4 January 2007
Firstly - and most importantly - a happy new year to you all! Despite the torrential rains that have made much of the Mara impassable during the last three weeks, the three Heritage camps - Mara Intrepids, Mara Explorer and Siana Springs - have all managed to escape relatively unscathed. The swollen waters of the Talek River stopped short of reaching the Intrepids bridge and Explorer's dining deck, and all of our occupied tents remain dry! Needless to say, the sunshine that arrived on Sunday has been a very welcome sight - and promises to let us extend our game-driving territory over the coming days.
Despite the rains, lion sightings have been very good and several of our guests have enjoyed close-up hunts. The Ridge Pride kept our guests enthralled throughout December, hunting animals that had been stranded between the Talek and Olare Orok rivers by the floods. The Olkiombo Pride stayed further east to avoid confrontations with their main Ridge rivals. The Shonko Pride also continued to give us exciting sightings with their three tiny cubs. Our guests at Siana meanwhile enjoyed the sight of a new pride with eight small cubs at Maji ya Fisi. Full of life, the cubs play continuously and can keep you entertained forever.
Bella, our superstar leopard, has been prowling the southern banks of the Talek over the past week, dodging the Olkiombo lions that share her territory. An encounter with these lions a couple of months ago left her with an injured tail. For the past two weeks, we have enjoyed several sightings of her at the Mtamaiyo Lugga, often with kills. Bella's son, Chui, has not been seen regularly over the past two weeks, although Pili, our normally shy female, has been seen several times just east of Mara Explorer - usually feasting on a recent kill in a tree.
Cheetah sightings have been intermittent this season. One female was seen for about a week near our camps, while a male came through the area but after crossing north over the Olare Orok River was prevented from returning by the floods. The three males we usually see south of the Talek are still around, but the floods have prevented us from reaching their territory in recent days.
Watch this space for more breaking news from the world’s favourite felines!
"Lately there has been no better place to film leopards in the Mara than the area around Mara Intrepids and Explorer. Since we first filmed Bella here in 2003, 90% of our filming of leopards for Big Cat Week has been done within 5km of the same location"
- Nigel Pope, Producer, Big Cat02-01-07%20%20Map%201.jpg