“We’ve found her,” said Jacob as he drove as fast as he could to a bushy area where Bahati, the leopard we were looking for, laid there resting, watching us unmoved by the fact that there were humans around. From the moment I landed in the Mara, my main quest was to have a glimpse of this Bahati, which everyone was talking about. From the stories I heard, she was unique, mainly because she produced three cubs each time she gave birth which means that most of her cubs have a higher chance of survival. Leopards are solitary creatures and only stay with people when mating or when they are taking care of their young one that’s why it was not unusual that we found Bahati alone.
So, early in the morning at 6.30 am, I woke up for my morning game drive after sipping a hot cup of coffee. Rekero camp is located inside the Mara North guaranteeing a great density of wildlife just at your door step.
The Masaai Mara is an interesting place to be at especially during this time of the year. After learning of the early sightings of the wildebeests, I made my way to the Mara to check them out for the first time and even though disappointed by the fact that I didn’t have a glimpse of that spectacular scenery, it was a breath of fresh air being in that place. Towards the end of July onwards, lots of freshly arrived brown and black dots scatter the great plains of the Mara, one of the Natural Wonder of the World.
Their migratory is usually determined by the rain patterns as the rains bring the grass and the grass is their food. These creatures wander in constant pursuit of water as well as fresh grass. They spend their lives wandering, unwearyingly trekking between the Serengeti in the South to the Mara in the North. In addition, it is said that their calving instincts are mostly in time to the movements of the moon which leads to a three-week-long birth fest on the Serengeti plains in the month of February.
one thing that shocked me is that the hyenas are actually more intelligent than lions. They move their kills closer to each other and further from other scavengers.
This migration affects the lives of other species in the Mara. For instance, predators like the wild cats and other large reptiles regard this season as their prosperity time. During a conversation with Mr. Peter Thomson, the manager at Rekero camp at the Mara, I learned that the crocodiles have a feast at this time, with some making as much as 3 killings per day simply because there is an abundance of food.
By Peter Thompson
They feed by grabbing and holding onto their prey, with their sharp teeth which they use for piercing and holding onto flesh. Their powerful muscles too close the jaws and hold them shut whenever they catch their prey. Unlike the dentation of other carnivals, the crocodile’s teeth are not well-suited to tearing flesh off of large prey items. We saw a pride of lionesses walking majestically in the reserve with their cubs. Jacob turned the open safari vehicle for a better view and for me to take excellent photos. They looked like they had just made a kill and weren’t scared even as we drove near them. I looked at them, amazed by their strength, by their boldness and the fact that they have managed to take care of their cubs to a point where they won’t have to grieve because a lion has killed their cubs. I find it absurd that while the male seems to act like the protector of the female pride, he is actually selfish and that the lioness and her cubs have to watch him eat as they wait for the left over. Most of the times, it’s the lioness who’s made the kill and has to watch it go down.
In a next turn we saw a lion quenching it’s thirst from River Olkejurongai and the similarity of it to our own rongai town makes me ask Jacob the meaning of that word. He tells me that Rongai means very slim and Narrow River. The male lion belonged to a weaker pride of male known as the salas boys, a group that have been known to search for weaker males to take over a pride. My stomach began to rumble so loudly an indication that I was hungry. After 4 hours of adventure, it was time for a bush breakfast.
What to know about game drives
- The name Maasai Mara comes from the Masaai tribe and the Mara River that cuts through the park.
- The best times to go for a game drive are early in the morning at 6 am or late in the afternoon from 4 pm. Even if you are not a morning person, its good for you to try and wake up as its often the best time to watch a variety of wildlife.
- Talk to your guide. Ask questions, don’t just be silent. That’s how you get to learn about your environment.
- Dress appropriately. Carry a sweater or warm clothes. Have a sun screen so that you remain as comfy as possible.