The story of a rock kopje in the northern Serengeti, and daily life in the Serengeti's best new camp hidden within it.
Fri, Mar 22, 2013
Lamai is placed on one of the most commanding Kopjes in the Serengeti overlooking vast plains and the Masaai Mara in the distance. The large granite boulders are great fun to explore, recently we took everyone up to the highest spot on the Lamai Kopje for a fun sundowner with breathtaking views.
This of course was after we had spent a morning with a Cheetah and her cubs, playing in the early morning light, it is truly a photographers paradise.
Fri, Mar 1, 2013
Yesterday morning we were woken early by the the prehistoric cackles and whoops of a pack of hyenas close to camp. It was soon followed by the bellowing of a buffalo, which echoed through the valley in front of camp for almost one hour. As the sun rose we heard grunts and growls of lions and soon put all the noises together and realized there must have been a kill and these two enemies, the lions and hyenas, must have come across each other and argued over the meal!As soon as the early morning light had crept over the landscape, we jumped in the car and dashed out to find out what had transpired earlier. After a few minutes of searching under every shrub and reading the natural signs of the wild to see if the impalas were tightly grouped in a nervous huddle or the baboons were shouting out an alarming bark, we spotted vultures arriving and darting down towards a gully a few meters away, so drove off to investigate.Within seconds we started counting the hyenas... one, two, three, four.... ten, eleven.... and soon the numbers rose to approximately 40 hyenas, all mingling in the tall grass, under bushes and crowded around a very unfortunate female buffalo who had apparently met her fate earlier that morning.
It was incredible to see the interaction between the hyenas, vultures and a very brave black-backed jackal who kept dashing into the crowd in the hopes of grabbing a small morsel for himself. He got snarled at a few times but generally the hyenas seemed unperturbed by his presence.
It was also fascinating to note the hierarchy within the hyena clan. They all had to take turns in feeding and a few of the youngsters would chase away adults, obviously royal heirs.
The vultures would mostly wait patiently for their turn but every now and then one would get inquisitive or greedy and waddle across to the carcass, trying to get close enough to steal a bit, but soon got chased off by a rather annoyed hyena.
This went on for a while and soon most of the hyenas moved away, leaving only one to fight off all the hundreds of vultures that had arrived on the scene. We decided to leave him as he had enough to deal with. A few meters away we came across 3 young lions, including 2 beautiful males and one female. We sat with them for a few minutes and then followed them as they walked back to the kill, to eat in peace now that all the hyenas had left the scene.
We are still not sure what transpired that morning, whether the hyenas had killed the buffalo and the lions had tried to take it over or whether the lions were the main hunters and they had been chased off by this 40-strong clan of spotted hyenas.
Whatever the case, one thing is for definite... everyone - no matter how big, small, furry or feathery got their share of this meal!
Fri, Feb 1, 2013
Fri, Jan 11, 2013
This particular day we came across a zebra herd happily grazing on the freshly sprung grass. It was only when we saw a hyena, jackal and 2 vultures poised close by that we realized one of the zebra mares had just given birth within the last 5 minutes or so.
For 40 minutes we sat and waited, watching the little foal kick and twirl around on the ground. It lifted its head every now again but for some reason, just couldn't get up onto its feet. The mother nudged it a few times but after about 20 minutes she started to get anxious. She ran backwards and forwards in-between her family members, leading the majority of them away in a circle and then back to the baby. She did this a few times and every time we thought she has left, she would appear again trotting up to the foal, calling even more hurriedly than before. The jackal approached a couple of times but was soon chased away by the 'guardians'. There were 5 members of the zebra family who would not leave the foal's side, possibly siblings or cousins, and they just stood and watched from a close distance and kept the area clear of any intruders.
Unfortunately after a few minutes of the jackals screeching, the mother couldn't bear it anymore and this time left for good. Another mare with a small foal approached from about 200 meters away and the mother ran to meet her, followed by yet another mare and foal. This was incredible behavior to observe and one wonders whether these other two mares were her sisters, trying to console her?
By the time the mother ran off, it was evident to us that the foal was not going to survive. Zebra foals should stand on their feet within 15 minutes of birth, and it was now 40 minutes. Soon after the mother ran off, the inevitable happened, the skulking hyena arrived on the scene and stealthily edged closer to the foal, carefully smelt it and then picked it up in its powerful jaws and ran off with it into the distance.
Wed, Dec 26, 2012
(Who joined us for Christmas 22 - 26 December 2012)
On the first day of Christmas
Mon, Dec 24, 2012
Wed, Nov 14, 2012
The full rains have arrived in the northern Serengeti and the the landscape is sporting a beautiful brightly lit emerald appearance.
The message has somehow been passed through bush mail as all the Wildebeest, bar a few, have left for their long journey to the Southern Serengeti.
There were a few incredible sightings of a few thousand Wildebeest at a time crossing the Mara River which is a sight only your imagination can consider. There long journey to the southern Serengeti started as they reached the other side and we have heard that they have arrived after only 2 weeks of travelling.
The last we saw from camp was of a giant herd of Wildebeest sweeping across the fields like a giant oil spill.
Even with the Wildebeest gone, there are still so many fantastic wildlife sightings such as 3 Lionesses with their cubs, Cheetahs with their cubs, male and female Leopards mating up in a tree and many more great things!
Unfortunately, however most of the animals do not like sitting in the pouring rain but it is not long until they can lie in the warm sun to dry off!
Mon, Oct 22, 2012
There have been many exciting adventures over the last few weeks including great river crossings of the Wildebeest as they tremble and plunge across the Mara River, Rhino sightings close to the Rivers edge and a Lioness carrying her brand new cubs in her mouth from one side of the open plains to the other.
However, probably the most interesting one for me is of the proud Mama Cheetah and her three cubs which have been seen several times resting, running or playing on the Bolagunja plains north of Lamai.
They are truly one of the most beautiful animals in the African bush!
Wed, Oct 3, 2012
The Northern Serengeti is one of the only places we know which gets rain throughout the year. It is a beautiful time to be at Lamai with emerald green grass and the endless herds of wildebeest, as well as giraffe, zebras and impalas, all foraging happily in front of camp.
Every morning commences with the sun shining brightly before the clouds slowly build up throughout the day and the evenings bring the dark storm clouds. The distant thunder becomes louder and louder, until finally the pitter patter of rain drops can be heard falling on the roof, followed by the wonderful aroma of rain hitting the hot earth. Soon the small drops turn into larger ones and in no time, the pathways and streams are filled with fresh rain water.
There have been so many adventures and sightings over the last few weeks but a couple of very special ones cannot go ignored.
Firstly, for those of you who have visited Lamai recently, you would have seen our lovely pair ofostrichs who have been sitting on a nest for nearly two months now. When we first saw the nest there were 18 eggs, but unfortunately the jackals have kept a very close eye on them and by the time they hatched, only 5 of them made it. We have not managed to get photos of the new chicks yet as the mother and father ostrich keep them well protected away from vehicles and predators.
We are also very excited to announce the arrival of our baby hyraxs (or dassies). Firstly, twins were born close to Room 10 and now, a few weeks later, there are eight more babies, living under the guides' tent. They are adorable, each resembling a rather tubby bundle of cotton wool!
Grunts, snorts and croaks from wildebeest and zebra can be heard all day long at Lamai. We sometimes have to smile at these strange sounds - they talk to each other non-stop and we wonder what they could possibly have to say to each other!
The lions, hyena and vultures have been having a field day with all the food around and if you think the days are loud with vocal choruses, then just wait until night-time! When the lions roar and the hyena giggle and whoop, it seems to open up the stage for a whole new enchanting theatrical production.
The wildebeest are everywhere, even spread across the airstrip and pilots often have to do a fly-by first to chase them off before landing! Isn’t that a great story to take home with you!
Yesterday the crossings began again but this time they seem to be travelling north again, back to the Lamai wedge and the Masaai Mara in Kenya.
There have been some incredible crossings and these photos show only a couple of them. Unfortunately, many wildebeest this year have not been lucky and have either fallen victim to the crocodiles in the Mara River or the lions on the nearby plains. However, the sheer capacity of the herds which remain behind is an astounding sight which one cannot imagine possible and photos, videos and words could never explain or capture the sheer number of them.
Thu, Aug 30, 2012
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