We’ve had a fantastic end to a great month as thousands of wildebeest poured into the Grumeti Reserve, from the east. The larger herds arrived on the Nyabeu River and quickly pushed south-west of Bangwezi Hill, headed for the Sasakwa plains. The herds reached Faru Faru Lodge within a matter of hours and began to cross the shallow Grumeti River. The energy within the herds is incredible, the bulls vocalising as they charge up and down ushering the cows. A deep hum is audible from a distance as the great herds advance.
Large herds of topi and zebra have been observed on the Kawanga plains. The animals appear to be pushing east towards the Sabora region.
Weather-wise May bought sporadic rainfall and the Grumeti River continues to flow well. The waterholes and drainage lines still hold good water. Towards the end of the month the dry winds began to blow from the east and the rains have shown signs of perhaps beginning to dwindle away.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for May:
Lion sightings in the central regions have been fantastic this month.
Lions continue to do battle with the resident herds of buffalo providing some awesome sightings.
Towards the end of the month, we have had some good lion activity on Sasakwa Hill.
A lioness was unfortunately lost in a fight with male lions at the base of Sasakwa Hill earlier in the month.
The three new members to the Butamtam Pride are two-months-old now. The lioness most likely gave birth to these cubs in the thickets of the Chui drainage. This is where they are currently hiding.
The Mkuyu lionesses continue to hunt from the banks of the Grumeti towards the Grumeti North drainage, just west of Faru Faru Lodge.
The six Butamtam male lions are spending much of their time in the central region close to Koroya Hill.
The West Pride have been sighted on a number of occasions close to Explore Marula Camp, on the Raho drainage.
A shy male leopard has been observed in the Boundary Pan region offering some exciting sightings.
A female was sighted in the rocky outcrop on the Faru Faru Lodge Access. No sign of the cubs yet.
The Mazingira female was sighted alone on the western side of the rhino boma.
The lovely Sabora male leopard had been seen a number of times in the drainage itself and in the region just west of Sabora. This male leopard is habituating well, becoming more and more relaxed with the game viewers which is fantastic.
We have had some wonderful sightings of cheetahs this month, and have seen significant movement of individuals across the reserve as they search for prey.
The mother and four youngsters have been seen in the Nyasirori region, offering some incredible sightings.
We have been lucky enough to observe the Sasakwa male cheetah on a number of occasions in the central regions.
A single female was seen passing through the reserve, close to the Sasakwa airstrip.
Another mature male was also sighted close to Koroya Hill.
A female was sighted hunting on the Kawanga plains earlier in the month. She was successful with a Thompson’s gazelle kill.
Elephant sightings have been steady across the Grumeti Reserve.
Some wonderful matriarchal herds sighted out on the grasslands of the western regions.
Bulls have been sighted on occasions throughout the reserve.
Very pleasing to witness “Zito” back at the end of the month, sighted in the western rain tree woodlands. We believe this bull elephant to be in the region of 40 - 50 years old, and he has the largest ivory in the Serengeti ecosystem. Zito was last sighted at the same time last year. We can only wonder how far he has travelled in this last year. Such a pleasure to have him back and see that he is in good shape and looking strong.
The large resident herds of buffalo are looking healthy and well. However, they have been unsettled this month as the pressure from lions continues to mount, especially when they are hunting at night.
We have seen great numbers of calves within the herds this rain season and numbers are on the rise.
All rhinos are well and accounted for.
There have been some lovely sightings of Eric (the black rhino bull) on the south-eastern side of the boma. He is in good condition, looking fit and strong.
Mothers with calves are doing very well and despite significant dispersal the conservation teams and the specialized rhino research unit continue to monitor them successfully.