First week on safari for this season in the Mara. The Mara is dry with very short grass in most of the northern parts of the reserve. The wildebeest migration has made a quick appearance but in early July most animals crossed the river towards the Mara triangle and very few are left on the Narok side at the moment.
One evening it was particularly nice to find the huge male leopard Golden Boy on a stream in the north. He is getting old but still looking in great shape. we also saw Bahati a couple of times and two leopards in the forest along the Mara river near the marsh.
While it is extremely difficult to find cheetahs in this period, lions seem to be doing quite well, with many females having new cubs. We slept for a few nights in the forest on the Mara river and it was wonderful to find the lions out at first light. One particular morning two females with four playful cubs showed up on the edge of the marsh at sunrise.
We had one afternoon of heavy rain last week. The clouds covered the sky and the wind picked up. From our camp in the forest while having tea before the game drive a leopard appeared on the opposite bank of the Mara river. We decided to search for cheetah on the Topi plains. The grass there has been completely grazed by Masai cows and the first wave of migration. As we drove we found a pack of Hyenas trotting on the bare soil towards a small herd of wildebeest. It was drizzling and cold and I had no doubt that their intention was to hunt. Two hyenas started to run. The herd ran away at first in one unit. Then they began to separate in various smaller groups. The hyenas kept running with their inexhaustible energy and stamina until they singled out a mother wildebeest with her calf. One hyena went for the calf and the other for the mother. They caught both. We followed the scene where the mother. The hyena immediately went to bite the back legs of the wildebeest so that she couldn’t run away. The mother fought hard but her back legs had been severely wounded. We could hear the calf’s desperate screams while more and more hyenas joined in. It was a hard scene to watch. The mother collapsed and three hyenas started to feed on her while she was still fighting and screaming.