Mara Plains this March, 2015

Over the past year, Mara Plains did not receive the required amount of rain needed in order to keep the balanced cycle at full speed. The short rains in November never came, therefore taking us into a rather desperate situation. The Mara was the driest it has been in over a decade. The green plains slowly faded and became occupied by large dust devils and with golden brown pallet of colours.

Happy herds after the rain in Mara plainsDespite the heat and relentless conditions, the animals still perform.There have been regular sightings of the five lion prides. The main star of the show over the past month has been “Handsome” one of our big male lions. He was seen pumped up at a zebra kill, running after a young sub-adult male, causing a very dramatic and fierce fight. Providing more proof that he is a strong force to not be reckoned with.

A few nights after this sighting, loud noises were heard just outside camp, sounds that could not be ignored. After dashing out into the night, spotted was the whole Enkuyanai Pride and Handsome taking down a teenage hippopotamus. The mother hippo was not going to make it easy for them. She took a few steps back and then head down at full force pushed Handsome away. This went on for a while before Handsome got his claws back on the hippo. After about an hour the hippo finally died and then out of the bushes came the 12 cubs of the Enkuyanai pride. A feast was enjoyed.

Fig the leopard Mara Plains

Fig our favorite leopardess spotted in her usual positon up a tree

Fig our leopard has been spotted but she is laying low in the thick bushes and in her favorite spots up in the trees. There is also another female leopardess roaming in the vicinity of camp. She has been spotted along the paths of camp and her tracks remain a part of the ground artwork. She is very shy but clearly quite comfortable being close to camp.

There have also been fewer cheetah sightings recently despite the huge numbers of gazelles that are currently moving though. This may be due to the lack any longer grass which allows cheetah to hide from larger predators as well as cover while stalking their prey before the final sprint. Although sightings have been few, they are well and strong.

Finally, after many signs of rain around including large cumulonimbus clouds and thick haze, the conservancy finally received rain on the 29th of March. It has been 4 days of full rain and the grass has already turned bright green, we have been enjoying the arrival of the migratory birds such as the lesser striped swallows and white storks, all here to take advantage of the plentiful food around as the insects burrow out of the now very soft ground. The rain continues, rivers are flowing and the conservancy is booming! May this abundance of rain continue.. Happy Easter… To new life and new beginnings!

White storks Mara Plains

White storks flock to the plains (Photo A. Rostace)