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Pole to Pole

Day 99: The Masai Mara to Seronera

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleNear the border we catch our first sight of migrating wildebeeste. They are returning south in long columns after feeding on the short rich grass of the Mara. We have to wait twenty minutes for one procession to pass across the track. They seem in good spirits, butting each other playfully, cavorting, facing the wrong way and generally displaying all the characteristics of a school outing on the way home. I can't imagine why these heavy-shouldered grey-pelted beasts should be quite so happy. Each year, a quarter of a million of them die on the migration. Some die natural deaths, but many more perish from drowning while crossing the river, snakebites (those carcasses are left untouched by other predators, who can tell there is poison on the body), and the activities of lion, leopard, cheetah, serval and others.

A little further on we come across two hyenas shuffling off with a piece of wildebeeste. They are shifty-looking creatures, round-shouldered and surly. I rather like them. They'll never get a decent part in a Walt Disney film, but they do keep the place tidy and I find it rather endearing that they giggle so much when they've made a kill that they give away their position and are often dispossessed by more lugubrious beasts.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 99
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Mara River
  • Book page no: 220

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