Among the experiences that can make humans feel minuscule in the larger scale of things, crossing paths with different species of wild animals can rank near the top. Such was the case for Govind and Gokul Kavaturi. You & I learns more about how the brothers made their way to Tanzania, and returned with much more than just fascinating memories of the Great Wildebeest Migration.
Wildebeests are a breed of antelope native to Africa, and this journey of theirs marks the movement of around two million animals from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the blooming fields of Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. While this isn’t an event that can be scheduled precisely by the clock (for at times it can be a year-long journey), the herds usually start making their way north around June-July. Apart from the wildebeest, other animals that make the big move are zebras, gazelles, and elands. Discreetly at their back for the hunt are the lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and other lesser predators.
The Kavaturi brothers landed in the mysterious continent of Africa just as the massive herds of wildebeest prepared to set out on their long journey. After arriving in Nairobi, the duo took a four-hour drive to Arusha – a city that is a passageway to all safari destinations and even Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.
The brothers’ weeklong trip began with a game drive at the Tarangire National Park, which lasted an entire day and covered 120 kilometres. “Throughout the trip, we were based in camps that were located right in the heart of the wilderness,” said Govind adding, “There were times when we could even hear the booming roars of lions, and it was fascinating to have giraffes sniffing around the entrance of our accommodations.”
The sunrise game drive followed the next day, and the Kavaturis were raring to explore the Serengeti Kati Kati Camp extra early. The brothers found it fascinating to witness the wild in action, including observing them as they go about their routines, even if they’re just grazing or lazing around. The following days had the duo visiting and marvelling at almost everything that they came across at the Mbalageti Safari Camp and the Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge. The entire trip was about dining with the wild and breathing in the innumerable miracles of nature from the best seats in the house.
When it came to choosing a favourite moment from the game drives, the first thing that popped into Govind’s mind was the time they watched a cheetah hunt a jackal. “From the moment it patiently started tracking the jackal, moving ever so quietly, to the time the big cat went in for the kill, it was an edge-of-the-seat experience that we shall not forget any time soon,” he added. Moreover, he was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and hospitable the Tanzanian natives were. “Unlike their rather negative and comically villainous portrayals in movies, the Tanzanians were among the most humble people that I’ve ever come across,” said Govind.
However, just like in the beautifully shot wildlife shows, the entire viewing experience is rendered incomplete without a competent and well-informed guide. This is an area where the brothers faced absolutely no issues. “It has been a few months since we were out on this trip, but one of the most memorable factors of our journey has to be our guide,” he recalls. “Not only did the man have extensive knowledge on the migration, but he was also deeply insightful when it came to his country, the people, and their problems; while simultaneously focusing on the good and positive factors of life there,” added Govind.
For Govind, an evangelist with the Internet company Branch, a founding employee of Kairos Society as well as an enthusiastic photographer, and Gokul, a software engineer based in California, this trip was like a dream come true. While Govind would suggest this trip to anyone who is up for a thrilling and adventurous trip, he added that this fascinating getaway isn’t a luxury holiday. Nevertheless, he asserted that if one were given the chance to plan a trip to witness this magnificent and intense journey, there is no way, no matter what age, anyone should give up on it. – as told to Roshni