Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

News from the Maasai Mara, August 7th 2007

by Heritage

11 August 2007

The concentration of wildebeest in the past couple of weeks has increased remarkably, with large herds of zebra and wildebeest seen along the north of Sand River. This head of the 2007 migration has pushed further west to Roan Hill, where they have been joined by another herd of about two thousand wildebeest that crossed from the Serengeti around Naima Lumbwa Hills.

The traditional burning of the grass in northern Serengeti - normally done to slow the flow of the herds northwards in to the Mara ecosystem - was done earlier this year, and the rains have enabled new sprouts to shoot in these areas. It was, however, not as extensive, and therefore did little to slow the migration.

There have been crossings near Look-out Hill in the past few days, with herds moving onto the Mara conservancy. However, the numbers are lower compared to the same period last year. The Loita herds - predominantly zebras - have been crossing over to the Mara triangle in the last few days, increasing in numbers around Musiara gate, Double-Cross and Topi plains east of Rhino ridge.

Other sightings
The guides at Heritage's Mara Intrepids and Explorer confirm two large prides of lions now strategically positioned between Sand River and Keekorok Lodge. The pounding hooves of the herds, signaling the season of plenty, is an assurance that they can still live for another five months without going hungry.

The Ridge Pride has established itself around Double Cross area and south east of Rhino Ridge. The cubs, which survived the lean period, are now looking healthy. The guests at the Heritage camps have been treated to a few kills and attempted kills in the past week, most happening during the day when they were out on game drives.

The leopards too are not to be left out, with our main star, Bella, positioning herself strategically on the migratory route along the Talek River. Our guests have been treated to her regular kills, with the crocodiles in the rivers taking advantage of the easy opportunity to grab a few wildebeest as they cross the river.

The cheetah with four cubs has returned to the reserve after several months outside on Olare Orok conservancy. In what is an interesting twist of nature, she is now near Mara Explorer, in the area where her cubs were born one year ago - in what almost seems like a pilgrimage! She has been spotted making kills on a recently burnt area where there is a concentration of gazelles.

The game drives are now livelier, with this being just a tip of the ice-berg as the full migration is yet to get under way!

Paul Kirui, Lead Safari Guide, Heritage Hotels