This game report provides insight to the patterns of the Masai Mara weather and wildlife in June 2020. Morning temperatures in the Masai Mara this month are cool at 14°C and midday temperatures average between 25° and 28°C. Most early mornings there is a light mist often seen hanging just above the grass level; cloud cover was light and then would often have lifted by 9.30 am.
Morning mist – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Latterly, the perennial grasses are slowly showing signs of drying out and turning a shade yellow. On the 8th and 14th some fairly heavy rain fell in the Olare Orok, Malima Tatu, and Aitong areas; this rainfall has induced a little more grass growth on the short grass plains and daily rain patterns had eased up by the 19th of the month. The Mara River is low and has been for much of the month of June; on the 15th the river came up a little although went down very quickly.
In the last week of the month, more common residents of Zebra and Topi can be seen filing down from the northeast conservancies with large herds now concentrating on Malima Tatu and Topi Plains.
Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Impala breeding herds and bachelor herds are being sighted and seen on the open grasslands of Topi plains, Malima Tatu and Naibor soit. Impala and Defassa waterbuck can be found in small breeding herds in the riverine woodlands of the Mara River.
Impala breeding herds and bachelor male –
Defassa Waterbuck – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Olive Baboons are being sighted on the tracks leading to all Governors’ camps and feeding in the long grasses close to the woodlands. They will be seen jumping up as they look around for potential predators; long grass is a hindrance to many species. The older, more dominant male Olive Baboons will avidly take scrub hares, young fawns of Impala and Thompson gazelles and ground birds; in the last week, two Impala fawns have been eaten in the riverine woodlands near the BBC campsite area.
Banded and Dwarf mongooses are also camp residents who always seem very busy digging away whilst feeding off insects in the early mornings – this is a good time to see them. Warthogs and their offspring are also residents; they fall prey to lion and leopard quite often.
Two large breeding herds of Cape buffalo will be seen in the East Marsh and the double-crossing on the Olare Orok side; a few older bulls are still resident between the Governors’ camps and also will be found within the campgrounds. With the buffalo come the many Cattle egrets and the ever-present red and yellow tickbirds; in Kiswahili they are known as Askari ya Kifaru (the rhino’s watchman).
Cape buffalo and Cattle Egrets – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Elephant have crossed again in June from the Trans Mara; currently they can be seen feeding within the Musiara Marsh and outlying grasslands. Giraffe herds come and go with a resident male giraffe still being seen within the campgrounds almost daily.
Photo credit Kashu and Abdi
There are also many hippos in the marsh: A game drive will take you particularly close to them so that you can see them yawning wide and hear their groans and grunts. The Mara River is alive with large hippo pods; their movements and vocalisation are obvious of their presence. In the Bila Shaka river bed, there are also some large pods of hippo who live and thrive tightly packed together in the last remaining pools of water that have now become slush and mud; dominant males can hold a pod for a number of years.
Black-Backed jackals are well scattered in monogamous pairs; you will most likely catch them hunting rodents in the long grass if you head out on an early game drive as the sun rises.
The Topi Pride (who are a ‘breakaway’ pride from the Marsh Pride) of 14 lionesses and sub-adults were being seen for some time on Topi Plains and Malima Tatu areas, but they have recently moved away to the Olare Orok side of the double-crossing. There is a large breeding herd of Buffalo here and many Topi can be found west of the double-crossing on the short, open grass plains of Naibor Soit which has clearly attracted them.
Topi Pride females – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
At Malima Tatu and Topi Plains there are two male lions being seen often by our guides. The lion with the darker-mane of the two (also with a half a tail) is known as the ‘Purungat male’ from the Purungat Pride of Mara North Conservancy and his companion (with lighter mane) is known as the ‘Iseketa’ male.
Iseketa male – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
They formed a coalition back in late 2018 after Half Tail’s brother died in a buffalo incident. They have both been seen this month mating with the young lionesses of the Topi Pride. Together they have been hunting and feeding in the Malima Tatu and Topi Plains areas; earlier on in March this year they were seen eating the remains of a hippo close to the Musiara Marsh in the Governors’ Concession area.
Purungat male – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Sightings of the Marsh Pride of lions have been less this month, but in the early weeks of the month, lionesses Little Red, Spot and her two sub-adults were seen briefly near the BBC campsite area. On the 14th and 19th they had taken two warthogs directly from Governors’ Il Moran Camp.
Leopards have been seen in the late evenings and early mornings; on the 19th, a male leopard was seen seen being mobbed by Olive baboons near the Lake Nakuru area. Meanwhile, there is a female leopard (believed to be the daughter of ‘Romi’) that is frequenting Governors’ Il Moran Camp – she has taken two warthogs and one Dik-Dik from within the campgrounds!
We had a wonderful sighting of female cheetah Kisaru and her six eleven-month-old cubs on the 27th June in the west marsh grasslands – they had just eaten an Impala! It is not unusual for a cheetah to give birth to so many cubs, but it is very unusual for them all to reach this age.
Kisaru and cubs – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
In the last days of June, there have been some very large flocks of Open-billed storks, which will be seen flying in from the south in the Trans Mara. Grey herons and Black-necked herons will be seen patiently waiting for a movement within the grass or reeds so as to strike on small pray such as frogs and snakes which are often seen in their beaks.
Open-billed storks – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Crowned cranes with their five-month-old chicks can be seen feeding in the long grass close by to the Musiara Marsh. Verreaux’s Eagle-owls have been very vocal in June with lots of hooting and honks coming from the riverine woodlands. Southern Ground Hornbills are seen in pairs or trios in the west marsh grasslands areas; they are feeding off grasshoppers and dung beetles from the elephant ‘scat’.
Southern Ground Hornbill – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Lilac-breasted roller – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Wattled plover – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Grey Heron – Photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Secretary bird at Malima Tatu – photo credit Patrick Reynolds
Adult Masai Ostriches in small flock sizes are now being sighted often; they are scattered on most of the open grasslands, Malima Tatu and Topi Plain areas.
‘Masai Mara weather and wildlife in June 2020’ is written by Patrick Reynolds, courtesy of Governors’ Camp Collection.
If you’re currently considering a trip to Kenya’s Masai Mara, check out what Governor’s Camp Collection has to offer. With several camps in the Mara, including one Private Camp, plus recently launched Covid-19 protocols in place, we are able to offer a safe and exclusive environment from which to experience your African safari. You can also find out more about the Masai Mara weather and wildlife in June 2020 in our seasons section under Travel on our website.
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