We were wide awake on the first night in the Governor’s Il Moran camp. We were constantly awake listening to rummaging elephants right next to our tent which managed to break a tree and was scared away by the Masai security guard who shot some blank cartridges in to the air to scare the elephant. Also some Hippos were grazing on whatever grass was left outside the camp. We eventually managed to get a few hours of disturbed sleep.
We were woken up with some fresh coffee and cookies for our 6:30 am safari and a picnic breakfast under a tree. We could still hear the hippos and chirping of a number of birds. Eager to see what the Mara has in store for us today!!
After first watching the lionesses eating their wildebeest kill we came to the Mara river to see the wildebeest crossing on their migration. On the way there we saw tens of thousands of wildebeest gathering and forming a single line heading all the way to the river. They seem to feel some natural pull towards the river and to cross over to the other side for greener grass. There definitely was some hesitation as a group started walking the opposite direction.
The Mara river was flowing west to east. There were some hippos lounging and some Nile crocs in anticipation of the crossing so they can have their kill. The wildebeest went back and forth waiting to see who will make the first move. Eventually a group of Zebras showed the way and the long awaited pandemonium began. Wildebeest who were reluctant to cross initially started doing so in a stampede. After the first one crossed over several hundred followed suit. This is when tragically a number of them either drowned or were pulled under by the waiting crocodiles. Just to make it even more interesting and challenging a number of them who had crossed over to the other side decided to come back to this side for no apparent reason. It is possible some of the juveniles were looking for their missing parents or some of them figured they had taken the harder route and wanted to take back the easier route!! In any case a number of them crossed multiple times causing even more of a pandemonium. If it were not tragic it would have been considered funny. The dumb beasts did this a few times and after moving to a more strategic location to view even more of the fun we decided to call it a day and headed back for our lunch under the tree.
Pregnant elephant with baby
Lilac breasted roller
Long tailed starling
Yellow throated Longclaw
Hyenas resting after a kill and some others in a hunting mood – they avoid gazelles and prefer wildebeest
Three lionesses eating a wildebeest as hyenas patiently waited joined by a lone patient vulture
Spur winged plower
Elephants and babies
After showering, rest, lunch and more rest we headed out on our afternoon safari. Wow, this is becoming a habit that will be hard to break once we are back to our regular boring lives!!
Black bellied Bustard
Saddle bill stork
Cheetah with Thompson gazelle kill – the gazelle was pregnant so we could see the bones of the little one ;-(
White tailed mongoose
Simon’s bar at the sun downer!!
Simon and Paul had setup a bar with our favorite drinks overlooking the valley and the setting sun on the hood of our land cruiser. As the sun set behind the Acacia tree we enjoyed our drinks – red wine, white wine, gin and tonic, etc. Wow I can really get used to this way of life. As it started becoming dark we bid good bye to the sun and headed back to another night of elephants and hippos in the camp!!