The first week of May had been a very wet month with high waters rising from the Mara River – much of the high water in the main river was from the western rift areas. Rainfall within the Musiara area was only 81mm; Early morning temperatures are 14°C with midday temperatures being 26°C. Dry conditions and warm temperatures have helped the cleanup of all outlying areas and cool mornings prevail. Humidity levels have dropped to between 53-55%. There have been some nice sunrises and sunsets latterly all in pastel colors that lighten the day and evening; sunrises were at 6.34 am and sunsets at 6.37 pm.
Pastel sunrise – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
The Musiara River level had started to settle on the 16th of the month and bedrock became visible as the river levels continued to drop considerably – although floods of high water at the beginning of the month eroded away some of the river bank. The Musiara Marsh is no longer flowing over the road, but plenty of water remains in the marsh itself. The grasses on plains are fantastically long and with the red oat grass in seed, there is a red tinge to the plains in preparation for arrival of wildebeest migration.
Grasses are ready for the wildebeest migration – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Ground hornbills can be seen hunting in the long grass of the open plains for frogs, reptiles and small rodents. A good variety of Butterflies being seen on the campgrounds such as Mocker swallowtail, Green banded swallowtail; Nobel swallowtail, the forest mother of pearl, and Hutchinson’s silverspot and there are also many species of the family Pieridae, known as the Whites.
Southern Ground hornbill – Photo credit Harrison Nampaso
Large troops of Olive baboons are ever-present within the riverine woodlands surrounding our Mara camps. Breeding herds of Impala and Defassa waterbuck can also be found close by, while the normally shy Cape buffalo have been noticed coming right into the camps due to the recent quietness. We usually expect them in small herds while solitary bulls will pass through the campgrounds in the late evenings and each morning our staff have to start the day with vigilance.
Photo credit Governors’ guides Bernard Kashu and Abdi Salam
The Warbugia trees have stopped fruiting although despite this, the elephants are still visiting the camps frequently as well as enjoying the riverine forests surrounding our camps.
Elephant at Little Governors’ – Photo credit George Murray
Elephant in riverine verges – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
At the beginning of May, our longtime friend ‘Blossom’, (a bull elephant who has been visiting our camps for about the last 12 years or so) had knocked down a large Warbugia tree at Governors’ Camp, greatly assisting in the demolition of the buffet counter! He has recently lost a tusk and he is in Musth at the moment.
Elephant dung is being scattered across the roadways while warthogs, Olive Baboons, and banded mongooses scrape and dig through them looking for undigested seeds, insects and other lost trace elements.
Banded mongooses and Olive Baboons scrape through elephant dung
– Photo credit Harrison Nampaso
Masai Giraffes are also being seen within the riverine woodlands, with good sightings of them feeding off the Warbugia trees. On the 28th of May we had a very special sighting of a pregnant female rhino in the Mara Triangle.
Masai giraffe sparring – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Rhino sighting – Mara Triangle
There are many Topi in the east marsh grasslands as well as Grants gazelles and their young fawns. Good numbers of eland in herds of 10 – 40 individuals can be seen out on plains with calves in breeding herds and large bulls flanking the breeding herds.
Topi – Photo credit Harrison Nampaso
Eland herds – Photo credit Harrison Nampaso
With the long grass in the Reserve, the prey species disperse and lion have to travel further afield for a meal. However, the Marsh Pride of lionesses have been very vocal within the east marsh; on the 22nd a buffalo cow had been eaten close by to Governors’ Il Moran Camp and on the 5th May, a lioness took another warthog from the camp in the late evening.
Marsh Pride male and female – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
By Patrick Reynolds, Manager of Governors’ Il Moran Camp