We are committed to bringing you the very best of this beautiful wildlife destination, so that you can still experience the daily sightings and and changing weather patterns of the Masai Mara. This is a mini report for April in the Masai Mara, with all words and images by Simon Landolt, interning guide for Governors’ Camp. For more weather and wildlife reports, please click HERE.
We have had a lot of rain the last few days, especially in the evenings and during the nights. The river level is rising and falling from day to day. In the morning of the 10th of April, the Mara River dropped below the average level. The hippos therefore have their well-loved sandbanks and they are often seen sunbathing just on the other side of the river.
From the sundeck of Il Moran Governor’s Camp, it is very easy to observe them. They are very photogenic and it seems as though they are sometimes posing for for us! A calf at the estimated age of 6-9 months is often seen; the mother is still very protective but the calf has already been already introduced to the other members of the group.
A new baby hippo at Il Moran
The hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal on our planet and needs sufficient water to allow for complete submergence. As a selective grazer, access to adequate grazing is also essential, but hippos will move several kilometres away from water bodies to reach suitable feeding areas. Feeding mostly takes time from late evening until early morning. In the Masai Mara National Reserve, older Bulls are often seen grazing during the first hour of the morning game drives and will slowly make their way back to their water home.
The grass on the plains is still tall in most places, but some bigger patches around the border to Mara North Conservancy are getting short and the beautiful white tissue paper flowers are covering the ground. Topi and Thomson’s gazelles, as well as Grant’s gazelles are now more often seen in these areas. A big herd of Topi is being seen almost every morning wandering into the reserve, during April in the Masai Mara.
Topi in good numbers
A Spotted hyena has been seen feeding on an old buffalo carcass. There was not much left of this big African Buffalo bull, only the skull and a short part of the spine has not been eaten yet. As we were observing the single hyena, we spotted a lioness not very far from the event and we decided to take a closer look.
Spotted hyena with buffalo carcass
As we were driving closer, we noticed that she was not alone; she was accompanied by six females, including Long Neck and Madomo and a male. It was very likely that the buffalo had been killed by these lions – they all appeared to be very relaxed and well fed. While most of the females resting in the long grass, one allowed the male to mate with her in front of the other members. It was quite a dramatic and especially vocal display.
We were so lucky with another Serval sighting this morning as we headed from Topi Plains towards Kaboso area. Three different Servals in two weeks is a great record! This male was sitting in tall, wet grass before he decided to get up and start marking his territory and then began his search for breakfast.
Serval cat April sighting
The recent April rain has triggered a hive of activity for birds; the plains are full of frogs, which is why Black-headed herons, Grey herons and Great egrets are seen in good numbers around the grassland areas and the wetlands. We noticed that the breeding season for the Jackson’s Widowbird must have begun; they have been seen in big flocks of a few males with up to 30 females. The breeding males display together in leks with a unique dance where they attempt to attract females by jumping up and down repeatedly on a flattened circle of grass.
A lilac-breasted roller
A grey-headed bush shrike
A good number of Black-shouldered kites, African marsh harriers and Eurasian harriers, as well as numerous pairs of Grey crowned cranes have been seen during this morning’s game drive. A Tawny eagle and a Hooded vulture were the birding highlights from this morning!
Grey crowned crane
We hope you have enjoyed reading up on April in the Masai Mara. To subscribe to our future weather and wildlife reports on the Masai Mara, courtesy of Governors, please sign up to our monthly Governors’ Camp Collection newsletter HERE.