If a thought of wild Africa evokes a picture of plains, predators and prey, it’s largely thanks to the Mara-Serengeti landscape in East Africa. We explore why the Mara has become the Mecca for Wildlife.
The Mara-Serengeti is a grassland-based ecosystem. That means you can contain in your vision an unobstructed view of the savannah until it meets the grand illusion called the horizon. There land and sky seem to kiss each other in an unusually calm passion.
This soil knows not the confines of walls. So you’ll live the unique experience of observing wildlife, and in all that openness, happily lose your sense of direction.
2. The Great Migration
Calling the Mara-Serengeti the ‘Mecca of Wildlife’ is neither exaggeration nor flattery. One of the greatest natural spectacles you can witness on the planet – the Great Migration – takes place here. The presence of prey (the herbivores) and the thriving predator population offers breathtaking action and invaluable animal behaviour.
Chief protagonists of this real-life drama are 1.3 million wildebeest and 360,000 Thomson’s gazelle. Breaking the monotony of design are the stripes of nearly 200,000 zebra. The rest of the cast is composed by eland numbering upwards of 10,000. All you need to behold this astounding sight is to be there!
3. Diversity of Wildlife
The composition of grassland, acacia and bushes nurtures a vast array of wildlife in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. One of Africa’s Endemic Bird Areas, it’s known to be home to more than 500 avian species. About 16 species of antelope, apart from the big cats and the myriad of wildebeests and zebras, also live and thrive here.
This part of Africa opens our eyes to the vastness of the world and to the great beauty of other forms of life. It makes us realise how important it is not to get tangled in the details of human life. And perhaps it is such realisations that in turn enrich our lives, making us more human and more open to manifold experiences we would otherwise miss living if not in Africa.
4. Photography Opportunities
And for all these reasons, the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is a sublime place for wildlife photography. In the expanses of the grasslands in Masai Mara, Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania, the opportunities for making images of diverse wildlife are limitless. Adding to the lack of trees is the amazing weather. Animals aren’t any skittish either, so photographing them can be as delightful as it gets.
In the heavenly light that bathes the open Earth and everything on it, the act of making images can be something akin to a prayer – an informed, intuitive act of surrender to all the beauty that surrounds you.