17 April, 2015

Mara Intrepids & Mara Explorer Camps Wildlife Sightings - April 2015

Temperature   

19c morning   
28c at midday   
25c after sunset   

Weather   

Raining.   

The rivers and luggas are flooded.   

Mara River is rising after the low ebb in the last few months.

 
The results of the first rain   

The wet ground is perfect for studying animal prints. It’s easy to track animals.

 
The birds are changing to breeding plumage and preparing their nests, ready for incubation.

 
Topis are forming leks in preparation for rutting.   

A lek is an aggregation of males that gather to engage in competitive displays to entice females who are surveying prospective partners for copulation. Leks are commonly formed during the breeding season. The topis have been doing this along Topi Plains, north of Rhino Ridge and also on Paradise Plains.   

Buffalos on the other hand are calving in large numbers. There is good grazing for the cows to produce milk for the calves.

   
LOITA WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS MIGRATION (DOMESTIC)   

The Loita and Aitong wildebeest, zebras and gazelles have started heading back northeast to the Loita Plains in search of fresh grass shoots. They are avoiding the black cotton soil that sticks to their hooves which can lead to foot-rot.   The Aitong-Loita herds have been in the reserve for longer than expected because of the dry spell. Normally they would have gone back around October and November, making this year special because the calving happened in the reserve, something that has not been seen for a long time.   Beautiful flowers are in blossom. The wildebeest have mowed the grass making it easy to see animals.

       
Predators   

Lions   

Double Cross Pride   

The M7 has established its territory between Talek River and Olare-Orok. The pride is patrolling the area marking territory. There is going to be a shift in lion dynamics around Double-Cross as the M7 is seen in what is Mohican and Romeo2 territory. It will be interesting to see what happens.   The lionesses from Smelly Crossing to the junction of Intiakitiak River and Olare-Orok are still holding on to their territories with their cubs.

   
Ridge Pride
  
Blackie and Lipstick, the two black-mane lions continue to rule the territory between Rhino Ridge and Olare-Orok. Their five lionesses and thirteen cubs are doing very well. They have been killing at least every two days because of the numerous wildebeest and zebra that are in the Mara.   

Blackie and Lipstick have been spotted mating with two other lionesses up on the ridge. They are part of the sub-Ridge Pride. It will be an interesting thing to watch as the original Ridge Pride females cannot tolerate prodigal females on their territory.   The boys however like it because they are spreading their genes considering that a lion’s success is determined by the number of offspring they leave behind.
        
Paradise Pride   

The Musketeers which include Scar, Morani, Sikio and Hunter have three different prides. There are two sub-prides from the Ridge - one of seven and the other of eight; a sub-pride of Paradise of fifteen and the Marsh Pride of over twenty members.

    
Olkeju Ronkai Pride   

Notch’s four sons have been seen with two lionesses and four cubs of six month old at Olmisigiyoi which is south of Mara Intrepids Camp and Explorer Camp.

    
Ol Kiombo Pride   

Olkiombo Pride is near Mara Intrepids Camp and Explorer Camp.   

Leopards   

Golden Balls, the majestic leopard was spotted recently around Double- Crossing. He had made a kill and was relaxing on top of a tree, keeping a watch-full eye.   Siri and Kijana are still at Shamarta in the rocky hills while Shujaa is at Paradise Crossing.   Bahati is near Mara Intrepids Camp and Mara Explorer. Saba is between Olare-Orok and Intiakitiak Rivers.
     Pic By Jay Kangethe - Safari Guide Mara Intrepids CampPic By Jay Kangethe - Safari Guide Mara Intrepids Camp 

Cheetahs   

Malaika has been between Balloon Crossing and Kivuko ya Topi, not far from where she gave birth to her six cubs. The four surviving cubs are doing great. Unlike lion cubs that learn how to hunt by observing what their mothers do, cheetahs take a very different approach. Cheetah mothers are very practical on how they teach their young. Malaika will catch a young impala or Thomson gazelle and release it to the young to chase and bring down until they learn to inflict the killing bite. That’s what Malaika has been doing lately.
       Pic By Jay Kangethe - Safari Guide Mara Intrepids Camp Pic By Jay Kangethe - Safari Guide Mara Intrepids Camp  

Spotted Hyenas   

The number of hyenas seems to have increased in the past one year with new dens being established north and west of Mara Intrepids and Explorer camps. They have been very active within the Double-Cross area, south of Rhino Ridge and on the Topi Plains. They are very good hunters and have been hunting wildebeest calves.   Hyenas live in clans and they have been competing a lot with the lion prides in the area. Hyenas are the lion’s biggest competitors.
        
Report and pictures by John Parmasau – Head Safari Guide, Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Camps.
©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

Samburu Intrepids Camp - Easter Sightings

A young male cheetah near Larsens Camp was seen. He looks new in the area.

At Samburu National Reserve, we have a good number of cheetahs. For the last six months, we have had regular sightings of two females, each with two cubs. One female and her cub are at Samburu National Reserve and the other female and her cub are in Buffalo Springs National Reserve. There are other cheetahs but rarely seen because they are not used to cars.  
         
Leopard spotted

Over Easter, guests at Samburu Intrepids Camp were delighted to see leopards on all three days in different areas of the reserve.

Read More about the elusive African Civet.






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


       
Weather   

The weather has changed.   The rain started around the Mara. It’s the first rain of the year and the land is dry and thirsty. The parched soil will simply soak all the water first. Hopefully, the vegetation will turn green and lush soon.   

The first rain   

All the animals look happy. The birds are changing to breeding plumage and preparing their nests for incubation. Beautiful flowers will blossom with grass shortened by the grazers.   

Temperature  

19c morning   
28c at midday   
25c after sunset   

LOITA WILDEBEEST AND ZEBRAS MIGRATION (DOMESTIC)
  
The Loita and Aitong wildebeest, zebras and gazelle are still with their young. This is amazing because cattle around the Mara have not fared well. The ranting of the wildebeest will start soon when the grass is tall enough to give wildebeest enough to eat.   

OTHER INTRESTING SIGHTINGS AROUND MARA INTREPIDS CAMP   

Shujaa (means hero in Kiswahili) the leopard has been stocking his tree at Paradise Crossing. The stock consists of five carcasses of three young wildebeest and two young topi.   

Predators   

Lions   

Double Cross Pride   

The M7 pride has established itself along Olare-Orok and Intiakitiak River. The pride of four lionesses and three cubs camp between Mara Explorer and Olare-Orok.   Two lionesses with two sub-adult cubs are still wandering between the two rivers – Olare-Orok and Intiakitiak. Two lionesses with seven cubs are operating along Intiakitiak River with two of the M7. Food at the moment is not a problem but land is with territorial fights breaking out often.   

Ridge Pride   Blacky and Lipstick have finally claimed ownership of the territory between Olare-Orok and Shamarta and around Talek River. The four musketeers dominate Shamarta to Musiara marsh. The four musketeers have a strong coalition Blacky and Lipstick.   

Paradise Pride   The Musketeers patrol the Mara Triangle mating with prides across Mara River. They have formed a coalition with Notch. Like Notch’s sons, they either kill or chase away the dominate males in other prides before taking over them.   The Musketeers have three different prides. There are two sub-prides from the Ridge pride, one of seven and one of eight. The Paradise sub pride numbers fifteen and the Marsh pride has more than twenty members.   

Olkeju Ronkai Pride   Four of Notch’s sons have joined the Ilkejuronkai pride, south of Mara Intrepids Camp and Mara Explorer.   

Ol Kiombo Pride   The Olkiombo pride is slowly being replaced by M7.   Three of Notch’s offspring are with the Ridge pride. They are heading to Maji ya Fisi where the rest of the pride disappeared to.   

Leopards   Siri and Kijana are still at Shamarta in the rocky hills while Shujaa is at Paradise Crossing.   Bahati is between Mara Intrepids Camp and Mara Explorer, while Saba is between Olare-Orok and Intiakitiak rivers.   

Cheetahs   Malaika has gone back to the place she gave birth on. It’s south of Mara Intrepids Camp at Survey Hill. Four cubs are still with her looking well fed and healthy.    

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

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/