26 July 2012
It’s cloudy with cold showers late in the evening. The grass is moist and relished by the elephants and buffalos. The Masai blankets are indispensible on the morning game drives. The impala males are rutting; the elephant females are in estrous and the hippos are mowing the grass along the Olare Orok River. It’s a very active season in the Mara.
The long awaited migration of the wildebeest is on. The plains are rich with zebras, gazelles and many species of birds. There are endless lines of the wildebeest streaming to the Sand River to cross into the Mara game reserve from the bordering Serengeti in Tanzania. Without wasting time around the river, the wildebeest spread in the tall green red oat grass. According to the grazing succession, thousands of zebras lead the way.
They then branch into two groups. One goes up north and the other group moves west towards the Mara River, by the Lookout hill, which is 18 kilometers south of Mara Intrepids Camp.
We hope to see the first crossing at this point in two or three days. There are small groups at Posse and Olkiombo Plains but they look confused as to which way to proceed. The lions and hyenas are having a good time hunting them.
The Loita Plain migration is pressing in from the north towards the Olkiombo Plain.
The prides have started to group and position themselves at their favorite strategic points along the rivers where the migration crosses. They are very alert, hiding in the tall grass.
Notch’s boys have not been seen for almost a week. Notch is busy with the four lionesses from the Olkiombo Pride near Maji ya Fisi.
The Olkeju Ronkai pride has moved further south towards Lookout Hill. They could be waiting for the migration or pushed out by the Ridge Pride.
The Ridge Pride has moved to the south of Mara Intrepids Camp to await the wildebeest.
After Olive killed the water buck in front of Mara Explorer Camp, she has gone to her hideout area. She will re-emerge when hungry again. She was last spotted by Smelly Crossing, west of the Olkiombo airstrip with her cub.
Another friendly leopard at Shamarta was seen once with an impala kill in a tree and another time looking very relaxed with a Thomson gazelle.
Malaika is around Olkiombo Plain near Mara Intrepids Camp. Unfortunately she has lost one cub to hyenas and remains with just one.
17 July 2012
After lots of will-they won't-they, we are happy to report the head of the migration has finally entered the Masai Mara! These pictures were taken today in the afternoon.
The recon team checks out the area..
Hmm - looks good, lots of food. I think we can settle here for the next few months..
Setting up camp...
Everyone's finding a cosy spot...
The head hostess is primed.
Let the games begin!
Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages two luxury camps in the Masai Mara - Mara Explorer and Mara Intrepids - in the confluence of the four game viewing areas of the Masai Mara. The camps are on the banks of the Talek River, with most tents spread along the banks. Report and pictures by John Parmasau, Mara Explorer & Mara Intrepids Camp ©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/
17 July 2012
It’s getting hotter in the Mara hitting a high of 26ºC but the mornings are chilly with temperatures as low as 15ºC. The grass has changed from lush green to gold. It’s pure hay. The elephants and buffaloes are in the valleys and along the water courses where the vegetation is lush with plenty of fresh water available.
The annual migration of the wildebeest from the Serengeti into the Mara is late. As we continue to focus our eyes down south hoping for good news and signs of the herds, the zebras are finally at the Sand River gate. They may have been attracted by the recent storm around the Posse Plain, west of the Mara. This could have also triggered the wildebeest to continue the great trek into the Mara.
The domestic herds of wildebeest and zebra from the Loita Plain are heading towards Olare Orok River and Intiakitiak River.
This is good news because it signals the arrival of the southern migration.
Resident Plain Game
Despite the tall grass in the reserve, there’s still good animal sightings around the Mara Intrepids Camp. Not far from the Camp’s suspended bridge over the river, there are large herds of topi and Thomson gazelle, warthog, Silver-backed jackals, elands, giraffes and buffaloes. We’re also seeing a lot of ostrich. The grass here is relatively shorter; therefore it’s become a favourite area for all the grazers. Plus there’s safety in numbers.
The Rekero Pride (formerly called Ridge Pride) is dominating the Ridge, Olkiombo and Olkeju-Ronkai area. It’s a pride of 11 - four adult lionesses and 7 sub-adults cubs (one female and six males). It’s moving around with Notch and his bully boys. Notch and his boys are harassing other prides, especially around Olkiombo and Olkeju- Ronkai. The smaller prides of fewer than six members cannot withstand the pressure of this group. Many have been injured in fights with Notch’s gang.
When Notch’s gang kills a hippo in another pride’s territory, the Rekero Pride just walks in with no fear and chases away the owners of that territory. It has happened to the Olkiombo female who had a cub. She tried to get a piece of the hippo that had been killed by Notch’s gang in her territory. Instead she was badly injured by Notch’s bully boys neat the sundowner tree.
Olive and her five-month-old cub are by the Olare Orok and Smelly Crossing. Bahati is west of Mara Intrepids Camp. She’s a very interesting young female who is not even two years old but can bring down a full grown male impala – which happens to be her favorite prey. Like her mother, she always feed under cover.