Wim’s News from the Masai Mara Migration Safari: Lions Hunting in the Rain
When we left early this morning, our plan was to head straight to the river … again hoping that yesterday’s buildup of animals meant that some of them would start to cross. We arrived at the river just as it started to get light and found … nothing! Not an animal in sight! Well?
So we headed northward along the river, and then turned southward, towards an area called CCTV.
On the way we passed an exceptionally picturesque area along the river, dominated by a massive granite boulder – it is about 5 stories tall – and lying right on top of the boulder, catching the early rays of the sun for warmth we could see two lions. We paused for a few moments to enjoy the scene and then continued on our way.
As we came over the hill and saw the CCTV spot in front of us, we were dismayed to see that we had arrived to witness the last few hundred out of thousands upon thousands of wildebeest, zebras and Impala that were just finishing their crossing.
We hung around there as the crossing resulted in sheer pandemonium. There were animals on both sides of the river, and both sides were panicking, calling desperately back and forth across the river. The most agitated were the mothers and calves that were now separated by the river …
Many of the braver wildebeest actually came right up to the bank of the river, seemingly quite determined to get across, but when they saw the large number of huge crocodiles lurking in and around the river, they retreated in fear. And so the calling, calling, calling across the river continued …
We left to have lunch, and when we returned we could see that there was no change in the status quo, and it appeared that there would almost certainly not be any action today – not with that number of crocodiles just waiting for any foolhardy attempt to cross.
So we left and returned to the granite boulder with the lions, and we’re delighted to find them lying next to the boulder. Now there were three of them … two females (one missing an ear), and a large male, from the Mouseketeer pride.
The three were very active, with lots of interaction, licking and grooming before it started to rain and they decided that this would be a good time to start a hunt. There were wildebeest and zebra nearby (of course) and the lions fanned out and went into full hunting mode – ears flattened, bellies to the ground as they crept closer and closer.
Then for no apparent reason (their prey had not reacted to their presence), they suddenly aborted the hunt. The male went to relax in the rain and the lionesses carried on scouting around.
The male became thoroughly drenched, and a he stood up to rejoin the females he shook his mane, sending an impressive arc of water droplets flying around his head. It looked fabulous!
The three continued hunting, but as it was already dark, we had to turn towards our camp.
In all, it was a very successful day with the lions but we hope that the migration will be more rewarding for us tomorrow …
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