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Wildebeest Pictures

Our wildebeest gallery showcases images of the blue wildebeest, also called the brindled gnu (Connochaetes taurinus), and were taken in South Africa, Botswana, and Tanzania.

The black wildebeest or white-tailed gnu (Connochaetes gnou) is much less common and is found only on South African wildlife reserves and private game farms.

In the national parks of southern Africa, wildebeest can often be sighted, usually in small herds, which makes it fairly easy to photograph them while on safari there.

Wildebeest pair drinking from waterhole, Mkuzi Game Reserve
Wildebeest Pair Drinking from Waterhole

Click on any picture to enlarge
Wildebeest heading for waterhole Wildebeest pair in silhouette at sunset Wildbeest lying in winter grass
Wildebeest mother with calf, Kruger National Park baby wildebeest, Kruger National Park Wildebeest looking over shoulder, Kruger National Park
Wildebeest heading towards waterhole, Mkuzi Game Reserve Wildebeest drinking from waterhole, Mkuzi Game Reserve Close up of wildbeest pair drinking, Mkuzi Game Reserve
Wildebeest on Serengeti Plains against dark sky Wildbeest group drinking at waterhole, Serengeti National Park Wildebeest massing on the Serengeti Plains, Tanzania
wildlife reference photos
Wildbeest milling around under trees, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Wildebeest herd take fright, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Wildbeest migration, Serengeti Plains, Tanzania
Wildebeest pair take fright, Serengeti, Tanzania Large wildebeest herd, Serengeti, Tanzania Wildebeest herd on the run, panned shot, Serengeti
Wildebeest running, Tuli Block, Botswana Wildebeest herd drinking from waterhole, Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa Wildebeest, side view, Mkuze Game Reserve

Medium Telephoto Zoom
When photographing groups of wildebeest, a medium telephoto zoom lens, around 70-200mm, will normally suffice. To get good shots of individual wildebeest, or close-ups of the head and shoulders, then you'll need a longer lens, in the 300mm to 400mm range.

On the vast plains of East Africa, whether in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park or Kenya's Masai Mara, the annual wildebeest migration offers a totally different set of photographic opportunities and challenges.

Massive Herds
During the migration, the wildbeest congregate in herds of many thousands as they move in search of better grazing. While this is visually astounding and is recognized as one of the world's great wildlife spectacles, it's also extremely difficult to portray in static pictures.

To accurately record the magnitude of the wildebeest migration, you need a wide angle lens to capture the spread of animals that can fill your viewfinder from corner to corner.

To eliminate the wasted space above and below the main subject, it's a good idea to take a series of pictures and stitch them into a panorama.

River Crossings
For most wildlife photographers, the ultimate of course is to get shots of the famous wildebeest river crossings. Here the animals bunch in hordes before leaping into the treacherous Grumeti or Mara rivers where crocodiles and other predators lie in wait.

It's impossible to predict where or when the nervous animals will cross, so there's a large amount of luck involved in taking pictures of the wildebeest river crossings.

For those fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, a long lens works extremely well as it compresses the subject, showing the wildebeest closely bunched together on the banks and in the river.

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