November: an excellent time to visit the Mara
Thousands and thousands of wildebeest and zebra, forming part of the Loita Migration, returned to Naboisho after some good initial rainfall at the beginning of November - a sight which reminds us more of July and August! It was beautiful as the bush greened up and sprang to life in a matter of two days. It never stops amazing me how drastic and sudden the African bush sprung changes upon us...
The life-giving rain all of a sudden came to a halt, and it soon became hot, dry and very windy towards the second half of the month, and subsequently the wildebeest and zebra disappeared just as quickly as they arrived, literally overnight, and moved South West into the Mara Reserve. Talking about the reserve, during November it was a magical place to be as the scattered thundershowers swept over the fertile plains and hundreds of thousands of wildebeest returned to graze from the Serengeti and also from the Loita Hills region – and there was nobody there, well almost nobody, inside the reserve to witness some river crossing and the mind boggling herbivore numbers! On a full day we only saw three vehicles the entire day, sat with three prides of lions; witnessed a 45 minute sighting of a lioness stalking a warthog (see photo below) and a river crossing, all of that all by ourselves. Fantastic! November remains one of the best times to be in the Mara.
I was lucky enough to recently have the experience following and observing 23 elephants as they silently moved through a deep green valley south of camp during an afternoon walk; the best way to spend some quality time with the grey giants of the African bush. Sitting down on a rocky outcrop taking in the scene makes you feel humble and very small indeed. Not the slightest noise from the herd, an exceptionally large bull elephant with great ivory, keeping guard, the young ones well trained and oh so disciplined! It’s special. It’s somewhat spiritual to walk with elephants in the wild.
Even now in the hot and very dry conditions, the plains and the wooded valleys are packed with wildlife of all sorts, like only East Africa can present a wildlife spectacle. The Enesikiria lion pride, now up to 35 individuals, the core pride are still around camp, doing very well and are entertaining us with their vocals almost every night. Nothing more thrilling to have a big male lion, sometimes three, roaring in camp and the power of their roars makes the corrugated iron roofs vibrate!! It’s Africa!
Both the lions and cheetahs are iconic species which have enthralled humans for many centuries, but need our utmost support and conservation efforts, without them, conservation areas like Naboisho cannot be sustainable and will undoubtedly cease to exist.
This month we celebrated the opening of the very exciting Tony Lapham Mara Predator Hub, which aims to bring predator researchers in the Greater Mara Ecosystem together as one research unit, focusing on much needed lion and cheetah research as well as conservation within this very complex ecosystem by The Mara Cheetah Project and the Mara Lion Project.
Thank you for the massive contribution and tireless efforts from the Kenyan Wildlife Trust (KWT) and everyone else to make this happen, at a crucial stage where our big African cats are under immense pressure and we see numbers dwindling sharply. Can you imagine nights in the African bush without the thunderous roars of lions cracking through the still night air? I cannot. Should you want to make a contribution, get involved to protect Africa’s Big Cats in the Masai Mara, or for more information, please visit:
‘’It is very easy for us to get lost in the mundane world and forget about our connection to spirit. Yet, without that connection we are basically the walking dead’’
- Sobonfu Somé
For a small update on our beloved team - for those of you who met Christine Malaso Pesi, our bubbly female guide in the guiding team, the latest news is that her visa to go and live and work in the USA was denied a second time...! We have not given up with helping her to turn a life changing opportunity into reality. She has a third interview scheduled for early December, fingers crossed for third time lucky. We all wish her well, and thank you to all involved with this effort.
Have a fantastic festive season where ever you are around the world!
Roelof, Helen, Moses & the Naboisho Team in Kenya