Serengeti National Park: Mara river crossing - Photo Credits: Romina Facchi
The Mara River snakes across the lands of North Serengeti and for a long stretch it acts as border with the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, before heading Westwards and flow into Lake Victoria.
This mighty river offers a beautiful landscape and is home to one of the most spectacular and legendary events of the entire Africa: the crossing by herds of wildebeests and zebras during the Great Migration.
This is one of the most dangerous moments for wildebeests and zebras who first move Northwards before returning to South Serengeti; the dangers are many, the Mara River is a perennial river with raging waters and high and sandy banks; several Nile crocodiles permanently live in the river looming below the surface and waiting for the final feast to be shared with several other lurking predators, ready to take out the most of this event.
More than one crossing takes place in the same season because the herds keep crossing the river continuously as they move from one point to another in search for new pastures.
The river is also home to many grunting hippos fully immersed in water during the hot days, well protected against sunlight.
On the shores of this immense river you can spot huge herds of buffalos grazing in grassy meadows and large groups of giraffes gliding through the shady groves of acacia trees.
This is a remote area where few travelers go, because it is about 10 hours drive from Seronera, so it is impossible to come up here on a safari excursion on the same day.
Both the Mara River and the Lamai Triangle are a must-see destination during the dry season, especially from August to October, when the crossings are more frequent.
Many travelers believe that the Mara River marks the border between Kenya and Tanzania throughout its length, but this is not true; a stretch of about 70 kilometers inside the Serengeti Ecosystem actually marks the border between Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve, while the other stretch of nearly 50 kilometers flows in Tanzania and its Northern bank is Lamai Triangle, which is not part of Kenya.
The Lamai Triangle is one of the most remote areas of the Serengeti where very few visitors pass and on a game drive you will encounter one or two vehicles at most.
Close to the Mara River is a forest of large-branch trees, the only one of this kind in the Serengeti.
Hippos are usually found in large numbers near Kogatenge Ranger Post bridge; here you can get off the vehicle to get closer to the sandy banks of the river to take photographs and admire them more closely.
Regular visitors to the river banks are also herds of elephants and elands, the biggest African antelopes, while the shadowy forest is the area preferred by the impalas.
Well camouflaged below the water surface or completely motionless on the river banks, the Nile crocodiles can be easily noticed; these prehistoric creatures can be lurking, hidden in the murky waters of the Mara River, long awaiting for the right moment to launch the attack to unsuspecting wildebeests and zebras as they cross the river or come to the river to drink.
The event is closely monitored by many species of birds, water birds and vultures lurking to take part into the feast.
The areas of Northern Serengeti
Upper Grumeti Woodlands
Kogatenge Ranger Post
Serengeti National Park: elephants and kopjes at Lobo - Photo Credits: Romina Facchi