It’s July and the wildebeest migration is in full gear with daily reports of huge crossings. Game in the plains is plentiful and every safari is exciting with rampant sightings of predators and the interaction is a thrill to write home about. This time of the year, there is no better safari place to be than in the Masai Mara.
The gnu and zebra herds have been camped in the Mara Triangle for a while, but the swelling numbers are now moving and making entry into the Musiara Marsh area. This is absolutely great news especially for the lionesses and cubs of the Marsh Pride – the feted lion family of the BBC wildlife series, Big Cat Diary. The pride males – Hunter, Morani, Sikio and Scar, had reportedly moved into the Mara Triangle to make good of the bounty therein and have occasionally been spotted mating with the Oloololo girls in the Mara Triangle. When the boys decided to move to the triangle, most of the Marsh lionesses had just had new cubs, and moving with the boys was not an option. But now, the gnu bounty is moving into Marsh territory and spreading fast across the horizons. This is a triple blessing for the marsh girls; they now have plenty to eat, they’re producing more than enough milk to nourish their young and maybe… just maybe, the boys will return home sooner.
Marsh Pride aside, migration enthusiasts say the migration has not hit climax as the ‘Mega Herds’ are yet to arrive. Nevertheless, progressively massive herds have been reported crossing at various points since mid-May. In the past few weeks Lemala Mara, Kogatende area near Crossing 4 as well as Sayari near Crossing 7 and 8, in Serengeti have been chaotic with crossing after crossing as more migrants check-in to the Mara. Abuzz with activity and spread with game, the plains now make for excellent viewing. The areas around Ashnil Mara, Sand River, Governors’ Camps, Lookout Hill and Paradise Plains have witnessed high crossing activity. The herds are surging northwards and it is no doubt the Mara Talek and Burrangat Plains will be the place to be in the next 3 weeks or so.
There has been news of intermittent rains across the plains, which may translate to some more great news; the gnus may again stay longer in the Mara this year like they did last year. We are crossing our fingers and looking forward to it.
Conversely, the arrival of the migrating hordes into the Mara is not delightful news to all, and in particular the elephants. They stage a sort of migration of their own to get away from the millions of migrants that come and take over the landscapes. Sizeable herds of elephants have been seen pompously moving towards Naboisho for some peace and quiet perhaps. So, if you are an elephant fan, you now know where to catch up with them.
While the migration craze last and everyone’s flocking to the river banks to catch a glimpse of the gnus stampede across the waters, it is never a guarantee that everyone will get to witness a crossing or a predator on a hunt. The animals are in charge and they have no scripts or directors; they act out their own thrills, intrigues and suspense as instinct dictates. We have heard of many who have tracked a herd up until the river bank and to their dismay the gnus just paced the banks for hours on end and turned back. We have also heard of many who are on their way to the camp or to catch a flight or on their way back from safari or just minding their own business when a crossing opportunity presents itself.
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