15 July 2013
The weather is super with cool, clear mornings, becoming warmer in the afternoons with temperatures hitting 27ºC. The sunsets are stunning - molten golden in the horizon.
THE GREAT MIGRATION OF WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS
The migration is moving up north very fast. Herds of wildebeest and zebra are heading towards Mara Intrepids Camp. They can be seen around Maji-ya-Fisi (Hyena pool) up to Ngama Hills by the border of Serengeti.
It’s a good time to wait at the rivers to see them make the river crossing. There are many crossing points between the Talek River (even though the water level is quite low) to the Olkiombo Plain by Mara Intrepid.
The Mara weather is unique and changes quickly. A week ago we had rain. But the water holes are dry and therefore the herds are moving faster than expected in search of water to quench their thirst because the grass they feed on is more like hay.
The zebra herds are further west towards Paradise Crossing, ahead of the wildebeest. The zebra are near Topi Plain enjoying the grass before the wildebeest arrive. The Paradise Crossing is busy at the moment with zebras crossing to the west and into the Mara Triangle.
The water level in the Mara River is not high enough for crocodiles to hunt. Hence the crossing today was successful with no casualties. It’s not a very good time for the Nile crocodiles that have been waiting for months for this opportunity but they have to go hungry again.
Predators are having a good time for there is food all around them. The best time for action is late in the evening and early in the morning. The rest of the day, the cats rest in the bushes to avoid being seen by the prey and also it’s too hot for them to do anything.
The prides are healthy and the cubs very playful.
The Olkeju-Ronkai pride of 11 is in the middle of Meta plain concealed by the tall grass, waiting for the wildebeest. It’s hard to see the lions.
The Olkiombo pride is divided in two groups, each living independently in the same territory. The bigger pride that’s Notch’s favourite has twelve cubs and four lionesses. Notch loves to be with cubs.
The second group of six has one cub and five lionesses.
The Ridge pride of 12 is still together with their sub-adult aged two and half years.
The Paradise pride of 11 has three black-manned lions. They operate both sides of the Mara River.
The Marsh pride is also divided into two. One group of nine has three lionesses; three cubs aged one year and three males. They are at Topi plain. Two of the lionesses are mating. The other group of twenty six is at Marsh. Scarface, the male lion is with them.
There are lots of leopard sighting all along Talek River between Fig tree and Mara Intrepids Camp following the wildebeest. A female with a cub was seen hunting a wildebeest calf. A male leopard was also seen with a wildebeest kill two kilometers near Mara Intrepids Camp.
MIgration Head AIn the west near Paradise plain at Shamarta, two young leopard males were seen separately. One had an impala kill and the other was with a buffalo kill. They were at the marshy section near the albino hippo pool, both very calm and posing for photos.
Olive is a little confused because the wildebeest are between the crossings in her territory. She can’t make up her mind which one to hunt at.
The cheetahs have moved towards the clear plains where the wildebeest have cleared the grass. This has made it easier for them to hunt their preferred prey which is the Thomson and Grant gazelles.
Have you booked your safaris? We have a few slots for the wildebeest migration at Mara Intrepids, which you can combine with a safari from Samburu, and then some sun at Lamu's most amorous hideaway, Kipungani Explorer.
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15 July 2013
I started the usual morning nature walk with our guests Jennifer and John and headed towards the plains. As we were crossing the airstrip, I heard elephants trumpeting. I thought the elephants were crossing the river into Tsavo West National Park and we rushed to see them. We spotted the herd from a distance and they were feeding on the acacia trees.
Close to the plains, we saw lion spoor. The lion must have walked early morning. Looking at the plains, there were elands, wildebeest and zebras. They seemed nervous and l guessed it must be because of the lions.
As we turned toward Sante River, I spotted an orphan baby elephant walking alone towards Ziwani Camp. I immediately called the David Sheldrick Trust in Nairobi to report the this because a baby elephant on its own means it must have got separated from the herd and was lost.
On the second day, we left with picnic boxes for the Shetani Lava and Mzima Springs with a game drive en route. We saw a lot of wildlife, mainly plains game, but only the spoor of the cats. After a picnic lunch at Roaring Rocks which has a superb view of the Ngulia valley, we returned to camp late in the evening.
The following day, we started very early in the morning because Jennifer and John were leaving for Europe. It was their last day in Kenya. After crossing the Kitani River, we saw a male leopard walking majestically and growling to announce that this was his territory. “It’s my first time to see a leopard on the ground,” exclaimed John. It was a perfect finish to their holiday in Kenya.
Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages one luxury camp on the western edge of Tsavo West National Park - Voyager Ziwani Camp. Located on a private sanctuary on the western edge of Tsavo, the camp sits on a secluded dam on the Sante River – home to turtles, crocodiles and hundreds of basking hippos. Reports and pictures by Stephen "Chameleon" Lekatoo, Voyager Ziwani Camp ©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/
15 July 2013
It's late June and the weather’s super. Early mornings are cool and become hotter followed with clouds building up late afternoon. There’s rain on the edges of the reserve.
The Talek and Olare Orok rivers are high, but still manageable to cross. The soft and dew-drenched grass is very palatable for the herbivores. They are not so thirst-driven to the dangerous spots at the rivers and luggas where the predators usually wait for what we call ‘meals on wheels’. The rains have also filled up the pools on the plains for the animals to wallow in and quench their thirst.
THE GREAT MIGRATION OF WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS
Both migrations – that is of the resident wildebeest from the Loita plains and the visitors from Serengeti – are on. Sand River is very busy with the wildebeest arriving from Serengeti.
The wildebeest and zebras scouts are running around, looking confused because they are unsure which paths to follow. This is because of the tall grass covering the Mara plains. For the migrating animals this isn’t much fun because only their heads and the ears are visible, making it difficult for them to see what is around them, which can be dangerous if there’s a predator around.
The Serengeti-Mara migration is south of Mara Intrepids Camp. The animals are moving faster than usual. We think this could be due to the rain in the last few days and the fresh grass.
The residents are around Topi Plain, especially the zebra. There are also plenty of other herds of topi, gazelles and hartebeests.
Down south by Lookout Hill, the natural land mowers are with their foals. It’s the rutting season and hence there a lot of fighting and sparring as males try to keep their females together and ward off rivals who want to snatch them away. Sometimes the males even break each other’s horns during the battles – it’s the way the game is played.
The predators are having a good time. There’s plenty of food and the best time to catch any action is late in the evening and early in the morning. The rest of the day, the cats rest in the bushes to escape the heat of the day.
The prides are looking good and healthy. The cubs are very playful.
The Olkeju-Ronkai pride is in the middle of Meta plain concealed by the tall grass, making it hard for them to be seen. The pride number 11.
The Olkiombo pride is divided in two groups. They live in the same territory. The larger pride – where Notch is always - has twelve cubs and four lionesses. Notch the grand old lion loves being with the cubs.
The second group has one cub and five lionesses.
The Ridge pride is still together and has 12 members.
The Paradise prides with three dark mane lions are still operating on both sides of the Mara River with eleven individuals.
The Marsh pride is also divided in two. The group of nine has three lionesses, three cubs aged one year and three males. The group is at Topi plain. Two of the lionesses are mating.
The other group of twenty six has the male named Scar Face with them.
Leopard sightings are good, Olive and her cub Saba are seen be Talek and Olare Orok rivers. Bahati is operating also seen along Talek River and the plains between Talek River and Rhino Ridge.
Malaika and male cub Tante aged one and half years, and Narasha (also called Alama) with her two cubs - male and female - are around Olkiombo plains. They delight guests at Mara Intrepids Camp with good sightings.