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Rain on the dry plains.

Nomad Tanzania Wildebeest Migration Report

Posted at 6:10am on 27/01/2017

Good news today, we just had contact from our guides in Ndutu and they say it rained last night! Looking at the forecasts this should last for a while, so fingers crossed. Currently the migration is very scattered, while Ndutu woodlands are relatively green and there are some smaller herds, a lot of them are on the plains towards Kusini and Maswa, some even reaching North towards Moru, but with a couple of more showers they should all move back towards Ndutu in the next couple of days.

Masai Mara - Season of Plenty!

Heritage Hotels Big Cat and Migration Updates

Posted at 6:05am on 18/08/2016

WEATHER The weather has been cold and dry most of the month with some overcast days. Most of the mornings were quite chilly but warming up soon after the sun came up. We have been experiencing amazing sunrises for most of the days. Water levels have gone down in both the Talek and the Olare Orok rivers, making all the major crossing points in these two rivers less perilous. The grasslands have turned to brown in most of the reserve as we did not get any rains. Temperatures 12ºC morning 25ºC at midday Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE 15ºC after sunset GENERAL GAME The general game viewing has been great throughout the month with our resident giraffe herd moving between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. There has been a herd of zebra and wildebeest moving between the Talek and Olare Orok river. There has been lots of activity going on in the park, with so many wildebeest and zebras around. Other plains games like the Impala, Thomson’s gazelles were spotted east of Mara Explorer camp, with a big baboon troop seen moving between Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. This has kept most of the hunters - big cats, jackals and hyenas - very active as they have been hunting every few days. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE     While most of the smaller rivers are drying up now most of the elephants have been going to drink at the Mara river.        PREDATORS Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE   LIONS Ridge Pride The Ridge pride is still maintaining their territory, north of Mara Explorer camp on the Rhino Ridge, with the two dominant males Lipstick and Blackie still in charge of this pride. They have four lionesses and four sub-adult cubs with them. They have been very lucky with lots of wildebeest and zebra around and have been seen feeding on wildebeest on multiple occasions. Blackie was seen mating with one of the females. Olkeju Ronkai Pride This pride has maintained their territory south of Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps at Burrungat plains. This pride is doing great, with Napejo the lioness with a scarred face helping the pride in making kills, she proved to be a very good hunter when the wildebeest were crossing the Olkeju Ronkai river and she brought down two of them for the rest of the pride. Olkiombo Pride This pride still remains to be one of the most elusive lions, two of the  lionesses were seen hunting along the banks of the Talek river east of Mara Explorer camp. There are also two new young males that have been seen mating with one of the lioness. Paradise pride The pride has been sitting in a very prime position besides the Mara river where wildebeest have been crossing.  They have been very lucky and have been making kills almost every day. One of the lioness was spotted with two very little cubs about ten weeks old. The four Musketeers, which include Scarface, Hunter, Sikio and Morani, seem to have taken this pride completely since they ditched the Marsh pride.     Most of the male lions like Blackie, Scarface and the two new males in Olkiombo have been busy passing on their genes.         LEOPARDS Bahati our resident leopard was seen on several occasions with one of the cubs, the female cub has not been spotted since April. We still can’t say that she has lost the cub as leopards have been known to stay away for long periods of time. Only time will tell. She has also been busy killing wildebeest along the Olare Orok river. Kaboso the leopard north of Intrepids and Explorer along the Olare Orok river has also said goodbye to both of her cubs and recently she was seen lactating so she has a new litter which she has kept very well hidden. The cubs have been seen on various occasions hunting small dik diks and gazelle. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE   Lorians cub south of the Talek river was a frequent sighting along the Olkeju Ronkai river. He seems not to be shy at all and he was spotted jumping on top of a safari land cruiser. This is a new behavior since leopards are known to exhibit such behavior. This is a behavior that should be discouraged by all people by keeping distance otherwise it can turn out to be disastrous.           CHEETAHS The famous Malaika was seen west of Mara Intrepids camp near Chemorta area. She gave birth to a new litter of three cubs but unfortunately she lost one of them when a big buffalo herd passed through her den. She moved her two remaining cubs south of rhino ridge where she has been leaving them very well hidden as she goes to hunt. She has been making a kill every two or three days. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE   Rani the mother cheetah of three was moving between Olkeju Ronkai and Look Out hill, where she has been hunting almost every day. The 14 month old cubs have been learning how to hunt as well and they have been seen chasing gazelles and young wildebeest. They were also seen along Olkeju Ronkai river with a waterbuck kill.   THE GREAT MIGRATION. The migration is here with a full swing and big herds of wildebeest and zebra are all over the plains. This has attracted numerous predators who have been killing almost every day, with prides of lions making multiple kills most of the time. Some nomadic male lions have also been spotted as they are known to follow the big herds during this migration season. We also witnessed numerous crossings along the Talek, Olare Orok and the Mara river. The crossings at the Mara river have been the most spectacular with thousands of wildebeest crossing from the Look Out hill and more on the main crossing at Paradise plains. Many of the wildebeest have died at these crossings as they stampede on each other and also some of them break their legs when trying to exit from a very rocky point. A lot of them lost their lives at the cul de sac crossing point on the Mara river. Crocodiles have been having a feast as they also have been taking the wildebeest as they try to cross the Mara river. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE   Big herds were seen on Topi plains, Burrugat plains and on Posee plains. We expect the crossings to continue in the coming weeks.       Report and pictures by Raphael Koikai, Joseph Kang'ethe and Dennis Waweru, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps, Masai Mara. For any enquiries or to book any of these camps, write to sales@heritgehotels.co.ke.          

Victoria Falls Bucket List Run

Africa Albida Tourism Updates

Posted at 6:38pm on 10/07/2015

By Marianne Betts  DAWN has just broken in the normally sleepy resort town of Victoria Falls. But today is different. It is the day of the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon, and the main street has been transformed into a river of vibrant colour, energy and chatter. The full marathon runners have already gone, and the air is electric with excitement, nerves and anticipation as nearly 1,000 half marathon runners hope that the weeks spent pounding pavements in preparation for this event will finally pay off. The Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) team are immediately noticeable, firstly for their branded bright orange t-shirts, and secondly because of their sheer numbers – 66 staff are taking part in the event, including 50 in the half marathon. The event also incorporates a 7km fun run. AAT staff ready to run: Left to Right - Forgive Maketo, Augustine Maungwe, Casper Mpofu, Ronald Tshuma and Mbonisi Dube The staff work at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, The Boma – Place of Eating and Lokuthula Lodges, and everybody is giving it a go – gardeners, chefs and even group chairman Dave Glynn. Banter abounds on whether Casper Mpofu, a bedroom hand at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, will retain his title as AAT’s fastest runner after he completed the previous year’s half marathon in a tidy 1 hour 29 minutes. He good-naturedly boasts that he will. Casper was awarded the inaugural trophy, donated by Victoria Falls Safari Lodge regular guest and runner Ian Wallace, who has, again, this year, travelled from his home in Cape Town to take part in the event. I am part of the AAT team, and like everyone else, hoping for a good run. This is my seventh half marathon, and, naturally, I’d love to better my personal best time of 1 hr 51 min, but having only run relatively flat courses at sea level, this could just be a big ask. Most of the crowd appear to be Zimbabwean but there is also a fair sprinkling of international competitors, with some wearing t-shirts with the name of their country emblazoned across it- “South Africa”, “Kenya” and “Australia”. But others prefer to go more incognito, like a young German woman, who is doing volunteer work in South Africa, but came up to Victoria Falls for a holiday, and when she discovered it coincided with the event, she decided to enter. It turns out more than 100 South Africans have entered the event, more than 60 Americans, and plenty from neighbouring countries, including more than 50 from Zambia, and some from as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and Israel. As 7.15am nears, the crowds gravitate towards the start line, and then the race begins. It starts, encouragingly, downhill, and across the historic Victoria Falls bridge to Zambia. But before many of us have even crossed the bridge the “elite” runners – a tight and fast moving group of slightly built men – have already reached Zambia, turned around and are on their way back. And they're off... From the bridge, Victoria Falls is particularly breathtakingly beautiful in the early morning light, and as the sun rises above it, many runners pause to take in this memorable view, before running on to the Zambian border and u-turning under the gaze of a watchful customs official. Competitors run past the magnificent Victoria Falls, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World Back over the bridge and into Zambezi Drive, and Zambezi National Park, suddenly I am aware elephants are nearby … big, wild African ones. There are very fresh elephant droppings on the road, then the sound of trumpeting comes from the bush. Armed National Parks staff are on high alert. I later learn an earlier group of runners had been charged by an elephant. I don’t imagine there are too many other marathons where runners can squeeze in a bit of game viewing, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Zambezi Drive Next runners are rewarded with a glimpse of the mighty Zambezi River before it cascades more than 100m into a gorge, to form the world’s largest waterfall, and then on through the national park, where monkeys and baboons dot the road here and there. So far temperatures are cool and there’s enough downhill to keep runners happy. But that’s all about to change. At the 14km mark, just before Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, the torment starts to creep in, as the road winds gradually at first, and then more steeply uphill, forcing many to slow  to a “granny" run or a walk. After what seems like forever running uphill, runners enter the gates of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, expecting it to end there. But it doesn’t. The hill keeps going. Fitness is put to the ultimate test. The only welcome sight is a cool shower for participants to run through at the AAT water stand. Runners enjoy a refreshing shower at AAT's water stand Eventually runners reach a t-junction, and those with a bit of “go” left in them try to capitalise on a welcome, but short-lived,  stretch of downhill. Then comes the final leg … more uphill, and as temperatures rise many a sweat-drenched runner’s pace now slows to a walk, sometimes returning to a lack lustre run, after being prompted by words of encouragement by passing runners or a warm Zimbabwean smile from the sidelines. The last in a series of cruel final twists comes when just as the end seems imminent, now weary runners are made to run around the perimeter of a very, very  large sports field at Victoria Falls Primary School before crossing the finish line, where they are greeted with medals, t-shirts and cold bottles of water. Knowledge Njovo receives his medal at the finish line I finish in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 10 seconds, making it one of my slower times, but the hills definitely made it the toughest half marathon I have done. However, it is a challenge worth rising to, and an experience that won’t easily be forgotten. The race was won by 25-year-old Zimbabwean Munjaradz Jari  in 1 hr 5 min 45 sec, whilst the fastest woman to cross the finish line was 25-year-old Zimbabwean Constance Nyasange in 1 hr 17 min 14 sec. Full marathon competitors had to complete two of these 21.1km circuits, with 34 -year-old Zimbabwean Nkosiyazi Sibanda crossing the finish line first in a time of  2 hr 19 min 12 sec, making it, incredibly, his fourth consecutive win at this event. The fastest woman, Zimbabwean, Thabitha Tsatsa, 36, covered 42.2km in an impressive 2 hr 49 min 44 sec. But what happened to Casper Mpofu, the humble, but nimble-footed, bedroom hand from Victoria Falls Safari Lodge? Well, unfortunately, he didn’t retain his title as fastest man at AAT, taking second place to Ronald Tshuma, a chef in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge’ MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant kitchen, who ran the race in 1 hr 29 min 20 sec. Casper came second,  while Jaya Mapfumo, a bedroom hand at Lokuthula Lodges, came third, and for the record, the boss, Dave Glynn, finished in a time of 2 hr 28 min 27 sec. Don't worry, Casper, there’s always next year! Dave Glynn crosses the finish line