WHAT TO DO WHEN AT MASAI MARA
At any point in time there is a whole range of incredible and exciting things going on. August and festive season tend to be popular times for safari but if you skirt around the busy period, the magic is still very much happening.
Predators’ give birth after the short rains and now the 2-3 month old babies are becoming active, playful and visible.
The river swells, all is lovely and green. Crisp bright mornings, afternoon storms and amazing skies
The driver drops, and wildebeest stampede across. The migration supplements the prey species and makes for easy picking (hunting).
September sees the start of the Impala births and by October all species but the wildebeest are having babies.
DID YOU KNOW
- A lion has an average lifespan of 14 years?
- A giraffe eats an average of 34kgs per day
- A bull elephant weights about 7 tonnes. I The largest land mammal on earth is also the most emotional.These beautiful creatures are the most family orientated animals in Africa – they remember almost everything that occurs in their lifetime, they mourn the loss of loved ones just as we do and they can even communicate to one another through their feet.
- Elephants can feel vibrations from extreme distances. It is said that they can feel the vibrations from storms through their feet from almost 240 kilometres away, and a single stomp of their big feet can be felt for up to 9 km! Also, you know the elephant graveyard in the Lion King… That’s a real thing. These animals instinctively travel to a certain location to die, far away from their herd. They sure are magical creatures!
Believe it or not, the belief that elephants never forget has more than a bit of truth to it. Elephants have incredible memories. They know every member of their family and are able to recognize up to 30 companions by sight or smell. They’re also one of the few animals to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, mourn dead members of their herd, and recognize themselves in the mirror.
- Leopards are the most difficult to spot. They are kings and queens of camouflage.
- Giraffes have blue tongues. Fascinating, no? No, you didn’t read this incorrectly. The average length of a giraffe’s tongue is 20 inches, it is blue in colour and has an extremely leathery texture! This design helps the giraffe to pluck leaves off the thorniest bushes without causing themselves harm
- Hippos graze at night.
- The African elephant is the largest land mammal on earth.
- The hummingbird can fly.
- The Zebra’s stripes protect them from disease.Zebras are said to have evolved with stripes to avoid catching a common disease that is spread via flies. Their stripes cause confusion amongst the bugs eyes, leaving them unable to land on their skin.
- The Wildebeest migrate in straight lines due to their lack of sight.
- Buffalo Kill More People than Lion. Don’t be fooled by their docile presence, Buffalo are actually one of the most aggressive animals in Africa. They are one of the only animals that will actually hunt a human down before attacking, especially if there are babies around. They may look like big, very relaxed animals, but if duty calls… There’s no doubt that they’ll attack!
- The unsung heroes of Africa have to be dung beetles. Why? These little rollers literally live on poop and can roll dung up to 50 times their body weight in a straight line, despite all obstacles! They are the true recyclers of the bush. Scientists have also recently discovered they use the Milky Way as a compass. Both male and female dung beetles have different roles when it comes to what to do with the dung they collect.
- We all know a lion’s roar is well, loud, but did you know it can be heard from a distance of 8 kilometers or 5 miles away? “Can you hear me now?” Yes, yes, I can…loud and clear. Roaring helps to establish territories as well as maintain strong bonds between pride members.
- Ostriches are the largest and fastest birds on earth. They can sprint over 40 miles an hour (70 kilometres), and if you can imagine, one of their eggs can easily feed a dozen hungry men. Now that’s a big egg!
- Rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers. The oxpecker eats ticks and insects that it finds on the rhinoceros. The oxpecker gets food and the beast gets a free grooming session. A win-win for all!
- Crocodiles are older than dinosaurs. These ancient creatures have been around for over 200 million years, outliving dinosaurs by nearly 60 million years. They are the apex predator in Africa and you won’t find many animals that will mess with them.
- Hyenas fall into the genetic family Hyenidae. They are categorised all on their own. They are neither cat nor dog.
- Honey badgers have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fearless animal on the planet! They are the notorious tanks of the bushveld, known for fearlessly attacking lions and leopards when threatened.
- There are a host of weird collective nouns to identify groups of African animals in the bush. A crash of rhino, a dazzle of zebra, a coalition of cheetah, a prickle of porcupine, a leap of leopards, and the list goes on and on.
WHY THE BONFIRE
The ancestral ritual of communal fireplace and dining – the essence of sharing. Human beings are social animals and part of what makes things vivid and real to us is our capacity to share. There is amplifying of joy in dissecting the day, raking over the delicious details and unwrapping the delights over and over again, over the fundamentally communal experience of breaking bread.
In an unconscious way, it is also part of absorbing and storing memories. The retelling and reliving make it more vivid and set the place of experience in our mind. The evening is for digesting and processing the day.
Most camps and lodges in the wild will have a bonfire where guests sit in circles enjoying the various cultural entertainments as they relieve the day. Now you know 😊