Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Wildlife Sightings: 2010

by Heritage

27 January 2010

Happy new year to all!

It is the start of another year, with everyone making New Year resolutions and here in the Mara we are no exception - we do hope 2010 will be better. The good news is that we have started the year with lots of rain in the country including the Mara, giving us a break from the previous year’s devastating drought.

In 2009, the Mara River dropped to its lowest level. It made the famous annual wildebeest crossing from the Serengeti and in to the Mara look like a joke, because the animals just walked across the shallow river and we missed the usual action that goes with the crossing. We hope that this year will be different.

The rains have brought a sigh of relief to the pastoral communities in the country who had to search far and wide beyond their normal grazing borders in search of pasture and water for their livestock. It was a year where we saw a lot of conflict between humans and wildlife. This was because the pastoral people brought their cattle into the wildlife protected areas because there was still some pasture and water available. We saw this in Shaba and Samburu game reserves including the national parks like Nairobi National Park and others. We hope that the rains will last long enough to fill the rivers and replenish the pasture plains.

With the rains, we are seeing fantastic game, even in the arid Samburu Game Reserve, north of the Equator. The animals are regaining their health and are more active. Our guests in Samburu can now watch animals coming down to the Uaso Nyiro River to drink. The river, which is the lifeline for the animals and people living along its course, was dry for the better part of 2009.


The lions are busy trailing the herbivore herds which are now found on the drier higher grounds. In the previous week, we saw the Olkiombo Pride split into two by the Talek River which is full of water. It’s caused the lions some inconvenience as they can’t cross easily to either side.

Olive and her two cubs are near the Olkiombo airstrip. We found them on Friday (8 Jan) morning near the Olare-Orok crossing. With the rivers full, they will have to stay around longer.

The Ridge Pride has moved towards the southern side of Rhino Ridge, away from the Mara River area where they had been for sometime. It was nice seeing them recently feeding on a hippo in the water. The sub-adults are still moving around on their own. Recently, they almost had a confrontation with the Olkiombo Pride when they ventured into their territory.


The three cheetah brothers (Honey’s boys) are still between the two rivers, the Mara and Talek. They killed a young warthog on Thursday (7 Jan) after a dramatic hunt.

Samburu National Reserve

Elsewhere, game viewing in Samburu has been interesting, as witnessed by these pictures provided by one of our guests, David Lawson who was on safari just a few days ago in the Samburu National Reserve.

The leopard was found at southern foothill of Koitogo, on Leopard Rocks and the majestic Somali ostrich at Larsen's plains. The following day, while on a mid morning game drive, David came across the lioness at the Leopard Rocks ”“”“ nice spotting Mr. Lawson! The Grevy's zebra was seen on the eastern side of Kiotogo Hill on the same day.

Thanks for the pictures David, and we hope to see you again soon!

Paul Kirui, Chief Safari Guide, Heritage Hotels and Francis Lenyakopiro, Resident Naturalist, Samburu Intrepids