July in the Masai Mara

July is marked by spectacular sunrises and sunsets which begin and end the days. The weather is cooler with daytime temperatures averaging around 24 degrees Celsius.

July is the month when the great herds of the wildebeest migration usually arrive on the plains of the Masai Mara, from mid – end of the month. Tens of thousands of wildebeest take the plunge and cross the Mara River in dramatic fashion running the gauntlet of hungry crocodiles, strong river currents steep banks and predators lying in wait to make it to the other side, then they out fan covering the plains. Huge herds cover the plains black as far as the eye can see.

With the abundance of animals around the cheetah return, taking on young wildebeest as prey and often using our vehicles as lookout points. We have wonderful leopard sightings in the woodlands between camp and around the Marsh.

The Marsh Pride of lions remain at the heart of their territory near the Musiara Marsh close to Governors Camp. With so much potential prey around they do not have to move very far, the pride spends a lots of time together and regularly hunt wildebeest. Vultures do well cleaning up what the lions and scavengers leave behind.

Buffalo also move into edges of the forest to graze on the lush green grass that remains under the forest canopy. The main breeding herd of around 500 buffalos circulates between the Marsh and Rhino Ridge.

Warburgia tree is only tree left in the forest with any fruit and this draws elephants, baboons, Blue Monkeys and Brown Parrots in to feed.

Some July’s we get sightings of rare Caracal and their cubs hiding in the long grass. And also of the rare side striped Jackal. Good sightings of eland on the ridges and plains. Giraffe herds are seen in the acacia woodlands and Thomson Gazelles give birth this month perhaps taking advantage of the presence of large herds to have their babies in peace. Warthog and their piglets are abundant on the plains and there are lots of spotted hyena about with cubs of varying ages.

With all the herbivores about there is a lot of dung out on the plains, this draws in the harvesters termites and dung beetles who spring into action, this in turn attracts families of bat eared foxes and lone aardwolves who forage for termites and beetles in the dung. We also see evidence of pangolins digging for termites.

With the grasslands drying out, the grass becomes less nutritious and the elephants move into the acacia forests and riverine woodlands. Elephant families spread out, crossing the Mara River by day and visiting the Governors’ family of camps by night.