From the Field: Game Report from Kenya

February 11, 2010  By: Africa Adventure Consultants

We’re pleased to bring you the latest game update from our partners at the Governors’ Camps in Kenya’s Masai Mara. March-May is typically warmer and wet, but still, a lovely time to be in the Mara with fewer tourists, lush green grasses and some great game viewing with the help of an expert guide. We highly recommend this season for return safari-goers looking for a new experience.

Plan now for your summer safari to see the Great Migration and request a visit to one of the Governors’ Camp properties on any custom itinerary to Kenya! Call us or email for more details on planning a custom safari to Kenya.

Read on for the latest game viewing sightings and complete updates from the Masai Mara direct from the Governors’ Camp:

Governors’ Camp Big Cat Update: Watch the Video!

 

Climate Report:

We received some good rain through the new-year and the first couple of weeks of January, a total of 64mm. The remainder of the month has been hot and dry, climbing up to 33 degrees celsius. The Mara River increased dramatically rising to halfway up its banks, making life difficult for the crocodiles and hippos. For at least a week the Crocodiles spent their days on the top banks or in the forest whilst the hippos looked for eddies or the slowest running water. The grassland has been the perfect grazing height for most of the plains game, growing a little longer towards the end of the month. Once the grass becomes too long, most grazers will move nearer to the river line where the hippos keep it nicely mown. This is for two reasons, it is preferred by the selective grazers and they are able to spot predators moving over the short grass.

Wildlife Report: Elephants have been regular visitors this month. There have been large numbers of families moving through the Musiara Marsh eating the sedge and into the forest where they are browsing on the new growth of Teclea. Elephant bulls have been following up the herds, some in musth in search of oestrus females, but most taking advantage of the abundance of food. It has been great to see a couple of really large tuskers one of them weighing approximately 70-80lbs each. The three local bulls, namely “Curchill”, “Blossom” and “Posom” have been back visiting the forest around Little Governors Camp. One large breeding herd of about 400 buffaloes have been moving slowly between the Musiara Marsh, the park gate and Rhino Ridge.

The rhinos have been seen fairly regularly from the balloon this month, most likely because there is more peace and quiet now that the wildebeest have left us. We have also had some wonderful in camp rhino sightings with the male spotted from the bar at Little Governors and the female and her now fairly large calf seen on the opposite side of the river bank at Ilmoran Camp. The Marsh Pride of lions are spending more time apart as the game becomes sparse and they need to cover more ground. Occasionally coming together if there is a kill or they have a need for social bonding.

The Paradise Pride are in good form, they too have to look further and longer for prey. They were very brave and fortunate to have killed a hippo towards the end of the month. The five young males and the rest of the pride were feeding on it for days. Notch was not around but all the cubs are doing well. Our small pride of two males, two females and two cubs are still down by the river in their limited territory in between the Marsh and Paradise prides. This pride still does not have a name, but they have plenty of character. The lions and cubs last seen were incredibly fat, whilst the lionesses were actually fairly thin. Either the ladies were doing all the work or the boys were doing none of it!

 

The young cheetah and her cub have been in the area, not venturing too far as the cub is still a little young and must be kept in hiding whilst it’s mother hunts. Shakira and her two cubs are still on the Trans-Mara side of the river. Once the river has receded, she may come back over. It will be interesting to see whether her cubs will follow or become independent and go their own way at this stage. We have had a few sightings of another female cheetah traversing the boundary of the reserve and Maasai land. The three brother cheetahs were at the start of the month between Bila Shaka and the Talek River, but have moved off we think towards Keekarok on the Burrungat Plains. The longer grass will provide some good cover for the cheetah, but most of their prey will be moving onto the short grass and will be more concentrated, meaning more look-outs.

One of the female leopards along the river line, who has become a bit more brazen, has allowed us some great sightings this month. Once she was with a kill, hiding in a small bush near the Marsh with lions on one side and hyena on the other. She seems not to be intimidated by baboons either and chooses rather to ignore them. Olive and her two cubs are still doing very well. She has moved into the Croton bushes along the River. Whilst the grass was short and green Serval Cats seemed to jump out at every turn, their camouflage not being as effective as when the grass is longer and yellow.

Altogether it has been a great month, with lots of wonderful wildlife sightings and we hope to share the magic of our corner of the Mara with you sometime soon!