January go the year off to a cracking start at Grumeti! The game viewing was nothing but terrific throughout the month. And to top it all off, the latter portion of the month produced a surprise that we wouldn’t have anticipated… herds of migratory wildebeest and zebra showing up!
Not for the last ten years have the wildebeest shown up on the Grumeti doorstep at his time of year, but as we have become accustomed to by now, nothing is out of the question. Whether it is an unusual bird that pops in for a cursory visit or a roaming black rhino that is seen just passing through, one should learn to expect the unexpected here.
Here’s a snapshot of the paparazzi’s favourite characters’ antics:
Lions: We have noticed that there has been a lot of fragmenting within the lion prides on the property. This is undoubtedly due to pride females falling pregnant and having their cubs at fairly large intervals.
The females with newer cubs are distancing themselves from the main pride, most likely due to the presence of older cubs. The result of this is that a drive down the Grumeti River, for instance, will present multiple sightings of the Mkuyu Pride along its length. The most stable pride we have right now is the Nyasirori Pride. The entire pride of 22 was seen together on a couple of occasions but the five Butamtam males were unfortunately not with them, nonetheless still an incredible sight to see.
There were a number of amorous lions to be seen in January too. The Triangle males spent a few days mating with some of the Butamtam females. We all know what that means… more baby lions in a few months – bring it on! For the month of January, we recorded a total of 97 lion sightings.
Leopards: It was a good month for leopard sightings again. Late in December Anthony Nyambacha found a leopard den-site where three tiny leopard cubs were being hidden. Unfortunately, by the end of the first week of January, the three cubs had been whittled down to two. This is a typical scenario as there is a lot that can happen to these cubs. Snakes, hyenas, baboons, and of course lions and other leopards pose a threat to their survival. By the end of January only one cub was left.
Cheetahs: A great month for our cheetahs, with a total of 31 sightings being recorded, the majority of these sightings were made up of the two mother cheetahs and their cubs. The first has three cubs of about 12 months and the second has a single cub of seven months. With the mothers needing to hunt on a daily basis, many guests have been fortunate to witness several successful hunts, the majority of these hunts being Thomson’s gazelles.
Elephants: With us having some rain throughout the month this caused the big elephant herds to fragment into smaller herds as there was an abundance of water throughout the concession. Many of the herds have several youngsters among them, making for some great viewing.