March has been a little dryer this year which is rather unusual for this time in the western corridor, Serengeti region. Warm sunny days with a hot dry wind from the east have been the order of most days. We have experienced isolated thundershowers from time to time but nothing substantial and the grasslands remain parched, turning golden cream in colour.
The Grumeti River continues to flow, although the level of water has dropped quite considerably. The water is turning clearer now with little sediment being washed into the catchment. Beautiful white sandy banks have become exposed which makes for lovely bush stops along the river with guests. A chance to jump off the vehicle, feel the sand beneath your feet and explore the tracks and signs of nature left during the night.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for March:
- The Butamtam Pride have been residing close to Pundamilia ridge and hunting regularly in the area. There are now 17 cubs within the pride between the ages of 3 and 5 months. Really quite spectacular, and with many mouths to feed the Butamtam lionesses are keeping busy! They have been hunting zebra, topi and buffalo. The pride is an awesome spectacle as they gather 30 strong. The three territorial males have been spending quite some time with the rest of the pride and to see them all together is breath-taking.
- The Nyasirori Pride has returned to the western side of Sabora camp which is great to see.
- Leopard sightings have been good this month with a female spending much time in the Koroya Hill area. We have been lucky enough to view her on a number of drives as she stalks the resident herd of impala on the slopes of the hill.
- Good activity on Sasakwa Hill towards the end of the month where we observed a mating pair very close to Farasi, and a mother and youngster still walk the valleys and hill sides close to the lodge.
- A lovely leopardess has been observed on Pundamilia ridge hunting in the woodlands on the northern shoulder. She is very relaxed and has offered fine viewing.
- The Grumeti North female’s daughter has been seen on a number of occasions on the Sand Road, close to the German bridge.
- Some truly fantastic cheetah sightings this month, despite the long grasses.
- Sabora has been the hot spot as you might expect, however, some great cheetah action was had on the central Sasakwa plains and the Nyasirori region.
- A total number of 9 different individuals were recorded this month, including a mother with three four-month-old youngsters. The youngsters look well and strong and are currently residing with their mother in the Sabora camp region. What great news!
- The big Sasakwa male cheetah continues to hunt on the plains in front of Sasakwa Lodge and we have been fortunate to catch the action from time to time.
- Great elephant viewing again this month. The numbers have dropped off just a little in comparison to last month as the animals disperse again with some heavy rainfall right at the end of the month.
- Great aggregations in the western region of the reserve and some lovely herds moving through the central areas.
- Faru Faru Lodge has had some fantastic elephant numbers close to camp which is always a pleasure as guests relax and watch the elephants cross the beautiful Grumeti River.
- We have seen some good elephant activity on Sasakwa Hill, the valleys in the surrounding area and on the Rubana River that flows along the northern base of the hill.
- Great hyena sightings in the southern sections of Grumeti Reserve. Great numbers of plains wildlife residing in these areas currently and not surprising to see the great Serengeti clans not too far away.
- Recently we have been observing greater hyena activity on Sasakwa Hill too which is very interesting. These animals tend to be shy and rather secretive.
- Awesome buffalo sightings this March, right across the reserve.
- Some very impressive herds east of Sasakwa Hill and in the Sabora region.
- It is very rewarding to see the herds with many calves. Such a great success story and fantastic to see the buffalo numbers here on the Grumeti going from strength to strength.
- A great month for the rhino, with some lovely sightings on the Grumeti and the Nyamamba Rivers.
- A very successful operation was completed with the conservation team managing to replace transmitters in the horns of these animals. It was a challenging time, but great to see all of them doing very well indeed!
We have encountered beautiful herds of zebra, giraffe and buffalo in the central regions. Resident herds of topi, Thomson’s gazelles and impalas have been impressive in the Sabora region, always offering lovely viewing.