This is going to seem funny to say...throughout the day we came upon lions in various locations, sleeping away the heat of the day, or at least attempting to despite the idling engines, exhaust fumes, picture snapping and squeals of delight...yet they weren't the highlight of the day. Since we had been fortunate to see them elsewhere, and moving, these didn't grab the imagination in quite the same way. Strange how something a week ago would have been instantly exciting and yet now it was routine.
We headed south towards the Mara River, location of the great migration crossing of all the animals as well as home to the hippos and crocodiles. As we approached the bridge - no river crossing for us, thank goodness - we noticed a distinct stench in the air. We also noticed a number of vultures and marabou storks in the air. Hmmm, maybe more than a number, try a hundred. Another hundred were moving around on the rocks, eating from the carcasses of dead wildebeest, all in varying stages of decomposition. Apparently river crossings can be hazardous to your health.
Remember the swollen rivers mentioned earlier and lakes that were overflowing, well, the river was higher than usual too. When the wildebeest cross, the select a spot and then follow each other in a line- they always travel in a line. The first few across are fine: the rocks are dry and they scramble up. The rocks get wet. The next ones have a bit of trouble but they're up. Pretty soon it's quite wet, can't get traction (remember our van?) and one of them slips. There are so many animals crossing and they're mindlessly following and the ones that fall get trampled underfoot. The water is high so some lose their footing and get pulled under. Apparently a hefty number of animals get washed downstream to be thrown upon a stretch of rocks for the buzzards. It was a grisly sight and horrifically odiferous.