The life of the cats in the Mara is intimately linked to many of the grazing animals that wander around this large game reserve. Thomson’s gazelle and impala were the first to be spotted as we entered from the Talek gate but soon we were also coming across the larger topi.
As with the lions, we are all so familiar with elephants that it’s hard to realise that these were wild and in their natural habitat. The herd munched away apparently oblivious of the vehicles that were passing by, or perhaps very well aware of the vehicles but disdainful of their presence. We came across two groups of these huge mammals the second were around a dead herd member, apparently the result of natural causes. The herd was still not ready to move on from their dead companion six days after the death.
Elsewhere zebra and wildebeest roamed in mixed herds, the distant plain speckled with them. Some of the animals appeared restless, perhaps ready to migrate to follow the overdue rains. Buffalo too were to be seen in large herds, from young calves looking so similar to a domestic cow up to huge males with their large yoke shaped horns over their head.
Giraffes wandered casually around nibbling on their topiaried trees that were scattered across the plains and occasionally we glimpsed an eland or a hartebeest.
Down by the river we were able to watch groups of hippopotamuses lounging in the water. They appeared so content with what looked like large beaming smiles on their faces. It’s so easy to anthropomorphise and so hard to remember that these grumpy creatures are the cause of so many deaths in Africa.
Dotted over the Maasai Mara were other creatures such as warthog, sometimes alone, sometimes with a little crowd of adolescent warthogs dashing around. Hyenas hung around the lions or occasionally wandered past alone, one with a radio collar as part of a study on their behaviour.