March is a quieter month in the Mara. Fewer people around means more wilderness to yourself. With the first few downpours, the Mara springs into life. The rain falls in late afternoons and evenings, making for cosy evenings in camp, spectacular sunrises and sunsets and wonderful photographic opportunities.
Out on the plains the wildflowers, such as fireball lilies begin to bloom and there are splashes of colour amidst the long grasses. In the forests around the Mara River, the Warburgia trees continue to fruit, bringing many elephant families into our camps and the surrounding woodlands. We also see good numbers of elephant in the Musiara marsh. Family groups often have young calves amongst the herds and the males are often in musth looking for females in oestrus.
We also see troops of sykes monkeys foraging for warburgia fruit up in the tree canopy above the camps. With the elephant passing through camp, the mongooses spring into action scratching about in the elephant dung looking for insects to feed on.
March is the month for the first big annual migration of the year, when zebra and wildebeest arrive in large numbers (approximately 300,000) from the Loita hills and the surrounding conservancies, covering the plains around the Masai Mara. Wildebeest are also calving or have just calved by this time.
There’s a plethora of baby animals in March, from warthogs, giraffes and elephants to hyenas, zebras and eland calves amongst the big herds. Hippos also give birth at this time of year and we have sightings of mothers and tiny hippo calves on the riverbanks and the quiet river bends close to camp. There are babies everywhere. We have also had sightings of serval kittens out on the plains.
The topi and hartebeest calves are around 4-5 months old and the hyena begin their annual specialist topi hunt.
We have been known to have March sightings of aardwolfs – a shy nocturnal creature, which is a very rare and special sighting.
With the start of the rainy season, The Musiara marsh fills up with water as small rivers appear in the grasslands, leading directly into it. Catfish come out of their mud burrows and navigate along waterways to the marsh and rivers. Fish eagles and storks can be seen feasting on these catfish.This phenomenon has also brought about some unusual sightings, such as when we saw a sub adult male leopard catch a catfish. Rather proud of himself, he laid the fish down and took a moment to adjust his whiskers, the catfish sensing his chance made a heroic leap for the nearest stream and made a way to safety pursued by the surprised leopard who never caught up with the clever little fish!
The Marsh Pride of Lions often have cubs at this time of year and we have good sightings of them around the marsh feeding on topi, warthog, buffalo and waterbuck. Before the mini migration arrives, there is fierce competition between lion and hyena for food. We continue to have good sightings of cheetah and leopard within the Reserve.
It’s a great time of year to see migrant birds such as Abdim storks and woolly-necked storks before they head off on their long journey back north. We welcome you to the Masai Mara in March to enjoy this quiet month when there is plenty to see for a rewarding wildlife safari.
View our guide to weather conditions in the Masai Mara for a more comprehensive overview of the climate in March.
The mini Migration of zebra and wildebeest