The annual wildebeest migration
At the beginning of September, large herds of wildebeest and zebra had been in the Lamai Triangle for over a month. The grass had been grazed short and the afternoon thunderstorms and rain were keeping the herds around, in particular one very large herd (approximately 60 000 animals) grazed the hills that form the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania.
There was a part of the month where herds of between 1 000 to 3 000 animals were crossing downstream of camp, near guest Tent 1, daily. Initially crossings at the famous Crossing Point Number 4 were not occurring as a pride of 14 lions were in the croton thickets and their presence was causing the herds to move downstream towards camp. This certainly resulted in a number of good crossings within 20 minutes drive from camp!
Towards the end of the month the crossings had shifted east towards Kogatende and further towards the Sand River. Many herds were pushing south but with the rains starting to become a daily occurrence now in Lamai, with the approach of the short rain season, we may still be fortunate to still see herds crossing in October.
Here’s a snapshot of other sightings seen:
- There have been at least five different cheetah seen in the area.
- There are two sets of lion cubs – they appear to be 5 and 4 in number, and are about three months old.
- We’ve had good sightings of big male lions that come in from the Mara.
- There have been elephant breeding herds in many of the riverine thickets in the low areas.
- A herd of buffalo approximately 100 strong were grazing north of camp.
- We were treated to a sighting of a courting pair of leopards at the sundowner rocks.
- There is a very active hyena den north of camp. Guests have enjoyed observing 20 members with six very young cubs.
Other interesting observations
- Reptile enthusiasts enjoyed seeing an African rock python and spotted bush snake.
- There were over 20 very big crocodiles on the sand banks of the river in front of camp.
- Astonishing sightings of marshal eagles with kills – one was a serval and another a monitor lizard.
- A large raft of about 50 hippos were seen east of Kogatende.
- Huge numbers of vultures accompanied by marabou storks were observed scavenging along the river, feasting on the carcasses of wildebeest.