Over the last few months, we have seen various ways of dealing with the hassle of crossing Africa’s rivers. The male lions started us off by casually starting to cross the river, then hitting an absolute panic and splashing their way nervously through the rest of the crossing. It wasn’t graceful by any means, and the slip at the end, landing the lions head in the water and his tail in the air, didn’t help. Next to cross was a large male leopard. Always poised, and with a certain arrogance, he went for the cool, calm, collected approach. He moved through the river as if it were not even there. The judges gave him a solid nine point five. Following the leopard, we had an example of how not to do it. The young wildebeest that was trying so desperately to cross the Mara River, got trapped in some underwater rocks, and had a less than pleasant discussion with a monster crocodile.
We now have a new method of dealing with river crossings – the fun way to do it.
We came across a troop of olive baboons early one morning on a photographic safari in Kenya. They were slowly approaching a small river that was flowing with some real vigour after a night of solid rain. With almost no warning, the large male leading the troop took a single step run-up, and leaped across the hazardous water, clearing the obstacle in one go. We quickly got into position, and enjoyed the rest of the troop, nearly fifty individuals, going for gold as they jumped across the water. A good ninety percent of the troop made it without even touching the water, and that includes mothers with babies of various sizes attached to their fronts and backs. The remaining ten percent were youngsters that were just too old to be carried by their mothers. It was fantastic to watch, as the little guys gave it their best shot, but fell a little short drenching themselves in the process. The sighting lasted for about ten minutes, most of which was filled with the constant clicking of some hard worked cameras.