Gnu for Lunch Anyone? News From The Wild


It has stopped raining in the Mara, making the grass turn coarse like hay. Only the valleys and river banks are green, attracting the grazers that prefer shorter grass. You can see them early mornings on the plains while the grass is still soft and moist from the morning dew but as the day gets hotter they move to the river banks to graze.


Time for a drink before crossing – zebras are usually the head of the migration.


The areas that were first visited by the herds of wildebeest and zebra have very short grass stalks and are dusty. It’s only the gazelles that can plug the stalks.


All the rivers and the water pools are full, providing water for the herbivores, especially now to help digest the coarse grass.


Migrating Herds


The advance herds are by the rivers, paving the way for the big herds. They have left little for the others to graze along the migratory corridor.

The corridor extends from Sand River gate all the way to the Marsh on the eastern part of the reserve and further in to the conservancies like Olare Orok and the Mara-West.


Crossing points are chosen for many reasons
Safety being paramount – you never know who’s sneaking up on you!
This lioness wanted gnu for lunch


After making a stop at the Marsh, the herd turns towards the Mara River to their traditional crossing. It’s exciting to watch the first herd of the migration.


This year they avoided the western part of the reserve and decided to follow the edges of the reserve east up to the Marsh.


Traditionally, the Serengeti herds cross Sand River from the south then break into two groups – one going east and one going west towards the Lookout Hill. A few herds will trek direct to Posse Plain and cross Talek River near Mara Intrepids Camp going through Olkiombo Plain and across to Olare-Orok at the Smelly Crossing and up stream at Double Crossing to reach the Topi Plain through Rhino Ridge, down to the Mara River through Paradise Plains. Those who pass through the Lookout Hill, will cross Mara River just below the hill, to get to the Mara Triangle.


This poor fella was trapped under an unfortunate gnu who’s inside the jaws of on a Nile croc


This year, the herds have been crossing the Mara River at Kichinjio where many wildebeest have died. They then head towards Rhino Ridge, Base and Shamarta which are the wildebeest camping areas and ancestral calving sites.


The wildebeest follow the zebra, who explore the new areas first. However the wildebeest take a different direction from zebras who are going east to the Ngama Hills near Sekenani, for zebras prefer the taller courser part of the grass.






Lions sighting are good and food is abundant. Still the families have not come together as usual when the migration is on.


Lion prides do restructure their family units after separating for some time to avoid food competition.


Notch and his four sons still dominate a section of the Mara and continue to mingle with the Marsh Pride and the Olkiombo Pride. The vultures circling in the air point to where the predators are feeding on their prey or where the wildebeest and other animals have succumbed to death.




Olive and her two cubs of different ages are at the Base lugga with a wildebeest kill.





The three brothers moved to Olare Orok Conservacy. Shingo the mother of six cubs, is east of Mara Intrepids Camp. Two young expectant females are at Bila Shaka and Topi Plain. Saba and her young male cub are at Musiara. A young female cheetah gave birth six kilometers from Mara Intrepids Camp towards Fig Tree.


Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages two luxury camps in the Masai Mara – Mara Explorer and Mara Intrepids – in the confluence of the four game viewing areas of the Masai Mara. The camps are on the banks of the Talek River, with most tents spread along the banks.  


Report by John Parmasau, Senior Guide, Mara Intrepids Camp. Pictures by Dixon Chelule, Paul Kirui and John Parmasau.©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya.
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