Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Strange Lion Behaviour In The Mara

by sales@heritagehotels.co.ke

29 June 2015

The last few weeks in the Mara can only be described as wet! It's not been all bad, because that rain is what attracts the migrants - wildebai, zebras and antelopes - back into the Mara ecosystem.




But what it means for the rest of the animals is soggy, uncomfortable ground. The cats are usually forced to move to higher ground to rest and get some vantage points to scan the plains.



However, a new phenomenon that our scouts have observed makes for an interesting study. Normally, leopards are the only cats that climb up trees in the Mara. Once in rare occasion, cheetahs (see video below) will be seen scampering up a low tree to scan over the tall grass.

But the photos below are nothing short of amazing - the tree climbing lions in the Mara. Observed over a couple of weeks by our guides, this will be an interesting adaptation to study in the coming years.

Take a look.




 What's going on down there?

Ok, I've heard enough. Time to go.


 Oops, this isn't as easy as it looks!




 Have to jump!



As you can see from above, even though these sub-adults are not heavy, they do not have the grace of a leopard when it comes to carrying their weight. She had to jump from over 2.5 metres above the ground. The difference is, leopards long claws are adapted for tree climbing - up and down - and can take the weight of both the cat and a carcass.
Now, compare the grace with which this leopard is climbing down the tree.








Just graceful!

Hope you enjoyed it.

Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.

©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

The Wildebai Are Coming!

by sales@heritagehotels.co.ke

29 June 2015

Beautiful clear days and clear skies at night - dazzling for star gazing.


Watch the fantastic race of the planets – brilliant Venus and bold Jupiter - as they draw closer together each night. Venus will pass Jupiter in late June/early July 2015. On the nights of June 30th and July 1st they will be the closest until August 27th.
There’s golden grass and red oat grass relished by the grazers. 


140c morning
260c at midday
180c after sunset

The migration of the Loita wildebeest and zebras is on. At this point, it’s at the Topi plains together with the topis and gazelles. The herds are moving south to meet the Serengeti migration which is not far from the Mara.




As usual the scouting wildebeest is the first indication of the annual migration. 
After crossing Sand River into the Mara from Serengeti, the animals did not stay for long but crossed the border back into Serengeti. This could be because the grass is very tall in the Mara for the migratory herds.
The herds have started approaching the Sand River again and we hope that in the next two days, they will cross over into the Mara.


The lion families are scattered all over.

Blacky enjoys some quiet time on the plains..

Some lionesses, like those of the Ridge pride have even abandoned their cubs because there is not enough prey to hunt and feed them. The cubs are looking emaciated and avoid to competition while feeding. The females are in groups of two’s and not looking good. The males are not in stable prides but just hanging around females who are hunting prey.

We hope this will change in the next few days as the ‘meals on wheels’ appear – that is the wildebeest and zebra.

It will be very interesting to see the families reunite.

Leopard sightings are good.


 Bahati and Siri are the stars around Mara Intrepids Camp.

Malaika is still doing well with her four cubs. They are north-east of Mara Intrepids Camp because grass is short. The short grass is the preferred choice of the gazelles, making it good hunting ground for the cheetahs. Grant gazelles are their favourite prey.


Malaika strangling an impala four her cubs.




This hyena was spotted chewing on a fatty morsel of hippo skin. Yum! Nothing goes to waste.



The rains are the calling card for life in the ecosystem. Where it rains, food is plenty, as the giraffe below reaches for some helpings on the tallest branch.


 Mr Rhino is out and about for a little walk, while Mr Buffalo enjoys the Mara best spa treatment - a mudbath.


 Not to be left out is Mr Dung-Bettle. Oh, that yummy morsel has been rolled for the family back at home!

Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps. 

©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/


by sales@heritagehotels.co.ke

11 December 2014


It’s raining in the north at Aitong hills and east of the Mara at Loita hills. The rivers are in full spate. The only crossing along Talek River is over Talek Bridge which is 18 kilometers east of Mara Intrepids Camp. We are able to access the southern side by crossing the Mara Intrepid Camp foot bridge.  


19c morning  

28c at midday  

20c after sunset  


The Loita resident wildebeest and zebras are still migrating, giving us great sightings of the river crossings as well as sustaining our resident super predators.  

However since the rains are falling in the north and east in their favorite calving grounds, the herds are moving faster with numerous crossings along the Mara River and Olare Orok.



Serval cats and Caracals are seen looking for prey.  




There is what we call a ‘political land dispute’ between sub prides. Some lionesses branched off with their cubs from the main pride after giving birth at different periods to avoid competition while feeding. However they still operate within the same territory but avoid other sub prides even after the cubs are old enough to team up with the rest of the group.   One theory is that it’s dangerous for the cubs because they have a different odor. Prides bond by rubbing or hugging each other, maintaining the same smell.   These sub prides become vulnerable to nomadic males lions that are moving around looking for prides to take over. When they find lionesses, it’s easy for them to mate with them without having to fight other males off. Male lions roar all night across the plains advertising their presence.   Blacky and Lipstick are finding it difficult to operate in the Ridge territory as the sole owners. With their five sub prides, the two male lions boast the largest pride with twenty two individuals made up of fifteen cubs and seven lionesses.These sub-prides are as follow:   A family of seven: two lionesses and five sub-adult cubs (four male cubs and one female cub who are about to go free).   A family of eight: three lionesses and five sub-adult cubs (three male cubs and two females who are Nyota (the mother of Moja) and a young female. These two females have a male with them in the same territory where Blacky and Lipstick are.   All these prides are trying to assert their ownership of the Ridge territory.  

Paradise Pride

This pride operates on both sides of Mara River. East of the river at Paradise Plains, the two lionesses that did not cross to the Mara Triangle have five cubs aged five months. They are being taken care of by the four musketeers from the Marsh pride.  

Double Cross Pride

The Double-Cross pride has moved towards Olkiombo, running away from Oloolpapit and Barnoti who are in control of the territory while Mohican and Romeo2 are not around. One lioness from Double Cross pride is flirting with Oloolpapit and Barnoti.  

Olkiombo Pride

One of the lionesses from Olkiombo pride is mating with Notch’s grandson east of Mara Explorer Camp, two kilometers away from the camp.



Bahati has move to Mara Explorer Camp forest from west of Mara Intrepids Camp.



Malaika has lost one of her five cubs. She remains with two males and two females. She is residing eastof Mara Explorer Camp.


Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/