Lamai Serengeti

If you were to visit only one place in the Serengeti, it should be here.

The story of a rock kopje in the northern Serengeti, and daily life in the Serengeti's best new camp hidden within it.

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Thu, Aug 30, 2012

Lions of Lamai

Well, the last few days have been full of excitement around Lamai!

We have had 5 sub-adult lions living in and around camp.  They have been hunting every day and so far, to our knowledge, have killed 3 wildebeest and 2 zebra so are very well fed, with very large round bellies!!

A couple of nights ago we were woken up by a rustle in the grass next to our house and, expecting to seean inquisitive hyena, we shone our torches out of the window and saw 2 young lionesses lurking outside in the grass.  They were soon joined by another three. 

We listened and watched for about an hour.  One of the females lay down on top of a rock close by while the others set out to trample and flatten the grass around them.  At first we thought they were making a comfortable bed on which to rest, but it was soon apparent that they had something else in mind!

They had found a plastic container and a cardboard box lying around camp and, although we heard all the noise, we didn't know what it was until the following morning when we went to investigate and found the box in tatters and the plastic container nicely chewed up with rather slimy lion slobber all over it!

Early this morning the lions were in camp again - this time however, they kept the noise down and only startled a few unsuspecting staff members during early morning wake-up call!

These five youngsters are nearly the same size as full grown lions, but still with adolescent spots and pink noses. They have obviously just been kicked out of their pride and are now trying to find their footing and place in the Lamai area.

One thing is for sure though... they are doing very well finding food on their own!

Tue, Aug 21, 2012

One in a Million… literally!!

It has been said that the Wildebeest Migration of East Africa is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but has anyone mentioned the other animals which take part in this incredible display of courage and honour?

If one takes a closer look, one will see not only the 1.5 million wildebeest but also more than a few beautiful zebras, Thompson gazelles, impalas, topi and the occasional elephant herd or giraffe wandering peacefully  through the chaos.  I cannot help wondering what goes through these animals’ minds when, within minutes, they are surrounded by one million grunting and croaking wildebeest!

There was a rather strange sighting a few weeks ago when the wildebeest herd arrived in the Bolagunja area close to Lamai.  We had stopped the car in amongst them and noticed there was a lot of movement and noise coming from the right hand side and the wildebeest seemed to be moving away from something very quickly.  We waited anxiously to see what it was, all the while thinking silently to ourselves that it may be a hungry lion or a bewildered black rhino.  However, as the wildebeest parted, we were very surprised to see an animal neither wild nor feline!  It was a donkey!

This donkey had obviously escaped from his home in one of the Maasai villages around the park, wandered into the Serengeti plains, met up with the Wildebeest Migration and thought they would make good company! Unfortunately it was apparent that the Wildebeest did not feel the same way.  They all continued to snort at him as though he was an apparition from another world!

Every few minutes a male wildebeest would try and prove himself to the ladies as being the brave and courageous one.  He would prance out of the circle surrounding the donkey and do a dressage-type strut as he moved.  The male never got very close but would stop at a distance, tilt his head sideways, give a loud warning snort, and then dash back to the safety of the Wildebeest wall.  Every now and again, the donkey would look up to see what the commotion was 
about, but most of the time he carried on eating, completely ignoring the goings on around him.
Maybe he preferred to live in peaceful naivety and remain unaware that he was in fact the ugly duckling of the herd!

Since that day we have heard many more stories of our 'Punda' (Kiswahili for Donkey), and are happy to say that he is still very fit and healthy!  Most of his herd have now crossed the Mara River into Kenya but he is the wise one and stays on the southern side, waiting patiently for the return of his family!

There are many more wildebeest to come through over the next few weeks so he is by no means alone!

Watch this space for more news on Punda's journey through the Serengeti!!


Fri, Aug 10, 2012

From Chaos to Tranquility!

The last month has gone by so fast with all the exciting happenings in the area keeping us very busy!

Unfortunately the incredible wildebeest migration did not pass directly through camp this year but was only a few kilometers away in the Bolagunja area.  

One can hear about the migration your whole life, but when the day arrives when you are actually sitting in the middle of these animals, it is very hard to believe that it is real.  To say that it takes ones breath away is an understatement.

It truly is a spectacular sight which defines nature.

All five senses are opened wide..  The sound of a million wildebeest is like listening to a million bull-fogs, each with their own distinctive voice. Each individual with only one thought in its mind - food!  The males run around the herds giving off their low grunts and prancing their stuff like proud dressage horses.

We have spent many evenings all huddled around in the lounge area, looking at laptops or Ipads, watching slideshows of amazing photos and videos taken by our guests of wildebeest bravely jumping off high cliffs and swimming across the Mara
 River. What a spectacle!

It sometimes takes two hours of patient waiting before witnessing the spectacle of the wildebeest crossing the Mara River.  They are, understandably, very nervous to cross a river full of hungry crocodiles.  However, this is not their only fear - another major hurdle is the massive wildebeest stampede which occurs, when many animals break legs or are drowned during this short journey across the river. We can not help but ask the question -"Why?" 

It is incredible that these animals can move such a distance and through so much danger in search of food.  There is still a lot of luscious grass around the Lamai area but still, they follow their ancestral paths across the dangerous Mara river in search of  greener pastures.

August has been the perfect time to be at Lamai with the best of both worlds.  We have been able to enjoy the excitement of the migration on the plains with the incredible views of one million wildebeest spread out like ants and the overwhelming chaos occurring on the banks of the Mara River, before returning at the end of the day to the peace, tranquility and comfortable luxury of Lamai. 

They seem like two different worlds and we are grateful that we are able to witness both!


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