they had just brought down a wildebeest and were making the most of the kill before the gathering vultures alerted other and bigger predators to the opportunity of a free meal. One or two of the brothers stood guard as the rest ate, alternating every few minutes. A well practiced routine.
The Masai Guard advised me that we were 14 miles from camp, ‘would you be able to walk back’ I asked. ‘yes, no problem’, ‘what about the lions’, ‘not afraid of the lions, but the leopards….’
Back on the trail of the wildebeest, looking for the spectacular river crossing shot. We came across a large herd queuing to make the dash across the Mara River, each beast willing to make the crossing, and risk the crocodiles, to reach the more succulent grass on the other side. The animals formed an un-orderly queue to launch themselves into the water, totally oblivious to the leopard hidden behind the rocks of the riverbank, the accomplished ambush predator.