wildebeest on the serengeti

the serengeti airport.

the serengeti ecosystem, in the north of tanzania and the southwest of kenya, stretches over some 12,000 square miles. the serengeti is the home of the maasai, and the name itself comes from the maasai word “serengit,” which means “endless plain.” apart from a few rocky outcroppings, a few forests, and the rare hill, the name describes the area pretty well: unlike ngorongoro crater, there is almost nothing to stop you from looking miles into any direction …

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… that is, nothing except wildebeest. january is prime wildebeest migrating season, and the plains were full of them. by one estimate, 1.2 million wildebeest will travel through the serengeti during their annual migration, along with 750,000 zebra and hundreds of thousands of other game. we surely saw hundreds of thousands of them during our stay. (i lost count after eight.)

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i have more photos of wildebeest, but to avoid gnu overload, i’ll save those for another post, and end with this one of a wildebeest in full gallop instead.  500mm lens, 1/15 second at f/27 while panning – a happy accident.


ngorongoro crater – part 2

as i mentioned in the last post, the big five safari animals are the cape buffalo, the lion, the black rhinoceros, the elephant, and the leopard.  we saw plenty of elephants.

fig. 1b. the same elephant.
two shots of the same elephant.

generally, we saw the elephants in singles or pairs, but at one point we came across an entire breeding herd. the light was fairly harsh, so the shot isn’t quite what i’d have liked, but you have to take these things as you find them.

if there were leopards in the ngorongoro crater, we didn’t see any.  however, the real draw – in fact, the reason we were in tanzania at all – was the wildebeest.  also known as gnus, wildebeest migrate through east africa to follow the rains.  over the entire safari, we saw hundreds of thousands of these beasts, although the majority of them were on the serengeti.  we got just a taste of them (so to speak) here.


i took many more photos than just these, of course, but one of the next few blog posts will be stupid with photos of wildebeest, so i’ll leave it here for now.

next: even more critters.