A long, successful season
On the last day of June this year I received an email from Lodge Manager Kevin Pongola, at Singita Lamai, Mara River Tented Camp: “It’s happening…” he wrote, “crossing at number 7 is active… will update you later with the details.” This report came after three long weeks of silence since the migration had left our Singita Grumeti property, and now 80 000 wildebeest were crossing the mighty Mara River onto Lamai Triangle, about 60 km away, where Singita Lamai, Mara River Tented Camp is situated. Since then, the area surrounding Mara River Tented Camp saw three straight months of migration. The herds remained present for the first week of October, but after that the bulk of them had cleared the area, making their long journey back south to the short grass plains of Ndutu. Not all the of action stopped though, as a few lagging groups were still moving out of the area, up until the middle of the month. Our guests saw a handful of crossings of wildebeest and zebra, in groups of 50 to100. This is maybe not as epic as 80 000 strong, but any crossing is always very exciting!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report October 2014
There was no shortage of game in September at Singita Mara River Tented Camp. The large migratory herds of wildebeest continued to occupy the Lamai area for the third straight month in a row. Most of the herds spent the majority of the month on the plains of the Lamai triangle and around the Kenyan border. Of course, there was plenty of the always exciting back and forth movement across the river as well.
Crossings were an almost daily occurrence and on one day guests watched two separate crossings from their lunch tables on the deck at the camp!
Read the full report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report September 2014
The Great Migration arrived in Lamai at the end of June and the wildebeest were a continuous presence throughout July. August did not disappoint either as the herds remained in the general vicinity, crossing north and south and north again across the Mara River, in the surrounds of Singita Mara River Tented Camp. Guests enjoyed 12 dramatic crossings during the month. One particularly exciting crossing happened right in front of the camp, and lasted for over 20 minutes.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report August 2014
Crossing season has started
In the June Lamai Wildlife Report we explained how the migration was ‘missing in action’ from the Lamai area, until the final day of the month when 80 000 wildebeest were seen crossing to the northern side of the Mara River, about 8 km upstream of Kogatende. The rest is history. Crossings occurred on a regular basis throughout the month of July. Mara River Tented Camp guests saw a total of 16 crossings and 2 crocodile kills. Towards the middle of the month, the migration began to fill up the plains of the Lamai Triangle north of the Mara River.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report July 2014
An elephant paradise
It’s no surprise that the Lamai and Kogatende areas of the Serengeti around Mara River Tented Camp are home to many elephants. The mighty Mara River itself provides a seemingly endless supply of fresh water, flowing year-round. In addition, countless smaller rivers and estuaries stem off from the river at a rate of about one every 500 metres. The result is not only the amount of water available, but also that it is easily accessible – you don’t have to travel far to find a source of water.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report June 2014
February in Lamai was characterised by breath-taking landscapes and open spaces teeming with wildlife. The amount of general game in the area was thriving, to be rivalled only by those months when the great migration is moving through. Two cheetahs set against a backdrop of seemingly never-ending plains, dotted with a few squiggly balanites trees: one of the many things about Lamai that is so quintessentially Africa. Plains are the perfect habitat for cheetahs, which need large expanses of flat ground to build up their speed. The one problem with the flat plains is the difficulty to get a good view of what’s going on, so cheetahs are often seen on top of termite mounds or fallen trees, getting a better look at things. The cheetahs at Singita Lamai are very lucky to have an excellent viewing point, given to them by none other than us humans – the Tanzania-Kenya border post. Senior Guide Saitoti was watching these two males relaxing under a tree when one decided to hop on the post and look for any available prey in the area. The agile cat jumped up and looked around, checking out the landscape.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report February 2014
Don’t be surprised on your journey from the airstrip to Mara River Tented Camp if you see a herd of elephants on the way. There is a group of resident bulls who spend most of their time along the banks of the Mara River and are often seen from the road about a half a kilometre from camp. The migration left the Lamai area at the end of November last year, so I was surprised when guide Adas Anthony showed me photos he took in January of wildebeest cows and their brand new calves, including one that had just been born mere minutes before he approached the sighting. Curious to know the reason for this unusual occurrence, I began asking him many questions. Had some of the migration still not passed through? Was there a break-away herd making their way south later than usual? Did the mothers stay behind because they knew they were going to have calves earlier?
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report January 2014
It looks as if the young baby elephant in the pictures that follow is feeding on some grass, just like mom, but looks can be deceiving…Baby elephants normally nurse until their mother has another calf, which would typically be when they are four to five years old. They don’t really have full control and functionality of their trunk until they are around one year old, at which point they will start eating a little bit of greenery. They copy the older members of their herd though, so they’ll go through the motions as best they can, which makes them even cuter!
This mountainous horizon marking the border between Kenya and Tanzania is one of the most recognizable features of the Lamai area. It also provides a beautiful background for wildlife photos taken by our field guides.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singitas Lamai Wildlife Report December 2013
In the October report we wrote that we were sure the last of the migratory herds were leaving the area, making their journey back south. It probably was the last of the herds, but what we didn’t consider was that they would prematurely turn around and come back!
In late November the Lamai area was once again flooded with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest. Normally by late November the wildebeest should be in the central Serengeti, about 100 kilometres south of Lamai, and en route to the short grass plains of Ndutu in the southern Serengeti where they calve.
Of course, like the weather, no one can ever 100% predict the Great Migration, and in fact the weather has everything to do with their return to Lamai.
The rains started later than usual this year, and the southern areas of the Serengeti were still rather dry. This explains the wildebeest’s return to the much more lush and green grasses of the Lamai triangle, where there was still a steady amount of rain.
If the excitement of their return wasn’t enough, guests were able to view a crossing of about 80 animals just 300 metres away from the camp!
Who knows what their next move will be?
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report November 2013
The Mara River is a water wonderland that dominates the Lamai triangle. The river and the small springs and tributaries that feed into it, provide generous access to water for the game living here, whether it be for drinking, cooling off or just having fun. The festival of life plays out on the seamless banks that stretch unhindered to the horizon, but every now and then the urge to cross the river is irresistible, and the drama reaches its zenith.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report October 2013