September days start with gorgeous mornings and warm middays temperatures rising to around 30 degrees Celsius. We sometimes receive scattered rain showers in the late afternoon and evenings. With scattered rain comes wildflowers and the tissue paper flowers (Cycnium Tubolosum), fireball lilies (Scadoxus multilorus) with their brilliant reds and pyjama lilies (crinum macowanii) with their white and purple stripes bring flashes of colour to the plains.
The wildebeest migration remains on the plains of the Mara with dense concentrations of both covering the landscape as far as the eye can see. They spread out during the day to graze and come together in tight herds for safety at night. We often look out over the plains from Governors’ Camp and see thousands and thousands of wildebeest! River crossings are plentiful from a handful of zebra to a few thousand wildebeest. Crocodiles still take a few although most have now had their fill and watch contently from the riverbank.
Dung beetles of all colours and sizes are busy trying to clear up what the wildebeest have left behind as are the termites. All in turn providing a feast for birds, aardvarks, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes and mongooses.
Elephant are frequent visitors to camp, often arriving at Little Governors’ at lunchtime leaving staff to usher guests to a safe distance away as the elephant families move through camp. Giraffe move up to the acacia woodlands, the large buffalo herd with their young spend their time between the Marsh and the ridge.
Many of the antelope species begin mating with males seen rutting and asserting their territories. This mating is designed to time with the antelopes birth at the start of the long rains at the end of March, which gives the young new lush grass to feed on and taller grass to hide in. Resident baboons spend their time feeding on the roadside verges. Warthogs and their piglets are seen all over the grasslands. Ostriches sit on their eggs (normally around 20 eggs) with the females guarding the eggs during the day and the males at night.
The Marsh Pride of lions remain at the very core of their territory – close to Governors’ Camp, hunting at night and relaxing during the day. The Paradise Pride stays close to the river, often hiding in the croton bushes near to the crossing sites ready to ambush unsuspecting wildebeest and zebra. On one occasion, a lioness killed five wildebeest from her ambush site!
September brings good sightings of leopards in the forests between the Governors’ family of camps and lone cheetah up on the plains.
Eurasian Bee eaters fly high in fairly large flocks. Lilac Breasted Rollers feed off large brown grasshoppers in the grass on the open plains. Black Shouldered Kites, Tawny Eagles and Bateleur Eagles are all commonly seen on the plains. Marsh owls are often seen in the late mornings and evenings with Verreaux Eagle Owl and Spotted Eagle Owls being seen in the woodland areas.