Monday, September 29, 2008

Migration Update: Moving south from the Masai Mara

There are still lots of wildebeest and zebra in the Masai Mara, but most have moved out of the Masai Triangle. They are spread from the central Masai Mara down through the northern Serengeti. There are even good populations north of Seronera in the central Serengeti, but they are likely to turn back as this region is still very dry and there is not enough grazing to sustain them.

The migration will probably start moving south shortly.

The best place to be based at the moment is the northern Serengeti and Loliondo Game Controlled Area. All the camps in this area are reporting good sightings. Some of the best camps are Klein's Camp or the mobile camps that are based in the northern Serengeti. The camps of the Masai Mara are also a good option with lots of game in the Mara. But, the dramatic migration crossings of the Mara River are mostly over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Migration heads south into the Serengeti

The main wildebeest herds have rapidly moved south into the northern Serengeti. This is likely to be a temporary movement and most of the rangers and guides expect them to head back into the Masai Mara in the next couple of weeks.

The northern Serengeti experienced some short rains over the past few weeks which caused new grass shoots across the region. This rich grazing and water allowed the wildebeest to move south earlier than usual, normally around late October or early November.
Most of the herds that were in the Mara Triangle and Engoikwateet salt lick have moved south into the Serengeti. The herds that were in the central Masai Mara, have also headed south and crossed the Sand River. The game viewing is still excellent in the Masai Mara, but for the moment, the main migration has abandoned the area. They will probably return shortly as there is some light rain in the Mara which will draw the herds back. In other words, the spectacle of the Mara River crossing is unlikely to be over. In fact, this movement of the herds is good news for safari enthusiast as they are likely to return to cross again and again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Video and Photographic Competition: WIN a 7 day Kenya safari

Enter our video and photographic competition and you could win a 7 day safari to Kenya to see the migration in 2009! The prize is worth $6830.

The competition is sponsored by SUNSAFARIS, in association with Porini Camps. You and your partner will journey through some of the most spectacular game reserves in Africa. This safari includes 2 nights at Amboseli Porini Camp, 2 nights at Porini Lion Camp, 2 nights at Porini Rhino Camp and all internal transfers. Send us your latest videos or photos or upload your entry directly on our video & photo website.

Read more about the competition.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Migration Update: Herds split towards north, west and east

The migrating herds have split into a few large core herds. The bulk of the migrating herds have moved south towards the virtual unfenced border between the Serengeti and Masai Mara. This area of the Masai Mara is known as Engoikwateet salt lick. They drifted south from the Mara Triangle which now only has a few smaller herds. A large number of wildebeest and zebra have also moved south east from Burrungat plain and Topi plain towards Meta plain and the east part of the Masai Mara. At the same time, most of the herds that were on Paradise plain have moved north into the conservancies around the Masai Mara. This movement pattern is likely to change again as the weather changes. The herds will stay close enough to the water source of the Mara River. They may drift away to the south or north for a while, but will return quickly depending on the supply of water and grazing elsewhere.

The river crossings along the Mara River and Talek River have continued to be spectacular with thousands of wildebeest and zebra crossing in stampedes. More wildebeest get killed in the stampedes than would ever be taken by crocodiles. The banks and river beds of the Talek and Mara Rivers are lined with carcasses and the walking wounded, with broken legs caused by the stampedes. Carcasses have also been seen floating down the Mara River.

We continue to recommend splitting your safari time between a camp that is based close to the Mara or Talek Rivers and a camp in one of the private conservancies. Most camps are still have late availability, a sign that tourism still has not fully recovered in Kenya. See our detailed map of the Masai Mara Reserve for a full list of camps in the Reserve and adjacent conservancies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Recent video of a lion killing a wildebeest

This is a good video of a lion killing in the Masai Mara during the migration which is still in full swing. These safari guest were lucky not to have too many other vehicles around at the time. The driver is very irresponsible getting so close to the kill and potentially disturbing the lions, but it does illustrate how the migration works and the type of action tourists have been experiencing the the Masai Mara.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Migration Update: Migration still in the Masai Mara

The river crossings have been spectacular over the past week. Literally millions of wildebeest have been criss-crossing the Mara River of the past couple of weeks. The Talek River, which is virtually dry, has also seen lots of activity. The constant stream of wildebeest crossing the rivers has entertained safari guest for hours. Crocodiles have been picking off individual wildebeest with ease. Lions have been on killing sprees, often taking more wildebeest than they can eat. There have been reports of a pride of lions killing 13 wildebeest in one day! Leopards and cheetah have also been very active and taking wildebeest at random.

There has been some sporadic rain across the Mara region over the past weeks. The northern Serengeti has also seen some rain. This always causes confusion amongst the migrating herds and has resulted in them turning back on their path a few times. Some of the herds have gone back into the Serengeti following the rain, but the core herds are still spread across the Masai Mara Reserve and adjacent conservancies and ranches. Koiyaki and Olare Orok Conservancies have seen large herds cross through their land. The Mara Triangle, Paradise plain, Olorukoti plain, Burrungat plain and Rhino ridge all have large herds of wildebeest, zebra, Topi, Thomson’s gazelle and buffalo.

The migration is likely to remain in the Masai Mara for some time.