Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 13/07/2011

Quit Horsing Around.


I can honestly say (and would I lie to you, Dear Reader?) I’ve never, ever seen as many Zebras in one place. Actually I’ve probably never cumulatively seen as many Zebras in all the zoos I’ve visited (and I’ve visited a lot!) – the hills, in fact, were alive with the sounds of braying. It is thought that some 500,000 zebra visit or are resident in the Masai Mara each year. These striped beasts are the first animals to cross from the Serengeti to the fresh new feeding grounds in the Mara around the end of June each year and following soon after are the 1.5million wilderbeast. I’ve mentioned already that we saw a huge number of these animals, probably around 100,000 but this pales to the vast numbers that were apparently seen on the far side of the park.

We were lucky enough to go to the crossing point where a very famous bit of footage was filmed many moons ago for a wildlife program featuring David Attenborough. Sadly the only animals present were a sole water buffalo and a bloat of hippos (other collective nouns for hippos are pod, herd or huddle) – I don’t mean that these animals in themselves weren’t interesting, just that I didn’t get to see all the wildebeest crossing the Mara river. I’ve plenty of photos of both hippos and water buffalo that I’ll be posting in the coming weeks.

One of the weirdest thing I saw whilst away, which I couldn’t quite get my head round, was a dead zebra. It wasn’t the fact that the animal was dead, it was the fact it was road kill. We’d been travelling for around 5 hours from the Masai Mara up to Lake Nakuru; between two towns a dead zebra was lying at the side of the road, having obviously been in a road traffic accident. I’m used to seeing deer, foxes and even badgers in the UK but I couldn’t quite comprehend a dead zebra in the same circumstances. Perhaps it was really a horse in fancy dress!

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Responses

  1. I really need to see the Serengeti – I’ve been dreaming of getting there for years now. Apparently there are plans by the Tanzanian Govt to build a highway right across the upper half of the park. A disaster in the making if you ask me. Can you imagine how many other zebras will fall prey to vehicles then? Conservative estimates suggest that the current populations of both zebra and wildebeest will drop to a mere 1/3… Tragic 😦

  2. That indeed would be madness – and also reduce their tourist income.There were a lot of Tanzanian vehicles heading into Nairobi as well as out of it – so I guess this is their driving need but the world should step in – after all, there is only one Serengeti and when it’s gone… it’s gone.


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