The difference is immediately clear – once you are in the park there is no denying it, the Migration is truly here and even human activity is picking up again. The Mara’s straw-coloured grassland has been transformed into a veritable ocean of brown and black as the wildebeest take over.
Gnus make for noisy neighbours and I recall being told that elephants will usually move away just to get away from the ceaseless grunting. Thankfully, they haven’t quite driven away these gentle giants just yet.
However, as I sat quietly observing this pair of elephant, I understood why the wildebeest are so unpopular with some - even without the wind, the cacophony of their grunts carried for miles and miles.
But while they may be a bane for the more polite members of our wilderness family, they are certainly a boon for others. We came upon a female leopard watching patiently as these nervous herbivores skittered past, confident that she would partake in their abundance soon enough.
Not everyone likes to wait though and some would rather bully others to get a quick meal. A hapless, solitary hyena stood no chance against this wake of vultures who descended upon his spoils.
It’s no wonder they are called nature’s clean-up crew. It was a flurry of feathers as scores of Ruppell’s vultures and African white-backed vultures made quick work of the remains of this kill – sharp beaks nipping both at the flesh and each other in equal measure.
Lions are without a doubt having the time of their lives – the scarcity of prey is a thing of the past, albeit temporarily.
The Purungat pride was feasting on multiple kills at once when this male decided that it was far too hot and opted to drag his meal into the shade. It was a sizeable wildebeest and it took several minutes with multiple breaks to catch his breath before he was able to complete his task.
This lioness and her crew seemed completely disinterested in a nearby herd that was completely oblivious to them. But no amount of crossing our fingers got them to budge, save for the occasional curious peek at their surroundings before resuming their afternoon siesta.
There’s always someone on high alert no matter how peaceful things seem to be and that someone is usually the topi, aptly nicknamed the “snitch” of the Mara. One slightly suspicious move by any predator or perceived threat and he would spot it immediately from his perfectly positioned perch atop the anthill. And his warning call would send everyone scampering for safety.
This zebra bares testament to just how easily things can take a turn and how quick one’s responses need to be in order to survive.
It has been a week of incredible sights – from sunrises and sunsets that continue to stun with their breathtaking colour displays to the stark remains of controlled fires that give the landscape an other-worldly appearance.
This lilac-breasted roller seemed to be taking it all in as well, as he perched contemplatively on a branch above me.
I’m yet to witness a wildebeest river crossing and I am excited to finally get to see this marvel for myself. But as I wait, not very patiently if I’m being honest, the Mara has continued to enthral and captivate me with all her other wonders.
This time two years ago, even in the midst of the Migration excitement it was business as usual for other animals in the Mara like these two buffalo jostling for space.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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