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Mara Migration Extravaganza! September, 2013


MisterAviator
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Despite the hordes of vehicles adding to the already confused behavior of the wildebeest and zebra... witnessing the Great Migration up close is an experience that ranks higher than anything else I've seen in Africa! Words can't express the the magnitude of the spectacle, so I'll kick off this brief trip report with a selection of video highlights that document the four separate crossings of the Mara river that we experienced during our stay at Rekero Camp, in the Masai Mara National Reserve.

 

The convenience and quality of Rekero Camp was truly outstanding, and the indoor plumbing we're used to back home can't really compete with the efficiency and enjoyment provided by the bucket showers there! A few afternoon rain showers kept things nice an cool during our visit, and also seemed to spur the constant (and unpredictable) movement of the wildebeest through the area. The crocs were already stuffed from the multiple feedings they've had this year, so it was mostly smooth sailing for the herds to cross the river. The unregulated and chaotic movements of the wildebeest were eclipsed only by the unregulated and chaotic movements of the humans scrambling to get as close as possible to the crossing points. It was quite a photographic challenge to keep them out of my shots! The manager at Rekero told us the all-time record is 124 vehicles crammed around a single sighting! Never once did we see any evidence of a park ranger or other wildlife authority to rein in the unruly humans.

 

The predators were even more beset upon by the crush of vehicles in the reserve. We saw several beautiful cheetahs hunting, keeping our distance, to let the drama unfold without interference. But trucks and vans packed with noisy customers could not resist encroaching, driving wildly off road, startling the prey, and making the hunts far more difficult for the already challenged cats.

 

Our next stop was Mara Plains Camp... in the Olare Orok Concervancy... where the cats had a bit more freedom to stalk their prey. This newly rebuilt camp is beyond belief -- tucked artfully into a lush grove of trees next to a small riverbed, you'd hardly know it was there from the outside. Like Rekero, the standards of guiding and camp management at Mara Plains are extremely high. A unique benefit offered by the camp is a complete photo/binocular kit provided for each tent. The Canon 7D camera with 100-400 lens was a joy to use! I will post a few photos later.

Edited by Game Warden
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Oh, Wow! those were great crossings and that mass of wildebeests.. was something else. we didn't see the zebras crossing when we were in northern serengeti in late June this year, so it was brilliant watching that. thank you!

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There seems to be a problem embedding youtube videos at the moment. Let me check on things.

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Superb video. Thanks for sharing this. Were you using a normal consumer camcorder or specialized video equipment? Your filming and editing was excellent. I really enjoyed seeing this in 1080p on a big screen. Did you see any crocodile action? We visited Rekero this February (were staying in their sister camp Naboisho) and agree its a top notch operation. Off season there were barely any crowds in the Mara and we had most sightings to ourselves. Also stayed at Mara Toto, Mara Plains smaller sibling right next door and spent a lot of time in the Olare Motorogi conservancy. Sounds like you had a similar itinerary. Look forward to seeing a video of Mara Plains and the OMC.

Edited by AKR1
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Superb video. Thanks for sharing this. Were you using a normal consumer camcorder or specialized video equipment? Your filming and editing was excellent. I really enjoyed seeing this in 1080p on a big screen. Did you see any crocodile action? We visited Rekero this February (were staying in their sister camp Naboisho) and agree its a top notch operation. Off season there were barely any crowds in the Mara and we had most sightings to ourselves. Also stayed at Mara Toto, Mara Plains smaller sibling right next door and spent a lot of time in the Olare Motorogi conservancy. Sounds like you had a similar itinerary. Look forward to seeing a video of Mara Plains and the OMC.

Glad you enjoyed the video! I had a blast shooting and editing it. No really specialized equipment -- just a Canon 60D DSLR with 18-135 lens, and a small beanbag strapped to the camera. A couple of the driving shots were taken with a GoPro, mounted on a short stick and controlled via wifi from my iPhone using the GoPro smartphone app. We saw plenty of crocodiles, but they were all too full and barely budged an inch, even when the wildebeest wandered right next to them!

 

 

(And, Matt, I used the full browser version of the link that contains the word "watch" and it has now appeared just fine. Can you update the original post with it? Thanks!)

Edited by Game Warden
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What a stunning video. Very nicely edited with dramatic music! One would think a professional production. Yes, the Youtube issue is all sorted now...

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Great video, very nicely edited. It's interesting to hear that a lodge is providing photo kit for guests. It certainly reduces the need to carry a second camera body.

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That was so good! Really enjoyed watching it and has made us even more excited about going to Kenya this time next year. Cheers!

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Amazingly well done video. Thanks for taking the time to share. We were across the river end of August early Sept. but my slide show/video can compare to this. Again, VWD!!

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Only just got around to viewing this video @@MisterAviator - fantastic. The tension is palpable as you watch and the views of the mass of wildebeast rumps as they left the bank you were on really give the truth of the density of animals. So many people film them only as they are coming towards them. I loved it so thank you very much.

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