July was a dry month which is not unusual for this time of year but despite this there was excellent game viewing all over the concession. The wildebeest migration, which had left us towards the end of June, wandered back in smaller herds in search of food and water. This time the movement was unorganized, with large herds heading in all directions. Some had made the trek to the Mara, others had not got that far, some headed for the Grumeti River to our west and others headed south.
Unlike June though there were many other large herds of animals around, most of which had moved in behind the migration, zebra by their thousands formed long columns across the plains as they headed to water holes. Small herds of topi joined up and it wasn’t long before we were seeing herds that numbered over two thousand.
This month I witnessed how predators are so incredibly good at assessing a situation, weighing up the potential benefits of a hunt and analysing the potential costs or risks at the same time.
We set off under the cover of darkness in the early morning and on to one of my favourite drainage lines to look for lions. As it began to get light I caught site of the Butamtam lionesses and their youngsters. We gently approached the lionesses and then switched the engine off and watched. One of the more mature lionesses, the daughter of ‘Mama Scar’, was busy nursing her five youngsters. This is interesting as lionesses only possess four teats.
I was out one morning looking for elephants as my guests were still hoping for further interaction with these special creatures. What we came across that day, we could not have prepared for – it was simply magical.