5 December 2012
The weather is great after the recent short rains. It’s clear in the mornings and cool in the afternoons with rain on the peripheries of the Mara.
The grass is green and fresh after the annual world-famous wildebeest migration. The old grass was grazed upon by the migrating wildebeest and zebras from the neighbouring Serengeti in Tanzania.
The lactating herbivorous females are well-fed on the fresh grass and are able to produce a lot of milk for their young ones. In this season of plenty, the grasslands are dotted with wild flowers in bloom.
The Domestic Migration of Wildebeest and Zebras
The herds of wildebeest and zebras from the Loita Plains (east of the Mara Reserve) form the domestic migration. They have not returned to their calving grounds because there has been no rain in the area.
Therefore we are still enjoying big herds around the Olkiombo Plains. This means that predators like the big cats are in close range of the Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer camps and our guests are treated to good sightings of the cheetah, leopards and lions.
There is an abundance of other plains game. The elephants have also come out of the bushes after the migrating wildebeest and zebra cropped down the tall grass. The elephants are now gorging themselves on the new shoots.
Lion sightings are good around Olkiombo Plains.
All the prides are coming together to strengthen their bonding. Notch and his sons are with the Olkiombo Pride. The lioness in the pride has two cubs aged three months. One of the cubs has a deformed foreleg but it manages to move around.
The Ridge Pride has also returned to its residential place after hanging around for a month by the Olkiombo airstrip and Notch and his boys refusing to join the pride. However a young male joined the pride from somewhere and was seen mating with the Ridge female on recently. We do not know this male and will keep tabs on him.
The Paradise Pride is doing well with three males who took over from the Notch group without a fight.
Olive mated with the Ridge male between Olare Orok and the Rhino Ridge three weeks ago. We are expecting the new cubs by the end of February 2013.
Bahati mated one and half months ago near the Fig Tree rock by the junction of Talek and Olare Orok, west of the Mara Intrepids Camp. The cubs are due by January 2013.
Olive and Bahati are still sharing the same territory but Bahati is spending a lot of time west of Mara Intrepids Camp. Olive is still with Saba who is ten months old, patrolling her territory around Smelly Crossing at Olare Orok.
Cheetah sightings are also good around the Olkiombo Plains.
Malaika is with her cub aged nearly eight months. They are eight kilometers south of Mara Intrepids Camp on the Central Plain where the grass was burned. It now attracts a large population of gazelles browsing on the new shoots.
Alama with her two cubs aged seven months is east of Mara Intrepids Camp between Olare Orok Conservancy and Maasai Mara National Reserve.
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.
30 April 2012
The heavy rains have started and the Mara rivers and luggas are flooded. The luggas (seasonal rivers) can only be crossed using 4x4 vehicles – and at this point these are the only vehicles that can handle the Mara roads.
The Talek, Intiakitiak and Olare Orok river crossing are completely flooded and not passable. One can only access the Mara Intrepids Camp using the Talek bridge and then using the footbridge to cross over. Hence the game drives are possible on from the Camp on both sides of the Talek River, where the Ridge Pride is and Olive the leopard with Bahati. The plains game is abundant - topis, impala and gazelles everywhere.
RESIDENT PLAINS GAME
Since it’s the beginning of the long rains, the grass is short in some areas attracting the grazers. Herds of zebra, topi and gazelles stretch from east of Mara Intrepids Camp to Intiakitiak and Olare Orok Rivers. The Topi Plain, Shamarta and Paradise Plain west of Mara Intrepids Camp are also rich in game.
Very good predators’ sightings around and far from Mara Intrepids Camp.
The lion prides are scattered. They are in small groups of two, six and 13. Notch and his bully boys (his four sons) had killed nine cubs reducing the pride of 22 to 13.
The Ridge Pride of 11 is south of Mara Intrepids Camp, across the Talek River. The females are enjoying the company of Notch. Notch and his boys are very good at hunting hippos. In the last four months, they have killed five hippos. It’s unusual for instead of the females doing the hunting, it’s the males doing it.
Olive is still hiding her cubs across the foot bridge. She is seen occasionally coming out to hunt and disappearing in the thick forest. She targets the male impalas and Thomson gazelles.
Bahati is at the Rekero Crossing hunting her favourite prey, the Thomson gazelles.
A female cheetah with two young female cubs age seven months has been seen regularly. She hunted male impalas and warthog piglets.
The two brothers are roaming between Maji ya Fisi and Rhino Ridge.