27 February, 2015

BIG CAT Report - Samburu Intrepids Camp

At 4pm recently, we arrived at the Daraja bridge on the Ewaso Nyiro River in the heart of the Samburu National Reserve. It is the elephants’ main crossing area. There were no herbivores around and I slowed down to look for tracks of animals. 

There were lots of tracks leading away from the river - zebras, oryx and impalas all running in the same direction.   

I had no doubt that the lions were close. I drove along the river and immediately saw Nanai and Nabulu, the two lionesses with their five cubs lying by the river waiting for the prey.   

Back at the camp, I received more news that more lions were sighted with a kill. It was of a Grevy’s zebra. 

 Sebastian our driver-guide explained that Lguret, the dominant lion collaborated with Nachupai, one of the oldest females in the reserve to kill a young Grevy’s zebra. It took them less than three hours to devour the zebra. 

After the feast, Lguret took refuge under a shade while Nachupai lay by the carcass to protect it from vultures.

       
Report and pictures by Steve Tilas – Head Safari Guide, Samburu Intrepids Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

23 February, 2015

MARA INTREPIDS CAMP ANIMAL SIGHTINGS - 15th February 2015

Weather   

It’s very hot. The sun is blazing during the day forcing animals to look for shade.   

Temperature   

19c morning  
29c at midday  
26c after sunset    

LOITA WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS MIGRATION (DOMESTIC)   

Following the rain in December 2014, the local wildebeest and zebras migrated out of the Mara reserve to go up north and east. Without these grazers, the Mara was covered in grass.   It is dry again and the wildebeest and zebras are back to graze in the Mara until the rains start. Then they will migrate out again to their respective calving grounds in the Aitong and Loita plains.   A few herds of zebra have ventured west to Paradise plains and another group has crossed Talek River towards Posse plain. At the moment, pressure is mounting up at Double-Crossing north of Mara Intrepids Camp, heading towards the Olkiombo airstrip.   It is a relief for the lions to have the big herds of grazers, especially for those with cubs.

   

OTHER INTRESTING SIGHTINGS AROUND MARA INTREPIDS CAMP.   
  
The resident serval cat is around.

 

Predators  

Lions  

Double Cross Pride   

The lionesses in the pride are in a dilemma, not knowing which males to please. Some lionesses are interested in mating with the M7 while others are on the run with their cubs avoiding Mohican and Romeo2. Barnoti and Oloolpapit are interested in the same pride. Mohican and Romeo2 are trapped in the middle of Intiakitiak and Olare Orok rivers with no females.   Seven individuals are between Olkiombo airstrip and Double-Crossing. Two lionesses and seven cubs are between Olare Orok and Intiakitiak Rivers and there are no males with these families.

   

Ridge Pride   

With twelve cubs and seven lionesses, the pride is with Blacky and Lipstick. The pride has been on the move looking for prey. First they crossed Mara River to the Triangle in the west. There was no prey there.   The pride is now near Smelly Crossing and along the ridge where the zebras and wildebeest are.

 

Paradise Pride   

The musketeers were recently seen mating with one of the Paradise lioness. The pride has re-grouped again with fifteen members - six cubs with six lionesses and three males. They were all in bad shape, hungry.   

Olkeju Ronkai Pride   

The pride is still in different groupings. Three of Notch’s sons are with them at Olkeju Ronkai.

   

Ol Kiombo Pride   

The pride of three males, seven cubs and six lionesses has returned to Olkiombo plain. The M7 are also interested in the pride.   

Leopards   

Siri and her male cub named Kijana are at Shamarta, giving us good leopard sightings west of Mara Intrepids Camp along the Mara River at the rocky hills.



Cheetahs   

Following the mini migration, cheetah sightings are good north of Mara Intrepids Camp and Mara Explorer. Malaika is at Double-Crossing and the two brothers are along Intiakitiak River hunting sub-adult wildebeest.    

Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

19 January, 2015

MARA INTREPIDS CAMP ANIMAL SIGHTINGS - 15th January 2015

Weather  
The weather: Both cool and sunny. 

Temperature  
19c morning  
28c at midday   
25c after sunset
 
LOITA WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS MIGRATION (DOMESTIC)  

The Loita or local wildebeest, zebras and gazelle have gone back to the Loita and Aitong plains following the rains all over the Mara region for the last ten days. Mara was wet hence, hastening the migratory herbivores to leave. When the Mara is wet with its black cotton soil it discourages the hoof animals to linger around as the wet black cotton soil sticks to their hooves and the animals suffer foot rot.

   


OTHER INTRESTING SIGHTINGS AROUND MARA INTREPIDS CAMP.
 
We saw the resident serval cat by Olkiombo airstrip. Hyenas were seen feeding on a hippo carcass in a pool of water.

   
Then, one of the M7 males from Olare Orok Conservancy near the Olkiombo airstrip, walked away to join the hyenas. M7 are seven sub adult males from Enguyanai pride in the conservancy. M7 stands for ‘the Magnificent Seven’.



Predators

Lions

Double Cross Pride

Political land dispute continues as some of the prides start falling out. Double-Cross pride has three sub prides:   1.Two females with seven cubs aged four months. No male is with them along Intiakitiak River.   2. Two lionesses with three cubs aged seven months in between Intiakitiak and Olare Orok with Mohican and Romeo2   3. Four lionesses with three cubs aged six months between Mara Intrepids Camp and Olare Orok. There is no male with them. This is the pride M7 are eyeing. All the three sub prides are within the same territory.   One theory is that it’s dangerous for the cubs because they have a different odor. Prides bond by rubbing or hugging each other, maintaining the same smell.

Ridge Pride

This pride is at the moment fairly large with Blacky and Lipstick as the dominant males. They are experiencing problems with the lionesses who are bringing in males of their own choice to the territory held by Blacky and Lipstick.   The largest sub pride is the one with thirteen cubs of different ages, five lionesses and males. They operate along Talek River.   Another sub pride resides along Mara River upstream and between Mara River and Rhino Ridge. It has five sub adults and two lionesses. This pride is shared by the four Musketeers from the Marsh pride and Blacky and Lipstick.   Another sub pride of eight individuals has three lionesses and five sub adults. The sub adults are about to leave the pride. They operate along Mara River and Rhino Ridge. This pride is under the Musketeers.   The smallest group is Nyota and another female. Nyota’s son Moja, has joined a lioness from the Double Cross pride. Nyota, since she separated from the Ridge pride three years ago when Moja was born has been operating at Rhino Ridge.   The two lionesses were joined by a new male from OOC by the name Oloolpapit who walked into Blacky and Lipstick’s territory. These two lionesses are giving these two males sleepless nights. They are now forced to separate.   

Paradise Pride 

  
The Musketeers were lately seen mating with one of the Paradise lioness.   

Olkeju Ronkai Pride   


Olkeju Ronkai pride is also split in three sub prides.   One consists of old Notch’s boys at Olmisigiyoi, south of Mara Intrepids Camp. It has two females and four cubs.   Second is Napejo’s group of three lionesses.   The third is two lionesses with two males who are either Notch’s sons or grandsons. They are at Olkeju Ronkai.   


Olkiombo Pride   


They are back to their breeding ground east of Mara Intrepids Camp along Talek River. There are three males – Notch’s offsprings, seven cubs and two lionesses.
  
                

Leopards   

Siri at Shamarta and her male cub is giving us good leopard sightings west of Mara Intrepids Camp along Mara River at the Rocky Hills.

   

Cheetahs   

So far cheetah sightings have been great around Mara Intrepids Camp with a record of nine cheetahs spotted in one day without a repeat count.   Malaika with her four cubs has camped at Double Crossing between Intiakitiak and Olare Orok Rivers. The family looks fine.

       
Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

13 October, 2014

MARA INTREPIDS CAMP ANIMAL SIGHTINGS - 15th January 2015

Weather

It is cloudy but the sky clears by mid-day. 

Temperature

17c morning
28c at midday
25c after sunset

 MIGRATION OF WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS

The wildebeest are widely spread following the rains filling all the natural water holes.

Crossing is now taking place around Talek and Olare Orok and it is dramatic.

The migrating herds are still grazing fresh grass east of the Mara.






























PREDATORS

LIONS

Double Cross pride has expanded its range to Olkiombo airstrip. Mohican and Romeo2 have been seen between Intiakitiak and Olare Orok rivers.





























LEOPARDS 

The Ridge male leopard was at Double Cross looking well fed with a female with two cubs.
Bahati is at Smelly Crossing. She is with a male and expected to start a family soon.

Saba is at Double Cross looking expectant.




























CHEETAHS

Malaika with her five cubs is south of Mara Intrepids Camp near Lookout Hill. 



























Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

10 September, 2014

RARE SIGHTING AT SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE

A few days ago while on a game drive we saw hundreds of vultures relishing a freshly killed male impala. At first, I thought it was a leopard kill but there was no sign of the impala having been strangled by a leopard.

Vultures feed on carcasses, they do not make a kill of their own.  We were very eager to find out who killed the impala. So we switched off the car engine and waited. 
















I only took three pictures then I saw a wolf-like animal emerging from the bush. It was a wild dog!
The impala had been hunted by a pack of wild dogs.

When we were children we were told that wild dogs only eat animals alive and when the animal falls down, the wild dogs leave it. I have also seen wild dogs hunting their own prey where they finish it immediately.


























  • African wild dogs live in packs. The Alpha male leads the team in a hunt.
  • African wild dogs take care of the young for about 12 -14 months –or for as little as six months if all of the previous young die.
  • The gestation period is between 60 and 80 days. Pups are born in dens.
  • A wild dog is adapted to long-distance running at high speeds,  of up to 66 km/hr for 10 to 60 minutes, and over great distances (at about 50km/hr. for 5.6km).  Nearly 80 per cent of all wild dogs hunts end in a kill.
  • Members of a pack vocalize to help coordinate their movements.
  • They take good care of their young. After a successful hunt, the hunters will regurgitate meat for those that remained at the den.
  • To hunt larger prey, wild dogs use a closely coordinated attack, beginning with a rapid charge to stampede the herd. One wild dog then grabs the victim's tail, while another will latch on to the upper lip or nose, and the remainder attempt to disembowel the animal.
  • The male wild dogs usually perform the task of grabbing the prey by the nose.
  • The African wild dog is an endangered species due to habitat loss and poaching. It uses very large territories (so can persist only in large wildlife protected areas), and it is strongly affected by competition with larger carnivores that rely on the same prey base, particularly the lions and hyenas.


Report by Steve Tilas – Safari Guides, Samburu Intrepids Camp.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

09 September, 2014

MARA INTREPIDS CAMP ANIMAL SIGHTINGS – 30 August 2014

Weather

It’s cold and cloudy early morning, clearing up before mid-day. Dress warm dressing with Maasai shukas (blankets) for morning and evening game drives.

Temperature

17c morning
28c at midday
25c after sunset

 MIGRATION OF WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS

The wildebeest and zebras are looking for new shoot of fresh grass before heading back south to Serengeti. They are near Talek River, at Burungat and Posse Plains all the way to Sand River straddling Serengeti and the Mara - a distant of 23 kilometers. They look like ants covering the plains.

The wildebeest and zebras are still crossing the Mara River. Our guests at Mara Intrepids Camp and Mara Explorer have been reporting superb crossings.







PREDATORS

LIONS

Along Olkeju Ronkai River, there are two juvenile male lions from the Ridge pride, aged three years. They wait here to pounce on the wildebeest and zebras coming to the river for a drink.

The Ridge pride with their cubs was this morning by a herd of buffalos. The buffalos had been terrorizing the pride, killing their young cubs. So far the pride has lost two cubs to the herd.






LEOPARDS 

The Ridge male leopard was at Double-Crossing looking well-fed. 

Shujaa has had very successful kills at paradise crossing Mara river west of Mara intrepid camp.




CHEETAHS

Malaika with her six cubs is south of Mara Intrepids Camp.

Imani came down from the rhino ridge to look for prey lucky enough she got a young impala at maternity.







Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/