Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

News from Maasai Mara, Kenya August 29th 2008

by Heritage

29 August 2008

The last week has been very enthralling for crossing enthusiasts, with our guests getting their holiday's worth! Very many wildebeests crossed the Mara River at Paradise point for three consecutive days, with the crossings lasting up to ten hours each day! Another crossing point commonly called cul de sac, or Kichinjio by the guides in the Mara, was also very active with many wildebeests and zebra succumbing to crocs, and many more dying from being trampled.

These same herds had crossed about three weeks ago from the Mara Triangle just below the same point for ten hours one day, east onto Paradise and Olorukoti plains and Rhino ridge. Some of them had pushed further north outside the park into Koiyaki and Olare-Orok conservancies.

Some light rains in some areas across the park have triggered random movement by the wildebeest, but our guides expect the herds to be around for a while.

Predators:

If ever there was a good time to catch predators in action in the Mara, then the past week was! Our guests saw very many hunts - attempted and successful - in broad daylight as the lions, cheetahs and leopards couldn't resist the temptation of going for one more wildebeest - even though they had just fed or had caught another recently.

Just yesterday, the Olkiombo pride made a record by killing eight wildebeests in one afternoon - and four more overnight! The wildebeests were crossing the Talek River, which is almost dry but in such a rush that many died in the stampede and others suffered broken limps.

Olive the leopard killed three wildebeest over the past week, which she feed on with her three different litter cubs - a sub-adult female born late 2005, two 18 months-old cubs that are still with her, and a 5 months-old. The family has showed an extraordinary interaction that is now drawing considerable attention from wildlife enthusiasts and experts, as it is a rare occurrence. Fortunately for our Mara Intrepids guests, the happy family is occasionally spotted strolling past the bar area across the river in the evenings.

There are four cheetahs with very small cubs at the moment in our game viewing area. Two of these are not far from Mara Explorer, and still have their cubs hidden in thicket. One has four cubs and the other has six. Our informed guides expect them to move the cubs out any time in the coming two weeks. The third female is in Musiara area, while the fourth is near Look-Out Hill. The latter has already moved her cubs from the thickets and can now be seen moving across the plains with them.

Paul Kirui. Chief Safari Guide
Kindly contact: safariguide@mara-intrepids.co.ke for comments or inquiry on the migration

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News from Maasai Mara, Kenya August 22nd 2008

by Heritage

29 August 2008

Our guides in the Mara report crossings have heightened activities in the reserve. The northern and central parts are the epicenter, with most of the herds crossing from the Mara triangle and spreading out over Paradise and Olorukoti plains. Others have gone beyond the borders of the reserve, all the way to the neighbouring game dispersal areas.

There are high concentrations of wildebeests, zebra, Topi and buffalo around Rhino Ridge, Paradise, central and Meta plains, and all the way to Look-Out Hill. Such a huge gatherings were last seen in 2000 migration season, and is in part due to the amount of grass the animals found when they arrived. The grass in these areas was not burnt leaving plenty of grass for the numerous herbivores. The amount of grass available for the animals may slow their movement, making them prefer to settle longer in particular areas than move around.

However some animals have started crossing the river back onto the Mara triangle. They started this today at around 2.30pm. We later had some showers in the afternoon along the crossing points and this is expected to increase the pace at which the animals will cross back. We are therefore looking forward to more activities in the coming week as thousands of animals cross back


PREDATORS
It was another week full of predatory activities, as the different lion prides swung into action and killed many herbivores. There are wildebeest carcasses littered the plains around areas where prides of lions are found, a reason being most of the prides have now come together, and their territories are teeming with herbivores. There has never been a nicer time to witness hunts, as many of our guests have seen!

The cheetah with the little cubs is still where she was last week and her cubs are still safe. We are just a bit worried because the Olkiombo pride has settled nearby. Our guides hope they will not discover the little cubs since they will be killed instantly. There are other cheetahs seen around as well at this time. The three brothers - Honey’s cubs - are now actively hunting even young wildebeests!

Leopards sighting was good, and we kept seeing all the individuals in our territory.

The wildebeest and zebra with all their attendant animals have really brought life to the Mara, and it is a joy to bear witness to it all!

Paul Kirui. Chief Safari Guide
Kindly contact: safariguide@mara-intrepids.co.ke for comments or inquiry on the migration

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News from Maasai Mara, Kenya August 11th 2008

by Heritage

12 August 2008

There is only one word to describe the situation in the Mara at the moment, ‘It is all wildebeest’. The past week characterized the highlight of the migration in the Mara. There were intensive crossings at the Mara River at the Paradise and Pump-House crossing points in large herds that were last witnessed in 1996 and 2001. To the utter amazement of seasoned Mara guides, there were so many animals converging before crossing, the crossings - especially at the Pump-House point - went on for almost 10 hours!

There’s an air of excitement for the guests who have been planning their trips in advance to witness this event, and for them, it’s been worth it! The wildebeest have been moving en masse from the Mara triangle onto Paradise Plain. Many have died from predation by crocodiles, others from being trampled during the stampedes at the river crossings, and predation from the Big Cats and hyaenas.

The concentration of the migrating herds is now almost spread out across the whole reserve, with more trooping in in their thousands from the Serengeti. The highest concentration currently is towards the central and north plains. Some rains earlier in the week have in a way hastened the movement, with temperatures were somehow low in the mornings but the mid day was fine.


PREDATORS
The last was also quite active for the predators. There were more lion kills witnessed in one week, than in the past couple of months! Wildebeest carcasses littered the plains around pride territories, with even the so called “greedy hyaenas” having their full - as carcasses remained untouched for long periods!

Cheetahs were seen through out the week, with kills and attempted hunts witnessed a number of times. There is a cheetah with 6 four days old cubs, just one kilometre from Mara Explorer along the Talek River. The area had to be sealed off to reduce incidents of the cubs being ran over by vehicles. This same female had a similar litter two years ago, with four of these cubs surviving to adulthood.

Bella the leopard was seen a few times and on two occasions seen with Ntito - one of her daughters - and her 7 month old cub. It was nice to see this very rare occurrence, three generation of leopards interacting!


Paul Kirui. Chief Safari Guide
Kindly contact: safariguide@mara-intrepids.co.ke for comments or inquiry on the migration and other animal sightings in the MaraMigration%20Map%20-%20August112008.jpg

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