The non-arrival of the ‘short rains’ at the end of last year definitely had an influence on migratory species, who maintained their presence through the first number of weeks of the month. We continued to have terrific sightings of predator/prey interactions. But for me, the most spectacular scene is out on the grassy plains, seeing them filled with thousands of wildebeest and topi, side-by-side with zebra, eland and Thompsons gazelles (to mention but a few) is nothing short of breath-taking.
The latter part of February brought some rain which we took to be an early start of the long rains which were welcomed with relief. The dry plains slowly but surely began to green up and transformed the vast views from Sasakwa lodge’s lofty perch.
I find it a real pity that Grumeti isn’t frequented by more guests during this traditionally quieter time of the year. We have had another bumper month of game viewing this February. In fact, we have undoubtedly smashed the record for cheetah sightings over the twenty eight day period, but more on that later.
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.