By Adam Bannister
Kisaru, the Queen of Enonkishu, continues to thrive. She is an incredible mother and is meticulous in her efforts to raise her cubs. At three months of age her two cubs have navigated the most dangerous passage of their lives, and although the road ahead is still thwarted with challenges and surprises, we can all breathe a little easier in the knowledge that Kisaru is seemingly in control. Her two cubs, one boy and one girl, have provided our guests with some highly entertaining viewing.
A few weeks ago we had the most incredible sighting of Kisaru as she exploded out of a thicket and into a clearing. The recent rains had left the ground wet and muddy. A large male Grant’s Gazelle lost his balance and slipped at the most crucial of stages in the chase. Kisaru was on him in seconds, capitalising on this fatal error.
In honour of this incredible cheetah, we have named our latest room at House in the Wild after her. We have just completed the construction of our beautiful Kisaru Cottage. This 2 room sanctuary is situated just beyond the Marula Cottage. In our House in the Wild spirit of sustainability, this cottage was built using local material and elements sourced from a home that was carefully dismantled nearby. There are 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms each with a copper bath, a beautiful open dining and lounge area in which guests of Kisaru can enjoy fireside cocktails after a day of safari. There is large verandah, perfect for watching warthogs grazing, while sipping morning coffee, looking over a private lawn dotted with Euclea trees, stretching down to the Mara River. House in the Wild has only 7 cottages so all guests in any of our cottages can feel their stay is completely private.
Back in the conservancies, closer to home the Enonkishu Pride are growing up. The two lionesses, aged roughly 11 and 7, work so well as a team. Like clockwork they come out of the thickets in the late afternoon. They sit and wait on the fringe, until they spot an unsuspecting warthog on its way back to its burrow. As the light starts to fade so they make their move – the older lioness usually ends up chasing the unsuspecting prey into the younger team-mate. The kill is secured and one of the two then bounds off to collect their four cubs – leading them to the feast.
If all goes well then, the pride feasts through the night; however, the three remaining Sankai males are never far away. These enormous males are the ultimate models when it comes to photography. Having spent time across most of the Mara I am sure that they are amongst the biggest and most impressive males that currently call this ecosystem home. Their roars puncture the stillness of the night!
We are delighted to say that leopard sightings are on the increase. These elusive, and secretive cats, appear to be relaxing a little more – coming out earlier in the afternoons, and staying out later in the mornings. Already we are starting to gather side profile pictures so we can make more accurate estimates as to the numbers of these beautiful cats that call our landscape home. At House in the Wild we believe seeing a leopard is a good omen, we have found good things often follow a good leopard sighting!
The Grey-Crowned Crane phenomenon continues. So much so that we believe these flocks of many hundreds of these massive, and delightfully beautiful birds, are fast becoming an icon of this conservancy. Nowhere else in the Mara, and potentially East Africa, can you see flocks of these birds in the numbers we have here. How lucky are we!
A real highlight over the last few weeks has been witnessing a very young Giraffe in its early stages – walking slowly, tentatively, and cautiously next to its mom. How delicate and delightful.
As Enonkishu Conservancy matures, we can start putting more and more effort and resources into the land. It all takes time, but we have already started growing the road network and infrastructure. We are fixing drainage and looking at how we can continue to restore and rehabilitate the grasslands. Through partnerships in community driven conservation we are excited to be expanding into farmland north of the Enonkishu boundary. It takes time, patience and commitment but we are so excited to see within 2 years, an area of land as you drive in from the north, that was intensively farmed maize fields, now has zebra, wildebeest and giraffe.
Restoring wildlife habitats in harmony with improving livelihoods in an area under so much pressure brings hope and we are excited for the future of this ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Mara.