As the golden ball in the sky breaks the horizon, an orange hue is cast over the Maasai Mara. Hippos wander back to the safety of the river, as hyenas switch shifts at the den to look after the young ones. Ostriches roam the grasslands looking for food as they are perfectly silhouetted against a rising sun.
Photo credit Felix Rome
Jackals skulk around trying to pinch a meal from the lions that made a kill earlier that night. October has been a beautiful month in the Maasai Mara.
A black-backed jackal on the lookout for a meal – photo credit Felix Rome
There has been far less rain fall in October compared to September (40.5 mm). However, we have been seeing some storm clouds brewing to the north, a reminder of what’s to come. We have been having hot days with an average of 32Cº.
Stormy skies keep promising rain – photo credit Felix Rome
It has been consistently clear in the morning, making for some amazing sunrises which took place each morning around 6:18am. The evenings have also been great for sunsets as there has been little to no cloud to the West, allowing the last few minutes of light to cast across the grassland before the sun goes behind the escarpment at approximately 6:28pm.
A topi at sunrise – photo credit Felix Rome
Elephants are in good number and spending a lot of time around the Musiara Marsh. Due to the lack of rain this month, the marsh is the prime location to see elephants. Large herds have been seen moving towards the marsh throughout the day, especially at sunset, with the eye-catching escarpment lit up behind them. This sight really is ‘The Maasai Mara’.
A mother elephant and her calf at sunset – photo credit Felix Rome
The Musiara Marsh, which lies adjacent to our Mara camps, has been a hotspot for all sorts of species. Zebras, buffalos and elephants to name a few, have been most prevalent. Good herds of eland – the world’s largest antelope – have also been around which is great to see.
Eland belong to the ‘spiral-horned’ subfamily of antelope including kudu and bushbuck – photo credit Felix Rome
A male black rhino was sighted on the 15th in the Mara Reserve; this is a rarity but it wasn’t the only sighting for October. It is great to hear that rhinos are being seen more often as the population begins to slowly increase.
A wonderful sighting of a black rhino in the Mara reserve – photo credit Felix Rome
The Topi pride are standing strong with over 20 individuals – they are a force to be reckoned with. At the moment they have been very successful with killing buffalo, as buffalos are one of the few types of prey that can sustain 20+ mouths.
Topi Pride females at sunset and with their buffalo kill – photo credit Felix Rome
The local serval has been making appearances outside Governors’ Il Moran Camp. She is an efficient hunter, often catching small rodents and frogs around the edge of the marsh. This makes for great viewing of an extra elusive cat.
Our resident serval is quite habituated to vehicles and visitors – photo credit Felix Rome
Speaking of elusive cats, Romi the resident leopard, has been on display frequently this month and our guests have been seeing her in all sort of scenarios. She was seen hunting a large male impala outside Il Moran on the 13th of October. Unfortunately, she didn’t make a kill on that occasion, but she has been successful since then. Her cubs have yet to be seen as Romi has obviously found a very good hiding place for them; we are of course, eagerly awaiting the first sighting of them.
Romi – photo credit Felix Rome
An offspring of the Kaboso leopard (who we have not seen since April this year), was seen roaming the open grassland looking for a new territory. She has to be careful doing this as there were some hyena around that might have decided to have a go at her. Luckily, she found a good area to potentially call home.
Kaboso’s female adult daughter seen in the open savannah – photo credit Felix Rome
Sad news hit us this month. On the 24th October, Logol, one of the dominant males of the Marsh Pride, was killed. Three of his step brothers, the Enkuyanai brothers (Offbeat Pride) found him within their territory and they were not going to let this go unpunished. Logol has been dealing with an ongoing limp which he attained about a year ago during a hunt. Some days he looked really bad, while on others, it didn’t seem to bother him. However, the limp was most likely a huge disadvantage to him during his encounter with the other males and unfortunately, he was unable to escape their wrath.
Logol photographed in May this year – photo credit Felix Rome
This now leaves Halftail, the remaining male, to defend and protect the whole of the Marsh Pride. This will be a monumental task for Halftail and we can only hope that he can hold on until his and Logol’s offspring are old enough to defend themselves.
Marsh Pride female Yaya and her grand cubs have been missing from their core territory of the Musiara Marsh and its environs, for a few weeks now. However, on the day Logol died Yaya and her grandson, Simba, were seen very close to Little Governors’ Camp.
Yaya and Simba, her grandson, pay a visit to Little Governors’ – photo credit Felix Rome
There are lots of birds around at the moment. On a single safari you could see well over fifty different species. We have been seeing all sorts of avifauna around the marshes and grasslands.
A superb starling – photo credit Felix Rome
A particularly special sighting was that of a martial eagle feeding on an Egyptian goose gosling. These are the largest birds of prey found within the whole of the African continent. They are often seen flying very high in the sky as they can cover hundreds of kilometers a day. They are so big that they have been known to take young impala and even lion cubs.
A martial eagle having snatched an Egyptian goose gosling – photo credit Felix Rome
Migratory birds such as barn swallows and martins are in full force. The swallows love to follow herds of elephants as they kick up all sorts of critters in the grass – that the swallows can eat. It’s a harmonious relationship and a wonderful sight.
Ostrich can be seen in all corners of the Mara at the moment. They are a particular favorite subject for me, because despite being a bird, they don’t seem like one when you watch them. Because of their great size, they feel more like you are watching a big mammal, which is why I love them.
Ostriches at sunrise – photo credit Felix Rome
The variety of birds in the Mara often converts those that didn’t think they were birders, to become birders.
The secretary bird prefers open grasslands where it can spot prey with ease – photo credit Felix Rome
Our Masai Mara weather and wildlife for October 2022 was written by Felix Rome, resident photographer for Governors’ Camp Collection. To see other amazing wildlife imagery by Felix, please follow him on Instagram.
Read other blogs by Governors’ HERE.