Close to 250,000 Wildebeests die every year in the plains of East Africa. The majority of these lose their lives in the process of the Great Migration, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Wildebeests travel hundreds of miles following rainfall patterns, in search of food and water. Over 1.5 million wildebeests participate in the Great Migration. Witnessing this spectacular pattern of Mother Nature has more to offer than just watching a horde of herbivores trod the ground. The death of some of the wildebeests in the Great Migration offers an opportunity for tourists to witness the action-packed episode food chain.
You have not been to the Mara if you have missed the Great Migration of the wildebeests from Serengeti, Tanzania to Maasai Mara, Kenya. The Great Migration, which is one of the 7 Seven Wonders of the World, is a spectacular site that gives Kenya both thumbs up in places to consider as tourism destinations. Nowhere in the world can you witness a vast number of animals engaged in unison activity like this. Between June and October, roughly 1.5 million wildebeests cross the Mara river from Tanzania to Kenya in search for greener pastures determined by the rainfall patterns. It is also during this time of the year that the Great Migration serves as a calving period for the wildebeests.
There I was, aboard a bus full of tourists, heading to Nyeri town to see the country's pride-Mount Kenya. I was the only local in the bus and thus the reference point for the tourists to direct all their questions. The Mexican and the Americans were particularly inquisitive. Had I been to Mount Kenya before, they asked? Why not yet I was married to a girl from Central Kenya? Are people in Central Kenya friendly? Would we see some Lions? What was Mount Kenya like? Is it true that it has snow on its caps? I answered these questions with remarkable nonchalance as if to brag that this beautiful country was just another usual day in my life. Little did I know that my bravado would dissolve in the breathtaking view of what I was going to see in a few minutes.
Poaching is to animals what genocide is to humanity. Rarely are we led to think of it like that but it is true. If animals shared the intellectual capacity to voice their cries, hearts would break. Despite the rise of anti-poaching organisations such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Born Free Foundation (BFF), the poaching cancer still grows. While not everyone can assist these organisations actively, another stance can be considered to fight poaching. One of these ways is through tapping into the cultural activities of communities.
In the past few months, Kenya's National Parks and Game Reserves have witnessed grisly sights of elephants and rhinos gunned down by poachers. These innocent animals are brutally killed, largely for their ivory tusks and horns. Part of the tusks and horns are normally buried deep under the skin, hence the poachers leave these animals horribly disfigured after hacking their heads apart in order to get the tusks. Lives of healthy and beautiful animals, with potential of living up to 70 years, cut short because of human greed. A sad picture indeed!
The movie starts with animals, predominantly elephants and giraffes, strolling across the grassy savannah with the rugged volcanic mountain sitting majestically against the landscape. Little Alakay is dancing and playing elatedly with his father – who is seeking to get his attention, but with minimal success. These are the opening scenes of the infamous sequel of the Madagascar-Escape 2 Africa.
There has been a notion that 'Wildebeests are scarcely more prone to injure their own species than man is to oppress and injure his fellow-man.' Indeed, considering what tempers we have, and what tempers exist in others, and what frequent occasions of interference we have with each other it is no wonder that such a concept would hold true in our world today. This has previously been demonstrated in various countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria - in the past years, Kenya included, especially where elections have been hotly contested between two rival political parties or leaders. This being an election year in Kenya, perhaps the biggest concerned for the myriads of regional and international visitors and tourists is whether it is safe to travel to the country as it gears up for elections on March 4 and or April 11 2013?
Kenya's most popular Game Reserve - The Masai Mara National reserve - is located within the Great Rift Valley to the South-West of the country. It boarders with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and is renowned for the passionate life-and-death struggle that takes place at the swollen Mara river from July to October each year. This is the Great Migration of herds. A most spectacular phenomenon of the natural world that has been affirmed as one of the "New seven wonders of the world."
Viewing of this great spectacle is largely determined by one's accommodation in the Mara. There are many eco-friendly lodges and camps within the Mara that offer this rare opportunity. A visit to the Masai Mara National Reserve will undoubtedly spoil you of choice on where to stay – but not to worry, here are some considerable options.
Deep within Kenya's lowlands lies a sanctuary where a lioness 'Kamunyak' once adopted a young Oryx calf, a land where nomadic pastoralists and their livestock co-exist freely with wildlife and the Nyiro River meanders its course lazily across the milieu. These are the Samburu National Reserve, Shaba and Buffalo Springs Game Reserves - the best of Kenyan parks for landscape, photography and scenery lovers.