Day 20 LAST DAY ON THE MARA RIVER

First thing this morning we head back to the hyena cubs.  They are still in the red oat grass but we now see they have a social structure—the babies have a “nanny.” 

1_hyena_1

The matriarch has a tracking collar (hyenas packs are always lead by a female, and females are bigger than males). The rangers only tag the lead female hyena as they gather data so they can manage the area.

1_hyena_2_matriarch

We see the nanny carry one of the babies in her mourh—a bit of discipline for this youngster who has been acting up.  These are lucky babies.  Born to the matriarch they have high status in the pack.  Babies born to other females will have a very tough life.

1_hyena_3_cub_in_mouth

Suddenly we hear a starling noise coming at us—a crazy hot air balloon is almost landing on top of us—and the hyenas are agitated.

1_hyena_balloon_4

The balloon moves over us and they resume normal life.  

1_hyena_balloon_5

Moving back to the Mara we see two female lions—are these the ones we saw during our night drive?  If so they were much more ominous in the dark!  Or I should say they are deceptively benign resting in the grass.  Lions follow the herd…they follow the food.

2_two_female_lions

Back at the river we continue to see crossings.

5_final_migration

The wildebeest make quite a sight leaping off the rocks into the river. 

3_jumping_wildebeests_best


We feel very lucky to have seen so many huge crossings.  Really a remarkable spectacle.  We even see a Topi swim across.  Who knew?

3_topi_crossing

Heading back to camp, we drive by the wetlands one final time.  

We find a batchelor herd of young Topis.  We stop to enjoy the boys sparring.


A mother Topi and calf look on.

7_topi_and_calf

Out of the wetlands, we meet a large giraffe family

8_giraffe_family

And watch while one drinks.  They are in such a vulnerable position when they go for water. Quite an amazing pose.

8_giraffe_drinking

Tomorrow, we’ll do a quick drive before heading to the next game reserve at Lake Nakuru National Park.  This is one of the smaller parks in Africa but it’s a real gem.  More on this tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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