Storms over the Serengeti

The rains came and we chased the black skies over the short grass plains from Ndutu up to the Moru Kopjes. Wildebeest and zebra in every direction, also following the scent of the sweet new grass coming up through the dusty ground. They never stop walking, these herds that make up the migration; driven by rain, or just the promise of it, they spend their entire lives on a march encountering innumerable terrors along the way.

We drove through the middle of huge herds, like Moses parting the waves, but they just kept on walking. We passed a lion on his look-out rock, he was also watching the storm approach as the wind whipped through his wild mane. We were in an open car so couldn’t stop but for just a moment, we had started already to feel the first few drops, smelled them long before as they sank into the dust.

Standing on the back of the pick-up, laughing and feeling like we were the luckiest people on this earth to be out here. Got into camp just as the sky split apart with the the loudest thunder I had ever heard. Drinking wine on the mess tent veranda, feet just inside and out of the rain, wrapped in Maasai blankets, starting every time the lightning hit, almost to the ground. More wine consumed around the lantern-lit table, putting the world to rights as the hours rolled by. Woke later, much later, with buffalo all around my tent, their regular munching of grass soon pushed me back into safari dreams.

At sunrise the migration were all around us, they had filed into our valley during the night and now stood docile in the fragile light. We sat with mugs of steaming coffee on the still wet grass. Sometimes I imagine no other life than this one.