Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

News from the Maasai Mara, Kenya 26th July 2005

by Heritage

27 July 2005

The Great Migration enters its third week, with wildebeest and zebra herds increasing fast. The light rains that swept across the southern Mara have drawn the herds from northern Serengeti. They had briefly settled on the recently burnt areas, but insufficient amounts of rain in those areas were not enough to make the grass sprout.

Some crossing has been noted on the Sand River, with many animals moving into the Mara from Serengeti. However, it’s not yet dramatic since only a hand full of animals are crossing, and low water levels making it just a walk-across. The herds have now spread out between Keekorok plains and Roan Hill, and as far as Look Out Hill.

Meanwhile, the Loita herds of wildebeest and zebras are now spread across from Musiara Gate, down to Ntiakitiak River and south to Talek Gate. Over the past seven days, they have been streaming in small numbers towards Paradise Plains, with some crossing westwards onto Mara Conservancy. Guests at the Explorer and Intrepids have enjoyed a week full of excitement and first class viewing of nature at its best, and the fun is just beginning!

PREDATORS:
The lion prides along the north bank of the Sand River’s have regrouped for the season of plenty. Known to be the largest pride in the park, they have been on a strict wildebeest/zebra diet since the herds came into their territory two weeks ago.

To the north, the Ridge pride is still very active. Our guests have witnessed many kills, even during the day in the last seven days, as the pounding hooves of the migrating herbivores keeps awakens the lions from their slumber. The old Bila Shaka pride to the north of Rhino Ridge is rejuvenated, with 9 very young cubs now.

Lately it has become easier to spot Cheetahs than has been the case in the previous weeks. Leopards are also starting to get active and their sightings have improved remarkably. Bella, the Big Cat Diary star, can still be seen around with her cub. True to our prediction, with more prey around, she is being seen more regularly
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News from the Maasai Mara Kenya, 21st July 2005

by Heritage

22 July 2005

The concentration of wildebeests in the Mara has gone up even more since last week. The Loita herds have almost tripled up in number, and the Serengeti herds have doubled and are now beyond the main Keekorok/Mara bridge road. The zebras are still leading the way as usual and quite a handful has already got to lookout hill. The long grass in their way is still keeping them from moving fast across the plains.
There some light showers last week on Thursday and Friday mainly along the border of the Mara/Serengeti, and this has caused a higher concentration in northern Serengeti as the southern herds keep pushing north. The western front of the migration is also said to be north bound around fort Goma, north of Grumeti. Should they keep the same pace as the eastern front, then they will be in the Mara in a couple of weeks. However the concentration in southern Mara is already breath taking for first timers.
The Loita herds, besides increasing in number, has also pushed westwards across Olorukoti and paradise plains to the Mara river. A few crossings have been witnessed in the past few days. This has mainly consisted of zebras who were also the first to get this area as they lead the rest of the migratory herds. These crossing however, were not as dramatic because there is not much water in the river, but the crocodiles gave some life to the scenario as they try to grab one of the zebras swimming across in the shallow water.

PREDATORS:
The lions’ prides to the south and east are now reshaping their territories due to the arrival of the herds. Most prides had disintegrated during the lean period.
The Ridge pride which is one of the well established to the north east, have been roaming all the areas to the east of Rhino ridge including ntiakitiak and Ngorbob Rivers. They have been making a kill almost daily after the arrival of the herds. One morning last week our guests were treated to an interesting sighting of a duel between a pack of hyenas and the ridge pride over a wildebeest carcass. This happened at the edge of a pool of muggy water. The carcass soon fell into the pool and the lions tried retrieving it and got themselves covered in mud!
Bella was seen once last week and her son seen four times. We believe now with the arrival of the migratory herds she will be seen regularly as usual.
Kike can also be seen and so are her offspring, (the three former cubs)
Three other cheetahs can be seen in different areas.

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News from the Maasai Mara, Kenya 13th July 2005

by Heritage

14 July 2005

The second week of the Great Migration has seen a remarkable increase in concentrations of wildebeest and zebra across the southern Mara. The beginning of this week saw an additional 5,000 animals congregating around and to the north of Sand River Gate. The first herds, meanwhile, have pushed further west to Roan Hill and have been joined by another herd of about 2,000 wildebeest that crossed from the Serengeti around Naima Lumbwa hills. The increase in the past two days alone confirms our gut-feeling that the ‘main event’ has now arrived in earnest.


The burning of grass in northern Serengeti must have hastened the wildebeests’ pace from the south, as they usually associate such burning with lush shoots of new grass. This normally happens if we get some rains immediately after the burning. However, the burning may not be so extensive this time because the grass is still green from last month’s late rains.


With the wildebeest come their inevitable pursuers. Two large prides of lions have recently taken up strategic residence between Sand River and Keekorok Lodge. Alerted by the constant thump of pounding hooves, they are now very aware that the season of plenty has arrived ”“ a reassuring sign that they will be able to survive the next five months without going hungry. The leopards are also becoming active; our guides at Siana Springs have spotted a leopard and cub with a zebra foal up a tree near Sand River.


The Loita herds of wildebeest and zebra, meanwhile, are also increasing in number across the central Mara, near Musiara Gate, around ‘Double Cross’ and the Topi Plains east of Rhino Ridge. At Double Cross, the Ridge pride of lions are looking in fine fettle, with their new cubs bouncing back to health after the lean season. Intrepids and Explorer guests have been treated to several kills close to camp over the past week, as well as several entertaining close calls. It all promises a season of non-stop action and excitement for at least the next two months.Migration%20Map%2013-07-2005.jpgMigration%20Map%2013-07-2005.jpg

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