Game Reports Kenya Masai Mara

Masai Mara weather and wildlife March 2023

March in the Masai Mara has many colors. Dark blue skies form in the evenings as golden light blankets the plains. Misty mornings shimmering in gold, hiding the wildlife until you get close. A magical silhouette is created as the landscape slowly becomes visible.

March sunrise – photo credit Felix Rome

The evening brings showers, helping the grass stay lush, feeding the many thousands of mouths. March is a luscious time and the start of the ‘long rains’, to which everyone is grateful.

Photo credit Felix Rome

Weather and grasslands

The rains hit hard in the middle of March and didn’t stop; we received 162.3mm in total. The mornings have been chilly but the temperature quickly warms up by 8:00am. The average temperature during the day has been 26ºC.

Masai Mara Kenya

 March is part of the long rainy season with April being the wettest month – photo credit Felix Rome

The Musiara Marsh has been a hotspot for all sorts of wildlife. The lush grass and very damp conditions have been the perfect spot for hippos, waterbuck and elephants to graze. There are a few hyena dens dotted around the marsh, with lots of young cubs which always put a smile on our guests faces. They are inquisitive of the car and can often been seen lying outside the den, watching the passersby.

Masai Mara Kenya hyena cub

Masai Mara Kenya

The latest generation of hyena pups for the marsh dens – photo credit Felix Rome

Sunrise was around 6:42am each morning. There are fewer clear mornings this month than last, but when the sun does make an appearance, it’s epic. As a result of nightly rains, there is a high chance for misty mornings. It blankets the Mara, creating an ethereal feel.

Masai Mara Kenya sunrise

A spectacular morning in March – photo credit Felix Rome

It can be a little tricky to find animals first thing, but the mist quickly disappears, revealing the wildlife. Mornings are ideal to look for lions as they are more active at this time of day, because of the cooler conditions. The Marsh Pride has been a reliable first stop, giving our guests some incredible sightings.

Masai Mara Kenya The Marsh Pride

The Marsh Pride of lions in March – photo credit Felix Rome

The days are often hot with little cloud cover. The evenings tend to storm up, creating some very dramatic clouds. Having wildlife with storm clouds behind makes for a dramatic scene. Sunsets, which are particularly good this time of year, happened at 18:49pm.

Masai Mara Kenya The Marsh Pride

The Marsh Pride relax as the storm rolls in – photo credit Felix Rome

The Mara River is looking a lot healthier now. Large rises in water volume in the Mau area, the source of the Mara River, has been great for all the wildlife living in and around it.

On the plains

The game is fairly spread out at the moment and can be seen in all corners of the Mara. Giraffes are moving from bush to bush, crossing the open plains while elephants are in their element with the wetter conditions.

Masai Mara Kenya

A breeding herd of elephants with the matriarch leading the way – photo credit Felix Rome

With extra food and water around, it has been the perfect time to bring new life into the world. There are lots of young calves about – each one learning how to walk and use their trunks. They follow their mother closely and learn the ways of life from the other younger members of the herd.

Masai Mara Kenya

Photo credit Felix Rome

The elephants have been making frequent visits to the camps, drawn in by plenty of fruiting trees surrounding the tents (watch video). A number of guests have been late to meals, finding themselves ‘stranded’ in tent as a herd walks by. A good delay we think.

Topis still reside in large numbers, along with huge herds of zebra. In some cases, they stretch as far as the eye can see. Eland made a big impact in March, seen mostly scattered across the grasslands. Black-backed jackals skulk through the grass looking for any opportunity for a meal.

Black-backed jackal

Masai Mara Kenya

The black-backed jackal is also called the silver-backed jackal – photo credit Felix Rome

Many hippos have been seen out of the water grazing; they tend to leave the safety of the watering holes and river to feed when temperatures are lower and the clouds roll in during the afternoons. This is a lovely photo opportunity as we would normally see them half-submerged in water.

A hippo grazing in the cooler hours of the early morning – photo credit Felix Rome

Big cats of the Masai Mara

March was a crucial period of activity and dynamics for the Marsh Pride of lions. Halftail, the dominant male, has mostly been mating with Kaleo, who is the daughter of the late Kabibi.

Halftail Marsh Pride of lions

Halftail has been mating with Kaleo who is daughter to the late Kabibi – photo credit Felix Rome

Dada gave birth at the beginning of the month and the cubs are still safe and alive. They have been hiding and not many people have seen them, but on the 3rd and the 20th, our guides Moses and Richard found them.

Yaya of the breakaway group from the Marsh Pride, was chased away by Halftail on the 18th, forcing her and the grand cubs to split up for a few days. However, on the 21st they were seen reunited, north of Bila Shaka. Yaya is still going strong and the cubs are looking healthy.

Yaya Marsh Pride of lions Kenya

Yaya – photo credit Felix Rome

She has been residing in harder to reach areas recently, but we still see her often. It looks as though Yaya could be staying close to the Marsh Pride as once the grand cubs are old enough to go on by themselves, she may try to rejoin the core pride.

Yaya Marsh Pride of lions Kenya

Yaya – photo credit Felix Rome

She was a close member of the Marsh Pride a few years ago but her deceased daughter, Pamoja, the mother of the cubs, mated with one of the Bila Shaka boys. Halftail knows this and doesn’t want anything to do with the cubs.

The Marsh Pride have been busy hunting lots of buffalo and our guests witnessed five hunts in March. A notable hunt took place at sunrise on the 16th and continued for over five hours. The pride chased the buffalo all over Bila Shaka, until they cornered it in a lugga (watch video).

Marsh Pride of lions Kenya

The Marsh Pride attempts to take down a buffalo – photo credit Felix Rome

It was trapped in the water, but this helped the buffalo as it was safer there than in the open. It was a massive effort for the pride to bring the buffalo down as its friends were close by and kept offering assistance, chasing the lions away regularly.

Marsh Pride of lions Kenya

All members of the pride are involved in the hunt – photo credit Felix Rome

As the temperature rose, the lions retreated to rest in the shade. The buffalo made a daring escape, which paid off. However, a few days later the pride was seen feeding on a buffalo that was killed earlier that night. It is believed to be the same buffalo who suffered lots of injuries a few days before.

But the buffalo manages to get away – photo credit Felix Rome

The Paradise Pride have been hanging around Paradise Plains and west of Rhino Ridge. One of the females has given birth to two cubs but we have only seen them once, so we hope they are still alive.

Paradise Pride Masai Mara Kenya

Paradise Pride Masai Mara Kenya

The Paradise Pride – photo credit Felix Rome

The Bila Shaka boys have been spending time with them, mating with some of the younger females. In a few months’ time, we are expecting lots of new cubs to be born into the Marsh and Paradise Prides.

Sadly, we did not see our resident leopard Romi in March. Our guides think she might have crossed the Mara River into the Mara Triangle when it was low towards the end of February. As far as we know, she still has her cub and we hope to see her soon.

Winda and Olonyok, the two cheetah brothers of the Mbili Bora boys, have been seen making kills of topi under rainy conditions around Rhino Ridge. Other cheetah sightings have happened but cheetah numbers are in decline and not always guaranteed.

The Mbili Bora boys – photo credit Felix Rome

Birds of the Masai Mara

During grey and dull skies, the best way to capture colour is with birds. Photographing some of the more brightly coloured species is the perfect way to spend time in between sightings of large game. The Narina trogon is a spectacular bird, mostly iridescent-metallic-green feathers, found in the riverine forests surrounding Governors’ camps. They are quite shy and rare to find since their numbers are sadly depleted as a result of deforestation in general.

Narina trogon bird masai mara kenya

A Narina trogon seen at Governors’ Camp – photo credit Felix Rome

Malachite kingfishers are incredibly beautiful; varying shades of blue and orange provide a striking contrast with the green hues of the marshland.

Malachite kingfisher

Malachite kingfisher

The malachite kingfisher is one of seven species of kingfishers – photo credit Felix Rome

If you find lions on a fresh kill in the morning, it could be a good idea to return in the afternoon as vultures may have descended. There are a few species you might see, such as the white-backed, hooded and Rüppell’s vultures. These critically endangered raptors can be highly entertaining as they squabble amongst each other for the last scraps of meat.

Rüppell's vulture Masai Mara Kenya

The Rüppell’s vulture is the world’s highest-flying bird – photo credit Felix Rome

A pair of white-backed vultures scrap over a carcass – photo credit Felix Rome

The Kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird, has been seen a lot this month. The males have an amazing mating display which involves fluffing up their neck feathers and raising their tail to their head. In a strong wind they are known to fall over as their tails acts as a sail.

Kori bustard Masai Mara, Kenya

The Kori bustard is a fascinating bird to watch – unfortunately their populations are in moderate decline due to power lines, habitat loss and hunting – photo credit Felix Rome

Photographers’ words

Our resident photographer, Felix Rome, says “March is possibly my favorite month of the year for photography. The dark skies have arrived making for the perfect backdrop for wildlife images that show where they live. Animals are still about, but they make you work a little harder to find them, which I love. Birds are in force with lots of migratory ones flying through. Lions seem to be preying on larger game such as buffalos, making for some intense sightings. When the sun comes out the sky is as dark as a blackboard with golden grass swaying in the wind. Prides of lions begins to wake up and look for their next meal in some of the best photographic conditions ever. It truly is a magical time.”

Masai Mara Kenya

Our Masai Mara weather and wildlife for March 2023 is by Felix Rome, resident photographer for Governors’ Camp Collection.  To see other amazing wildlife imagery by Felix, please follow him on Instagram.

Our resident photographers are available for photo safaris – find out more HERE.

Read other blogs by Governors’ HERE.

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