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.
6 August 2012
It’s cloudy with rain late in the evening. We need the Masai blankets on the game drives to keep warm. The elephants and buffalos are relishing the lush grass.
The great migration begins
There’s a dark cloud of wildebeest south of Mara Intrepids Camp from Pose Plain to Lookout Hill signaling the start of the great migration. The wildebeest, the stars of the migration, are moving up north to reach the endless plains of Olkiombo and Topi. A section of the herd is crossing the Mara Triangle from Lookout Hill.
The Talek River is busy with the wildebeest crossing. The females and bulls call all night trying to locate each other. Moving in systematic single files they follow the leaders. The zebras are at Paradise Plain and we’re expecting to see them cross the river any day.
Our crocodiles are having a feast lying in wait for the wildebeest along the rivers.
There’s no more running around looking for food, while the predators have meals on wheels. The lion prides are positioned at all the crossing points.
The Ridge Pride has gone back to its territory. The Olkiombo has regrouped again along the Talek River. After a long time, the Paradise Pride has shown up with two cubs aged three months.
Olive with her cub is west of Olkiombo airstrip. She killed a wildebeest. Bahati has not been seen for three weeks. The Shamarta female is seen almost every day in the morning and evening.
Malaika the female with her cub aged five months is between Intiakitiak and Olare Orok River. She made a successful kill – of a Thomson gazelle but was robbed of it by the two male brother cheetahs.
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.