18 August 2016
The weather has been cold and dry most of the month with some overcast days. Most of the mornings were quite chilly but warming up soon after the sun came up. We have been experiencing amazing sunrises for most of the days. Water levels have gone down in both the Talek and the Olare Orok rivers, making all the major crossing points in these two rivers less perilous. The grasslands have turned to brown in most of the reserve as we did not get any rains.
25ºC at midday
15ºC after sunset
The general game viewing has been great throughout the month with our resident giraffe herd moving between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. There has been a herd of zebra and wildebeest moving between the Talek and Olare Orok river. There has been lots of activity going on in the park, with so many wildebeest and zebras around. Other plains games like the Impala, Thomson’s gazelles were spotted east of Mara Explorer camp, with a big baboon troop seen moving between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. This has kept most of the hunters - big cats, jackals and hyenas - very active as they have been hunting every few days.
While most of the smaller rivers are drying up now most of the elephants have been going to drink at the Mara river.
The Ridge pride is still maintaining their territory, north of Mara Explorer camp on the Rhino Ridge, with the two dominant males Lipstick and Blackie still in charge of this pride. They have four lionesses and four sub-adult cubs with them. They have been very lucky with lots of wildebeest and zebra around and have been seen feeding on wildebeest on multiple occasions. Blackie was seen mating with one of the females.
Olkeju Ronkai Pride
This pride has maintained their territory south of Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps at Burrungat plains. This pride is doing great, with Napejo the lioness with a scarred face helping the pride in making kills, she proved to be a very good hunter when the wildebeest were crossing the Olkeju Ronkai river and she brought down two of them for the rest of the pride.
This pride still remains to be one of the most elusive lions, two of the lionesses were seen hunting along the banks of the Talek river east of Mara Explorer camp. There are also two new young males that have been seen mating with one of the lioness.
The pride has been sitting in a very prime position besides the Mara river where wildebeest have been crossing. They have been very lucky and have been making kills almost every day. One of the lioness was spotted with two very little cubs about ten weeks old. The four Musketeers, which include Scarface, Hunter, Sikio and Morani, seem to have taken this pride completely since they ditched the Marsh pride.
Most of the male lions like Blackie, Scarface and the two new males in Olkiombo have been busy passing on their genes.
Bahati our resident leopard was seen on several occasions with one of the cubs, the female cub has not been spotted since April. We still can’t say that she has lost the cub as leopards have been known to stay away for long periods of time. Only time will tell. She has also been busy killing wildebeest along the Olare Orok river.
Kaboso the leopard north of Intrepids and Explorer along the Olare Orok river has also said goodbye to both of her cubs and recently she was seen lactating so she has a new litter which she has kept very well hidden. The cubs have been seen on various occasions hunting small dik diks and gazelle.
Lorians cub south of the Talek river was a frequent sighting along the Olkeju Ronkai river. He seems not to be shy at all and he was spotted jumping on top of a safari land cruiser. This is a new behavior since leopards are known to exhibit such behavior. This is a behavior that should be discouraged by all people by keeping distance otherwise it can turn out to be disastrous.
The famous Malaika was seen west of Mara Intrepids camp near Chemorta area. She gave birth to a new litter of three cubs but unfortunately she lost one of them when a big buffalo herd passed through her den. She moved her two remaining cubs south of rhino ridge where she has been leaving them very well hidden as she goes to hunt. She has been making a kill every two or three days.
Rani the mother cheetah of three was moving between Olkeju Ronkai and Look Out hill, where she has been hunting almost every day. The 14 month old cubs have been learning how to hunt as well and they have been seen chasing gazelles and young wildebeest. They were also seen along Olkeju Ronkai river with a waterbuck kill.
THE GREAT MIGRATION.
The migration is here with a full swing and big herds of wildebeest and zebra are all over the plains. This has attracted numerous predators who have been killing almost every day, with prides of lions making multiple kills most of the time. Some nomadic male lions have also been spotted as they are known to follow the big herds during this migration season.
We also witnessed numerous crossings along the Talek, Olare Orok and the Mara river. The crossings at the Mara river have been the most spectacular with thousands of wildebeest crossing from the Look Out hill and more on the main crossing at Paradise plains. Many of the wildebeest have died at these crossings as they stampede on each other and also some of them break their legs when trying to exit from a very rocky point. A lot of them lost their lives at the cul de sac crossing point on the Mara river. Crocodiles have been having a feast as they also have been taking the wildebeest as they try to cross the Mara river.
Big herds were seen on Topi plains, Burrugat plains and on Posee plains. We expect the crossings to continue in the coming weeks.
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20 July 2016
The week of 11th July 2016 was interesting and seeing a lot of wildlife coming closer to the camp.This is due to the drought season. Elephants started coming earlier than expected to the river and spend the whole night feeding on reeds.
The Impalas arrives in the camp as early as 6 pm. Our guests enjoy watching them in between the tents. Impalas decrease their chances of attack when living in herds. They leap and scatter in all directions when being attacked to confuse the predator. The impala is rarely seen on its own. Females and young animals form herds of up to 100 individuals, while males live in a bachelor group of about 60 animals. They occupy a large range and make seasonal migrations from high to lower ground according to the availability of suitable food.
The number of warthog have also increased as per our observations. Mostly, Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals, preferably aardvarks. They also protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.
Report and pictures by Stephen Lekatoo, Resident Naturalist, Voyager Ziwani Camp, Tsavo West.
29 June 2016
Last two weeks: Chilly mornings and hot afternoons coupled with heavy rains - an average of 10mm per day.
Most of the crossing points are quite impassable. The Olare Orok River crossing is ok because there isn’t much rain on the northern side of the park.
The Mara River is higher than in previous years meaning there will be spectacular crossings of the wildebeest this year.
260c at midday
150c after sunset
THE GREAT MIGRATION
The first batch of wildebeest and zebras arrived in their thousands, around Zacharia, Pololet hills, Murram ya Ashnil and Sand River.
With the migration we are also seeing lots of vultures– like the Ruppell’s, African white-backed and Lappet-faced vultures.
The Loita herds are spread out around Billa Shaka and Milima Tatu and another bigger herd around Kilomita Tisa east heading south to meet with the migratory herds from the Serengeti.
We are waiting for these herds to make the famous crossing across the Talek River into Possee Plains any time now.
The last two weeks the impala have been breeding close to our football pitch and around the landing strip. Occasionally a big bull elephant comes around Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer including a small family of several females and young ones. There’s a herd of fifty elands and their calves, giraffes and the Loita wildebeest and zebra.
The Ridge pride is still at the Topi plains and seems to have established a permanent home there. The pride is expanding its territory towards Billa Shaka because the four musketeers are not around. Lipstick and Blacky are taking advantage of their absence.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the musketeers get back to reclaim their territory.
Two females from the Ridge pride who had crossed the Mara River over to Mara Triangle are back with a cub aged about six months. They killed a wildebeest calf a week ago and seem to be doing fine.
Lipstick has been seen with two females from the Double Cross pride that had disappeared.
One of the males left after having a feast from the wildebeest kill that the females had made by Mara Explorer Camp. The following day during the morning drive he was at Billa Shaka with his mate Blacky – meaning that he travelled 15 kilometers that night.
Olkeju Ronkai Pride
This pride has been at Burrungat plains because of the huge herds of plains game -wildebeest, topis, zebras, warthogs and gazelles.
The five cubs are doing great and we have another female that has given birth to two cubs although they are still hidden.
The only male is still holding on to the pride but Earless and Boxer Nose - the other two big males around Kivuko ya Pussy are in that area as this is their territory.
With the onset of the migration, the pride is headed towards Maji Mbili in readiness of the wildebeest that are already headed towards Olmisigiyioi area.
The pride has been elusive but is seen around the Talek River.
Bahati has been spotted on several occasions by guests on the opposite side of the Talek River by the swimming pool at Mara Intrepids with her two cubs.
Siri the pump house leopard has been seen in Shamarta area. She had been missing for some time. There are reports that she has three cubs which we are yet to confirm.
Lorrian along Olkeju Rongai has been a common sighting. She was seen with a kill near Kivuko ya Pussy and on the following day with her cub near Maji ya Fisi. She seems to be expanding her territory.
Malaika has said goodbye to her two cubs. We are expecting a new litter from her any time before the end of June.
The two cubs have been named Malkia (female) and Mfalme (male). They are still together and are seen around Kananga and Murram ya Fig Tree.
Nora on the other hand has been around Maji ya Fisi and crossed Talek River with her sub adult cub. They are doing well.
We have two new males in the area though not together who go by the names Leomom and Martin. They have crossed over from the Mara Triangle and have of late been hanging around Double Crossing.
Report and pictures By Raphael Ole Koikai – Head Driver Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.