Maasai Mara herbivores

by Robin Fuller November. 17, 2020 210 views

An earlier blog reported on our stay at Porini camps in the Maasai Mara as guests of the local Maasai community who lease their land for conservation and eco-tourism, giving them an income, employment, health care and education - and giving us a fantastic window on wildlife. I ask you to look at the earlier blog as I consider the photos shown here relied on this very special example of eco-tourism. I express my thanks to the Maasai for the privelege of visiting their reserve and sharing their company, if only briefly.

There are many species of herbivorous mammals on the Mara. This blog shows but a few. The low resolution pictures taken on a Panasonic FZ38 with tele-converter leave much to be desired but provide an aide memoire and, I hope, give you a taste of the Mara.

The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large sub-Saharan bovine. They always look ornery and can be extremely dangerous, tearing apart a victim with their massive horns.

The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large sub-Saharan bovine. They always look ornery and can be extremely dangerous, tearing apart a victim with their massive horns.

Mixed herds of Wildebeest and Zebra traverse the Mara on the annual migration to the Serengeti, following seasonal rainfall patterns which dictate the quantity and quality of grazing. At this point in the migration they are soon to cross the infamous Mara River, which will be the subject of a separate post.

Wildebeest and Zebra on the annual migration from the Mara to the Serengeti.

Wildebeest and Zebra on the annual migration from the Mara to the Serengeti.

The Wildebeest, a type of antelope, is also called the gnu on account of the constant 'gnu' noise they make when communicating amongst the herd.

The Wildebeest, a type of antelope, is also called the gnu on account of the constant 'gnu' noise they make when communicating amongst the herd.

Coke's hartebeest with the distinctive lyre-shaped horns is an antelope native to Kenya and Tanzania.

Coke's hartebeest with the distinctive lyre-shaped horns is an antelope native to Kenya and Tanzania.

Topi resemble hartebeest but have a darker coloration and less sharply angled horns.

Topi resemble hartebeest but have a darker coloration and less sharply angled horns.

Topi have elongated heads, a distinct hump at the base of the neck, and reddish brown bodies with dark patches on their upper leg and a mask-like dark colouration on the face.

Topi have elongated heads, a distinct hump at the base of the neck, and reddish brown bodies with dark patches on their upper leg and a mask-like dark colouration on the face.

The Plains zebra is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. Often they stand in pairs, each watching the other's back; here a third Zebra minds their flanks.

The Plains zebra is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. Often they stand in pairs, each watching the other's back; here a third Zebra minds their flanks.

 Zebras are very photogenic, especially in warm late afternoon sunshine.

Zebras are very photogenic, especially in warm late afternoon sunshine.

A small herd of Grant's gazelles. They are found on open grass plains and frequently in shrublands but avoid areas with tall grass where predators may approach unseen.

A small herd of Grant's gazelles. They are found on open grass plains and frequently in shrublands but avoid areas with tall grass where predators may approach unseen.

Many Grant's gazelles have this distinctive dark body stripe.

Many Grant's gazelles have this distinctive dark body stripe.

This is a newly born Grant's gazelle calf, still looking wet and certainly very wobbly on its feet. Mum ran off as we approached so we moved on quickly to allow her straight back.

This is a newly born Grant's gazelle calf, still looking wet and certainly very wobbly on its feet. Mum ran off as we approached so we moved on quickly to allow her straight back.

A Bushbuck ewe has an unusual red coat and a feisty temper. Though not large, the bucks with pointed horns are said to be very dangerous when wounded.

A Bushbuck ewe has an unusual red coat and a feisty temper. Though not large, the bucks with pointed horns are said to be very dangerous when wounded.

A Bohor reedbuck female, a species I hadn't seen until the Mara safari.

A Bohor reedbuck female, a species I hadn't seen until the Mara safari.

An Impala male or 'ram' puts himelf between us and his females or 'ewes' in the background.

An Impala male or 'ram' puts himelf between us and his females or 'ewes' in the background.

Dik-diks live in shrublands and savannas of eastern Africa. They are named after the alarm calls of the females. This Dik-dik is hiding deep in undergrowth, which is my typical experience of the species.

Dik-diks live in shrublands and savannas of eastern Africa. They are named after the alarm calls of the females. This Dik-dik is hiding deep in undergrowth, which is my typical experience of the species.

Waterbuck inhabit scrub and savanna areas along rivers, lakes and valleys. The requirement for grasslands near water gives them a sparse distribution.

Waterbuck inhabit scrub and savanna areas along rivers, lakes and valleys. The requirement for grasslands near water gives them a sparse distribution.

The Giant eland is the largest antelope. They are wary and difficult to approach and observe.

The Giant eland is the largest antelope. They are wary and difficult to approach and observe.

The Common warthog is a member of the pig family found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in sub-Saharan Africa. Its diet is actually omnivorous, comprising grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, insects, eggs and carrion.

The Common warthog is a member of the pig family found in grassland, savanna, and woodland in sub-Saharan Africa. Its diet is actually omnivorous, comprising grasses, roots, berries and other fruits, bark, fungi, insects, eggs and carrion.

A warthog sow with piglets. When alarmed they run head up and tail held vertically to signal danger.

A warthog sow with piglets. When alarmed they run head up and tail held vertically to signal danger.

Maasai giraffes doing what giraffes do best, browsing in the upper branches in thickets and trees.

Maasai giraffes doing what giraffes do best, browsing in the upper branches in thickets and trees.

The Maasai giraffe is the largest subspecies of giraffe, native to East Africa in central and southern Kenya and Tanzania. It has distinctive, irregular, star-like blotches and bulls such as this have a forehead lump.

The Maasai giraffe is the largest subspecies of giraffe, native to East Africa in central and southern Kenya and Tanzania. It has distinctive, irregular, star-like blotches and bulls such as this have a forehead lump.

 African bush elephants amble their way across the plain, clearly with an objective, probably seeking shade - the 'tidelines on some of the elephants shows they have just come from water.

African bush elephants amble their way across the plain, clearly with an objective, probably seeking shade - the 'tidelines on some of the elephants shows they have just come from water.

Two large male African bush elephants, teamed up together as they are excluded from the female herds.

Two large male African bush elephants, teamed up together as they are excluded from the female herds.

 An African bush elephant squares up to us.

An African bush elephant squares up to us.

An  African bush elephant mother and young calf - a delight to see it clearly in the open rather than the usual siting half-hidden amongst the legs of the herd.

An African bush elephant mother and young calf - a delight to see it clearly in the open rather than the usual siting half-hidden amongst the legs of the herd.

A young adult has been separated from the others and runs jauntily but warily across our path to seek the reassurance of the herd.

A young adult has been separated from the others and runs jauntily but warily across our path to seek the reassurance of the herd.

These have been just a few highlights from maybe hundreds of photos. There is a separate post on the Mara River which the zebra and Wildebeest must cross, at the mercy of crocodiles, on their way to the Serengeti.

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