We left the camp at first light and headed along the Mara River. We found the four of the lions as they relaxed on a rock, waiting for the sunrise. At first they simply chilled in the early dawn, but as the sun crept above the horizon, they seemed to see this as a cue to get going. And wow! Were they ever active. They chased each other here and there, back and forth, tackled each other, crept up and stalked one another, they picked up twigs and dashed away with them while the others hurtled along behind. It was a joy to watch and to photograph. Eventually they climbed a koppie where the visibility was not great so we moved on.
We went from there to the open Plains where a male lion was finishing the remains of a wildebeest. A female was there at first, but having relinquished the carcass to the male she wandered away.
When the male lion finished eating he also wandered off, and we had the chance to do loops around him as we walked sedately through the soft grass.
While we were enjoying breakfast under a tree overlooking the plains we heard about a female cheetah with a cub not far away. We found her lying flat under bushes that really obscured her and the cub, so we opted to rather move towards the river to see if there was a chance of a crossing.
After not too long we saw a gathering of animals in the distance. They gathered along the bank of one of the Mara River tributaries, the Talek River. Zebra and Wildebeest were jostling and gathering.
We arrived at the ideal spot for photographs of the crossing. We didn’t need to wait for very long. It all started when a giraffe appeared and after a quick walk back and forth along the bank, it actually crossed the river, watched by the wildebeest and zebra. When it reached the far bank the giraffe crossing gave the other animals more courage and they approached, pushing and jostling. We could see the entrance and exit points clearly and were able to photograph the two thousand migrating animals (plus one giraffe) as they traversed the river safely and without any untoward incidents.
Later in the afternoon we heard that a female cheetah with a kill had been spotted. We found her feeding on a young impala. Although the kill was in long grass, the cheetah stood up regularly to check all 360 degrees around to see if there were any scavengers approaching.
We could see a few vehicles gathered close by and found that they were at a jackal den where four little pups played around. One of the adult jackals decided to try its luck with the cheetah kill but that was a very short encounter as the cheetah sent the jackal away with its tail between its legs. However, when the cheetah had her fill and moved away, the jackals had another chance to collect some scraps.
Finally, as the sun was setting we found the seven lions that we have seen frequently close to the camp. The large dominant male lay under a bush with a wildebeest kill while the remainder of the pride were a distance away. The sunset sky created a beautiful backdrop for our final evening photographs for the first group who depart in the morning.
With so much happening here, with kills, crossings, and brilliant sightings, we will have to decide where to start our first game drive with our incoming guests tomorrow …