The start of 2020 has continued as 2019 finished, with rain almost daily and the river, over the course of the month, has hardly dropped. As a result, we have had a lot of hippo activity along the banks in front of Singita Lamai and, at night time, within the camp. We watched as one hippo tried to cross the river and was washed quickly downstream before it found its footing and came racing out of the river and onto the opposite bank, very much shaken up!
Here’s a sightings snapshot for January:
We have had some elephant bulls in the area but it appears most of the herds have moved off and could possibly be feeding in the large marshes just north of the international border within the Mara.
A stable journey of about 17 giraffes frequent the Vercellia woodlands around camp and sometimes, in the afternoon when camp is quiet, they will wander through which is always magic.
There have been good sightings of a pride with five-month-old cubs out near the international border.
There was a surprise sighting of a lion, two lionesses and a small cub near camp. These lions were very hungry and were quite shy of the vehicle. This was possibly a sign of predators having to cover greater distances to find food now that the migration has moved off. It is exciting to find shy lions as it truly reflects the wilderness of this area.
Hyenas have been very active in camp at night again probably due to the lack of zebra and wildebeest in the area. They are very vocal, calling near the tents at night, which gets everyone very excited and guests love chatting about it in the morning.
The open plains to the south of the Kenya/Tanzania border have had a good number of topi, eland, Thompson gazelle, zebra and a handful of wildebeest in them, and this is where most of the safaris have been heading towards. Brand new Thompson gazelle, topi and wildebeest youngsters have been seen in this area as the grass is short and protective mothers can keep an eye out for watchful predators.
The same open plains are home for a juvenile lappet-faced vulture who is still in its nest and not yet airborne. Other birding highlights include blue quail, African water rail, red-collared widowbirds and a pair of little weavers nesting in camp. Wire tail swallows are all nesting in camp and a nest in the office currently has three eggs in it!
There were some very small leopard tortoises in camp which must have hatched during the rains. Other reptiles seen were flap-necked chameleons, a variegated bush snake and a black-necked spitting cobra, plus the monster crocodiles that own the stretch of river in front of camp!