March is a quieter month in the Mara and the beginning of the rainy season. Some camps (not Governors’), close until May – but the good news is that fewer people about means more wilderness to yourself to explore! Other pros of visiting the Mara in March: the short vegetation makes game viewing easier, intermittent rain sparks a phase of activity amongst wildlife, many species birth their young at this time and more comfortable conditions for people who don’t fair well in heat.
With the first few drops of rain the Mara springs into life. The rain falls in late afternoon and evenings, making for cosy evenings in camp, spectacular sunrises and sunsets and wonderful photographic opportunities.
Out on the plains the wildflowers, like the fireball lillies begin to bloom and there are splashes of colour amidst the long grasses. In forests around the Mara River the Warburgia trees continue to fruit bringing many elephant families into our camps and the surrounding woodlands around the camps. We also see good numbers of Elephant in the Marshes.
These 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 Skyes monkeys foraging for Warburgia fruit up in the tree canopy above the camps. With the Elephant passing through camp the mongooses sring into action scratching about in the elephant dung looking for insects to feed on.
The ‘mini Migration’: March is the month for the first big annual migration of the year when zebra and wildebeest arrive in large numbers (approx. 300,000) from the Loita hills and conservation areas and cover the plains around the Masai Mara. Wildebeest are also calving or have just calved by this time.
Baby animals: There is a plethora of baby animals about from warthogs, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, zebras and eland calves amongst the big herds. Hippos also give birth at this time of year – we can expect many sightings of mothers and tiny hippo calves on the riverbanks and quiet river bends close to camp. There are lots of young around in general.
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 sightings of Aardwolves, shy nocturnal creatures which is a rare and special sighting. And we have had sightings of Serval kittens out on the plains.
With the start of the rainy season, The Musiara Marsh fills up with water and small rivers appear in the grasslands leading to the Marsh. Catfish come out of their mud-burrows and find their way along waterways to the marsh and rivers. Fish eagles and Storks feast on the fish. 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 Lion 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.
It’s a great rime of year to see the European migrants before they head off on their long journey back north. Migrant birds include Abdim Storks and Woolley Necked Storks in the Musiara Marsh area.
We welcome you to the Masai Mara to enjoy March this quiet month when there is still plenty to see for a rewarding wildlife safari.
Many species birth their young in March
The Marsh Pride often have tiny cubs in March
The mini Migration of zebra and wildebeest