24 September 2004
The ‘Second Migration’ currently blessing the Maasai Mara has moved into a spectacular new phase, as the wildebeest herds abandon the overgrazed central plains for greener and lusher pastures on the edge of the reserve. Most of the herds that had congregated on the Central and Burrungat plains have now moved northwards across the Talek River to graze on the Paradise Plains, the areas around Musiara Gate, and the villages beyond the reserve border.
However, there remain large herds on the Central Plains around the Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps, where several staff believe the concentration is the greatest in more than 10 years. As a result, most parts of the Eastern Mara are seeing only very scanty herds, although there are more zebras than usual between Sekenani and Talek gates.
Bella the female leopard continues to give superb sightings to Explorer guests along the Talek River, where she has set up a perfect ‘ambush spot’ overlooking one of the busier crossing points. The Olkiombo pride of lions are just a few kilometres upstream, where they are also enjoying a productive period of hunting.
Crossings continue to be active at the Paradise Point, where more animals are still arriving from the Mara Conservancy. The concentration of herds is also high in the Conservancy itself, although the herds are thinning out in the northern section around Oloololo Gate.
Watch this space for more epic news from one of the greatest wildebeest migrations ever!
24 September 2004
With the continuing failure of the short rains in the northern Serengeti, the wildebeest herds have temporarily abandoned their mass southbound movement ”“ giving Kenyan visitors the unexpected treat of wildebeest on the Mara plains in late October. Those herds still in the Mara can be seen mainly around Rhino Ridge, the Bila Shaka area, Engoikwaatet salt lick in the Mara Triangle, and the central plains around Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps.
The herds are now concentrating in the areas that were not burned last month, where there is still some grass. (The areas burned in September remain bare as there has not been sufficient rain to bring back the grass.) Over the past two or three days, there have been scattered showers over most areas of the Mara, which we believe will keep the wildebeest here for a little longer.
The Big Cats, meanwhile, continue to seize the unexpected glut of hunting opportunities. Bella the leopard and her cub are still at their favorite ambush sites along the banks of the Talek River. Twice in the past week she has had to battle with baboons to save her cub from their menacing advances. The Olkiombo pride of lions has also been busy hunting the transient herds at various crossing points on the Talek, while the cubs of Kike the cheetah have been seen several times just south of the Talek on the Burrungat Plains.
24 September 2004
The great wildebeest migration proved its capacity for constant surprises this week, when ”“ a week after they appeared to be leaving Kenya for good ”“ tens of thousands of wildebeest decided to remain behind in the Maasai Mara.
Throughout the Mara, the wildebeest began moving against the flow of their usual migratory patterns, with some herds heading north inside the Mara Conservancy and east at the Paradise crossing point, while others congregated to the south of the Conservancy Headquarters and up the main escarpment. At Musiara Marsh, the week brought the highest concentration of the entire migration, while ”“ despite poor grass cover across most of the central Mara ”“ there remained large herds around Rhino Ridge, Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps, the Burrungat Plains, and Lookout Hill.
With the dry weather earlier in the week, the main watering holes were teeming with activity, although widespread showers in the latter half of the week caused many of the herds to start drifting away from the waterpoints. Most of us are still expecting the herds to start leaving for the Serengeti soon, but we remain reluctant to make a definitive pronouncement on the subject while the wildebeest continue to exhibit such a strong mind of their own!
Once again, the only way to be completely sure of what is happening on the ground is to tune in to your ever-regular, ever-reliable Migration Update from Heritage Hotels!