One of the highlights of any safari to the Serengeti is seeing a herd of wildebeest crossing a river. A thousand or more animals line up on the far bank of the river and then all it takes is one or two bold ones to trigger the rush. Dust flies into the air and creates back-lit clouds, the wildebeest plunge into the water, and swim across to climb the other bank. Sometimes the risk doesn’t pay off – a crocodile takes one or a weak one stumbles and gets carried away by the current – but the sheer size of the herd dictates that you will see massive numbers of wildebeest emerge on the near bank, fur appearing black from being soaked in the water.
On March 16th, our group drove to sunset at Lake Ndutu, an area just off the southern tip of the Serengeti where the famed migration is at that time of year. Lake Ndutu is packed with flamingos but I noticed this group of six wading together very tightly and followed them with my lens for several minutes. My patience paid off because, suddenly, they formed a line and started running. I pressed the shutter button as the first in line spread its wings to take flight. Seconds later, they were all in the air.