The arrival of the migrants

Grumeti | May 2019

The many wildebeest pushed in from the East, crossing the great Grumeti River and spreading out onto the central grasslands. Excited, we followed them. The columns were many thousands of metres long and we had decided that we would try and make our way to the front of the columns for a great photographic opportunity.

As we were nearing the front of the column, I noticed a single lioness lying beneath a grewia bush. She was directly ahead of the moving column of wildebeest. I quickly turned to my guests and told them what I had seen and explained to them what might happen at this point. My guests were on the edge of their seats!

We positioned ourselves at a good distance as to not influence the behaviour of the animals – we were only observing so switched off the engine and watched. The herd kept on coming and we could see the female lion crawling into a little valley of tall grass. She disappeared from view briefly but we knew that she was right there, hidden in the grass. We prepared for the explosive ambush.

After five minutes or so the wildebeest shot off in various directions as the lioness made her move. As the dust settled we observed the lioness with her kill. What a moment!

As if a single wildebeest was not enough, or it was simply her killer instincts, she could not resist the temptation to continue hunting. She left the first wildebeest and immediately began chasing others.

This way and that way she cut the wildebeest herd, trying to decide which one to go for but in the end she was not successful. She returned to her initial kill and we watched her begin to feed.


Image by George Tolchard