The Maasai Mara is a protected game reserve divided into three sections. All three sections make up about 580 square miles of land, which is about half the size of Yosemite National Park! The first part of our stay in the Mara was in the Mara Triangle, which is in the western part of the reserve. We finished out our time in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which is the eastern part of the reserve. We took a little puddle jumper flight from one area to the next and settled into our last home in Kenya. After we got checked in, we went to our tent and started unpacking. Our tent was at the end of a trail and we looked out onto a meadow. We had a little dik-dik visitor that welcomed us to our tent – we realized there was a pair of them and they just liked to eat the foliage by our tent. It was nice having them around and they were just so cute to look at!
We did an afternoon game drive that left us with pretty landscapes and the cat that had eluded us – the cheetah! We were desperate for cheetahs and boy did the Mara deliver! In this area of the Mara, there is a cheetah coalition that is a rarity in the animal world. Cheetahs are very solitary animals – females will be seen with their cubs, but once the cubs are big enough they will venture out on their own. Every once in a while, maybe two males (usually brothers) will stay together, but not usually more than that. The coalition in the Mara began as five male cheetahs that decided to team up. Observers think that this group of five was made up of two sets of brothers and a single male who was accepted into the fold as well. The coalition was first observed in late 2016, so they’ve been sauntering around the Mara for quite some time. They were a strong five up until 2021, when the first member of the coalition died. One of the members would go off on his own for a few days and then come back to the group. He would go mate, hunt, and just live apart from his “brothers” for a while. Evidently, the brothers grew tired of this behavior and it’s said that they killed him. In early 2022, another brother died, this time from a multitude of injuries that are thought to be from another animal – possibly a crocodile, hippo, lion, or other cheetah. A week after we saw the three of them, another member of the group died from a presumed lion attack.
When we saw the three of them the first day, they were lounging around. We actually originally only saw one of them laying about and then the second one emerged from the bushes. The third one meandered in and they started off. Their bellies were thin, so we knew they hadn’t eaten but it was also late in the day so we weren’t sure if they were committed to hunting. We followed them for a bit, and they ended up on a little hill. They each took a direction and surveyed the land to see if there were any good dinner prospects. After watching for a bit, they decided that the hill would be a good place to snooze for the time being, so we left them and headed back to camp. On the way back, we were treated to a beautiful sunset!
2 thoughts on “Kenya Day Seven – Maasai Mara”
OBSESSED with these photos of the sunlight coming through the clouds. STUNNING.
Also really love the horns above the grass – are those antelope?
Yes! They are topi horns! 🙂