Govenors Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya.
The early part of the month was very dry as the rains came a little later than expected and the only grass of any substance in the immediate vicinity was around the Marsh. This was where the elephant families were spending most of their time. As the grass in many places has been eaten down to stubble length the elephants have taken to getting most of their nutrition from trees. This is obvious in their dung (which is very dark due to the high tannin level in trees - their dung is usually light in colour when they eat lots of grass) and the state of some of the trees in the area. Elephants are not tidy eaters! Our Masai walking guide is very upset about this as the giraffes' food source is being disturbed. Giraffes are highly revered by the Masai!
Despite the lack of rain early in the month, there are still many zebra and wildebeest around. River crossings were still being seen at the end of the month. We think that their extended stay is due to good rains earlier in the year.
Towards the middle of the month we had good, consistent rain bringing a profusion of green growth. Suddenly everything seemed pregnant, with zebra fit to burst and lots of animal mothers walking with difficulty due to the extra weight they were carrying. First the topi calves arrived, skittering around and eventually taking off at full speed in all four directions of the compass at once. Then came the impala. It was a sad part of reality for guests to watch two black-backed jackals taking a three day old impala kid one morning. In the walking area two giraffe calves were born in quick succession, both of their feathery sets of horns proclaiming their innocence. At the moment the Mara seems like a nursery!
The five males of the Marsh Pride of lions are still finding easy pickings between Lake Nakuru and Rhino Ridge while the three sisters were seen mating with two males near Ol Duruki. The Paradise Pride has been spending most of their time near the Serena Crossing taking advantage of the late traffic of wildebeest and zebra in the area. Notch, five other males, six females and ten cubs of eleven months old were all seen together in this area on a wildebeest kill near the end of the month. Interestingly, there has been a major take-over of the Acacia Pride (in the walking area). Two big males (possibly who followed the migration) fought off the three original males and sadly killed eleven of the prides' cubs. These are two of the biggest lions we have ever seen!
Rhino sightings have been really good over the last two months, with one rhino being seen almost once a week. A big male was visible for about an hour around the Little Governors Marsh in the middle of the month and there was another sighted between Il Moran and Governors Camp towards the end of the month.
The resident female leopard of our area was seen regularly this month. In the walking area there is a particular favourite tree that a big male leopard likes to use. It is exciting to think that when guests are having breakfast in the walking area, they are very possibly no more than 300m from a slumbering leopard!
The female cheetah and her cub, in very close proximity to the three brothers, were seen around our airstrip recently. Maybe we'll have some more small cubs soon!
All in all the Mara is "greening up" beautifully. There is a profusion of youngsters, fresh grass for them to eat and, on the harsher side of life, a huge amount of food for the predators to eat. Many of the Eurasian migrants have returned, making birding a pleasure. The ever cycling seasons are revolving as they should and we are continuing to show our guests the wonders of the wild.
We hope to share the magic of our corner of the Mara with you sometime soon.
To make a booking at Governors Camp please contact our safari holiday experts on 01227 753181