24 September 2004
October 4th 2004
Subtle signs in the patterns of wildebeest movements across the Mara confirm that the exodus back to the Serengeti has now begun in earnest. After weeks of crossing the Mara River in an easterly direction, the herds have at last begun to head back en masse into the Mara Conservancy. At the southern end of the Conservancy, the herds that have been congregating here have now begun to drift further south towards the Tanzanian border.
Despite these early signs of a mass southerly movement, there remains a high concentration of wildebeest in the central Mara Triangle, with some herds moving north towards Oloololo Gate and crossing into Musiara Marsh before heading back south. Last week saw continuing eastward crossings near Lookout Hill, with small groups joining with the larger herds moving south from Roan Hill and Possee Plain.
The general confusion of all these late movements has probably been exacerbated by an unexpected early rainfall, which has watered much of the Mara over the past week. However, the late movements have also had unexpected benefits for the resident leopard and cheetah, who have been treating guests at Mara Intrepids and Explorer to a host of exciting ”“ and often successful ”“ hunts. It has also provided an unexpected boost to filmmakers who are in the area producing a sixth series of the record-breaking documentary Big Cat Diary, which the BBC will be showing as Big Cat Week in early January 2005.
Stay on this page, for more breaking news from the never-ending 2004 migration!
24 September 2004
The wildebeest herds have continued their southbound trek over the past week, leaving only isolated clusters on the Mara plains. There have been almost constant westward crossings at the Paradise crossing point and Lookout Hill, while long lines of wildebeest continue to snake south across the plains.
Most of the Loita herds, meanwhile, continue to remain in the reserve, as they often tend to do. The common plains game that often accompany the wildebeest herds ”“ Topi, Thomson’s gazelles, and Impala ”“ are also still around in large numbers, providing plentiful targets for one mother cheetah training her three young cubs on the plains.
The other big cats have also been active, with two prides of lions and Bella the leopard all successfully hunting, particularly at the busy river crossings near the Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. These cats are providing a field day for the presenters of the BBC’s Big Cat Week, which is shooting its sixth series in preparation for its airing in the first week of January 2005.
Watch this space for more news from the world’s wildest frontline next week!
24 September 2004
October 8th 2004
True to our reports last week, the mass exodus of wildebeest from the Maasai Mara has finally begun in earnest. A rare scattering of rain in the southern Mara last week may have signalled to the herds that their departure is now overdue.
It continues to be a busy time at the Paradise crossing point, with most wildebeest crossing over to the Mara Conservancy before heading south towards the Serengeti. Those from Rhino Ridge and Bila Shaka continue to cross the Talek River near Mara Intrepids before heading south onto the Burrungat and Central plains. There have also been a lot of eastward crossings near Lookout Hill, before the herds turn south towards the Tanzanian border.
However, the overall picture is still not without confusion, with some rangers at Sand River Gate reporting some herds starting to head north again! The herds from the Loita Hills are also ‘hanging around’ ”“ perhaps reluctant to leave our little piece of paradise! But then again, these herds are always the last to leave”¦