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Everything posted by Atravelynn

  1. That Fu was inadvertent, I swear! Not sure how that flew in to the post. Oh dear!
  2. Beautiful birds and impressive mammals. Can't wait for the 19, count 'em 19, suni. Good move: "I talked to Ben and Roger and we agreed to cut a day off our time at the coast, in order to return to Nairobi a day early and get a full day in Nairobi National Park." I was having flashbacks reading your report. This is why. Glad Ben's Ecological Safaris came through again. I've gone with Ben's Uncle Ben (popular family name). How did you come up with this itinerary? Was it a joint effort or did you lay out what you wanted at the outset? Any tradeoffs you made in planning other than what you mentioned about Nairobi? Any changes you'd make in retrospect? Thanks for the Rondo comments. You mentioned it being dry in January, which coincided with my Feb experience in Tanzania. Disturbingly dry. Still, you saw great stuff, which is even more of a credit to Guide Ben. Sad about the papyrus and of course the effect on the Papyrus Gonolek. That lion cub - buffalo interaction was fascinating and the lioness sleeping through it all was rather funny. How many new birds did you get? I am assuming you keep count of those kinds of things.
  3. Fans schmans. They have Mousse au Chocolat!
  4. That wild dog attack on the hyena is really chilling. Such sounds! I also like how your guide suggested the other hyenas would not be coming but would be hiding. I would too if I were a hyena. Great greeting clip too! Dogs loomed large for you!
  5. An itinerary even Robert De Niro, Teri Garr, and Richard Dreyfuss would love! And probably more, but I am only on the first couple of posts! Glad you got up the mountain at last.It was what you were "made to do." But I don't know who else said that in what movie. What a welcome by the leopard! Although it is not a movie quote, Virginia Woolf might be appropriate: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” From a leopard's point of view, that kill was downright gourmet! You and Clint are both very lucky. Great GoPro. The evening sky was perfect on it. I wondered where you got that music. Lovely credit at the end.
  6. Without being presumptuous, I had a premonition of GTG! Of course, that means you'd have to stay home for a change.
  7. Thanks for reminder. Everyone was quiet in the clip. Hope those lion cubs have grown bigger and stronger since you saw them. What's cuter than an ungainly baby giraffe?
  8. In case my post above was not sufficeintly complimentary to Meru, check out these accolades. Full report below. Fu
  9. Those lion cubs were really performing when I scrolled back a few posts! All it takes is a fallen branch to keep them occupied. Lion cubs, followed by cheetah cubs!
  10. Nice reply from Gamewatchers and Porini. In a real stretch, you could see that "shush" as an indication of how unique and rare the event you were witnessing was, as there'd be no shush for a pride of sleeping lions or a lone cheetah under a tree. Just another example how technology does change everything. Well not everything. The stark impartiality of nature, as you experienced with the hyena grabbing the young impala, remains unchanged. Young lions cubs, always such a treat!
  11. " price is pretty much the same for both options." I was going to state a higher price for mobile as the big drawback. " it would be our first stop for 3 nights on our second family safari next summer." I thought you had already inquired here at length in the past and gone. That didn't take long for a return. I saw your other thread which tells me how long it took for you to plan again. 4 weeks 1st trip: "ol lentille, kicheche laikipia and kicheche mara. next trip will either be a new mobile camp in meru for 3 nights, liakpia wilderness for 4 and then offbeat mara for 4 or ol Lentille for first 4, and then lwc for 4 dn offbeat mara for 4" is this too repetitive? we are repeating mara north again...has anyone else done this? we tried to book other conservancies but could not find any deals with kicheche or asilia. price matters as there are 4 of us.. is kicheche similar to offbeat in regard to guiding, vehicles, tents and food? I have no experience with Offbeat or Kicheche camps, but in general good quality safari camps (which these are) have a very similar level of guiding and food. just want it to be as wonderful as the first trip. I am the Queen of Repeats and often go back the next year to the same place, but usually with a little more of a variation added into the mix. I see you included the teens' viewpoints of another Kenya safari in your other post: "my daughter wants to try something differern, like bali or thailand, and my son is perfectly content to stay home, so we shall see!!" The warning from @AmyT against seeking perfection a second time is worth heeding. So my 2 cents would be: A) If you are set on these parks in Kenya, I'd go for the mobile this time to add variety. The mobiles I have been in were quite comfortable and would allow you to nap in the afternoon and enjoy other amenities for a softer landing. But 3 things to consider: 1) In this case does mobile mean that the camp moves seasonally or every few weeks? If so, you have all the comforts that count of a permanent tent with the added adventure of a small camp and more secluded location. If this is a several day experience where your camp itself moves from place to place each night, then your concern of being deprived of a soft landing is more valid. Finally, you are not the mobile element here, walking or driving from bushcamp to bushcamp, right? Just want to be sure. I tried to find this Meru mobile camp by googling Laikipia Meru Mobile but I don't think I hit on exactly what you are considering so I could not pin down the type of mobile. Unfortunately "mobile" can mean different things. 2) Tse tse flies are a consideration in Meru, unlike other places in Kenya and I can attest to that. Ask if the mobile location is in an area that is better or worse for tse tses. Location definitely made a difference in the # of these annoying biting flies. 3) Meru is a favorite, especially among seasoned safari-goers (and I loved my 3 nights there in the month August) but the amount of wildlife here is not as high as other places. One rare species that Meru is known for is the Lesser Kudu, which you will not likely see in the other Kenya destinations you have. But you need to be prepared for lower #s of mammals. However, the mammals you do see will likely be in gorgeous settings. B ) Given the reactions of your kids and the risk that perfection may not be duplicated, you could opt for something different than last time, but still on the continent. How about Tanzania in East Africa? You could include Zanzibar for some non-safari variety, but where nature still abounds--underwater with snorkeling opportunities. Or Botswana on a mobile safari where you move from location to location within Botswana? Maybe South Africa with Cape Town added and Great White Shark viewing either in the submerged cage or with equally good views on the boat? Perhaps the gorillas and back to the Mara or to Serengeti? The options are really limitless. Good luck and what a wonderful dilemma to have.
  12. Better than killing would be trapping and sterilizing and removing from the area. But are there funds for that? I see @offshorebirder also made that same suggestion. Invasive feral species are such a hard call. I don't have to look a world away for the debate, just outside my door in my local park where feral cats pose a threat to local "special concern species" like the Boblink and to bi-annual migrating warblers from Central/South America. As a cat lover, I curse those who don't neuter their pets and dump unwanted animals rather than take them to a shelter. On with the report....
  13. @janzin and I will have to make the trek to the monarchs first before we can show you. The best locations are in Mexico, but I understand there are some places in California too.
  14. You are excused from the snakes.The only other place I saw a quite a few snakes in one place was a python pit in....Zambia.
  15. That first night drive summary is indeed a fairy tale. Good thing you have the pics to prove it! "I asked my guide if there is any Meerkats around this park and I barely open my mouth before he said.... "there they are!" Straight out of a fairy tale! Now I have read about night drive #2 and #3 and seen the shots. Equally amazing. The aardvarks are popping up everywhere. It is encouraging to read that even a change in the weather, such as the cold wind, does not stifle the sightings. That increases the odds for visitors. Sorry if I missed it in your report, but WHY is Marrick such a good place for these rare species? Do you think the whole region supports this rarity and diversity? Marrick really did live up to its reputation.
  16. Recommended by both @Tulips and Bibi. That's the gold star standard. Seems to be a great way to enjoy the incomparable Chobe River.
  17. Perhaps the list of 12 activities on a business card for Awash Lodge and Doho Lodge might change your mind. How about that #11 for some exercise?
  18. Bale Mountains The title is compliments of the alliteratively talented @AndMic. Heading above the clouds last March along with @AndMic were @Michael-ibk and myself. We settled on the travel company, Ethiopian Quadrants, after some independent research and reaching out to other Safaritalk members who have gone to Ethiopia and have posted some great reports here. A key factor in choosing Ethiopian Quadrants was securing the guide @Nature Traveler had, Abiy Dagne. Red Jackal was also a company we considered and they provided timely, informative, and professional information. Traditional meal with injera bread After Ethiopia experienced some security problems in Oct 2016, we were cognizant of safety issues. Our investigations, contacts and especially our visit allayed any concerns. Absolutely nothing, even the least little bit unsettling occurred. As more time passes without incident, as more people heed Lonely Planet’s 2017 “Ten destinations you cannot afford to miss” (Ethiopia’s on the list), and as more accounts of successful travels to Ethiopia are shared, visitors are going to flock to Ethiopia. Geladas in Guassa, led by male Four safety anecdotes: 1) A hotel employee in Addis proudly described to me the beauty, wonder, and security of Ethiopia. He explained that the grass outside the city was so green and soft, it just beckoned you to lie down upon it. And when you did, he explained, “You can fall sound asleep on the grass and not one single animal or person will harm you.” 2) A longtime resident of Ethiopia from the UK explained he had no qualms walking around the city and heading home on foot at night. He added that he would not feel so safe in other African cities. (Or American cities, I might add, from my own experience.) 3) An NGO worker who had been all over Ethiopia for the past 3 years stated: “I could tape money to my naked body and walk the streets any time of day or night and nothing would happen to me.” None of us put that suggestion to the test. 4) At the end of our trip we were a few hours outside of Addis Ababa when we noticed several men approaching the street and waving machetes over their heads. They were making obvious eye contact and gestures toward our vehicle. Alarmed, I asked our guide and driver what was going on. “This is the town where they make knives and they are selling them.” Oh, nothing to fear, just free enterprise at work. Scenery bordering Guassa Ethiopian Endemic--Black-winged Lovebird, Addis Ababa, Ghion Garden ITINERARY, and some notable wildlife MARCH 2017 10 Met upon arrival and transferred to Jupiter International Hotel. Visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, no hassle. 20 minutes drive to Jupiter Hotel. I had arranged for a morning check-in. Day at rest. Ethiopian Quadrants owner,Tony Hickey, offered to host me for dinner that evening at his restaurant, but I was asleep when the invitation was granted and needed the recuperation time. 11 Depart Addis Ababa to Menz Guassa 7:10 – 7:30 Gentlemen arrived on early flight, drive to Ghion Unity House and Gardens 7:30 – 9:00 Birding at Ghion Unity House in Addis Ababa 9:00 – 11:00 Drive 11:00 –12:00 Birding at ponds/lakes between Addis and Debre Birhan 12:00 – 12:40 Drive to Debre Birhan 12:40 –1:50 Lunch at Eva Restaurant, Debre Birhan 1:50 – 5:30 Drive to Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Some Notable Endemic Birds Seen in/around Addis: Black-winged Lovebird, Black-headed Siskin, Abbyssinian Long-claw, Blue-winged Goose 12 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking 13 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking Some Notable Guassa Wildlife Seen: Wolves, Gelada, Blick’s Grass Rat, Serval, Klipspringer, Mountain/Gray/Common Duiker, Abyssinian Hyrax, Rouget’s Rail, White Collared Pigeons, Abyssinian Long-claw, and other Birds 14 Menz Guassa to Awash National Park 7:00 – 12:40 Drive to Addis, stopping about 15 minutes for Gelada 12:40 – 1:40 Lunch at Road Runner, same owner as Ethiopian Quadrants 1:40 – 4:50 Arrive at Awash Park Gate 4:50 – 6:30 Drive in park, arrive Awash Lodge 15 Awash National Park, Evening at Harar Hyena Den, Awash Lodge Walk and drive during the day 5:30 – 8:30 pm Drive, then walk to Harar Hyena Den 16 Depart Awash Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, Doho Lodge 6:45 – 9:00 Drive Awash to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 9:00 – 10:00 Game drive in Ali Deghe 10:00 –11:00 Drive to Doho Lodge, wildlife enroute 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Doho Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:30 Game Drive in Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve 6:30 – 7:30 pm Drive Ali Deghe to Doho Lodge, wildlife asleep 10:00 pm Night walk for Defassa Waterbuck Some Notable Awash & Ali Deghe Wildlife Seen: Soemmerring's Gazelle, Gerenuk, Grivet Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Beisa Oryx, Hamadryas Baboon, Olive Baboon, Bat-eared Fox, Hyena, Salt’s Dik dik, Crocs, Somali Ostrich, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Arabian Bustard 17 Depart Doho Lodge for Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 6:30 – 7:30 Bird walk around lodge 8:45 – 2:10 Drive Doho Lodge to town of Ziway, wildlife enroute 2:10 –3:10 Lunch at Bethlehem Restaurant, Ziway 3:15 – 3:30 Tree Hyrax walk and viewing in Ziway 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Ziway to Abijatta- Shalla National Park, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:00 Walk in Abijatta- Shalla National Park 6:00 – 7:00 pm Drive to Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 18 Lake Langano, Hara Lodge Walking Some Notable Lake Langano Wildlife Seen: Banded Barbet, Black-winged Lovebird, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Double-toothed Barbet, , Colobus Monkeys, Gambian Sun Squirrel, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Carmine Bee Eater, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-cheeked Turacao 19 Drive Lake Langano to Bale Mountain Lodge 8:00 –9:20 Bird walk, Bishangari at Lake Langano 9:20 – 2:30 Drive Lake Langano to Gaysay Grasslands of Bale National Park 2:30 – 2:55 Game drive Gaysay Grasslands 2:55 – 3:15 Drive to Park Headquarters, Dinsho 3:30 – 6:45 pm Game Drive through Sanetti Plateau and reach Bale Mountain Lodge 20, 21, 22, 23 Bale Mountain Lodge Forest walks, drives to Sanetti Plateau, drive to Gaysay Grassland, grassland and owl walk Some Noteable Bale Wildlife Seen: Ethiopian Wolf, Giant/Big-headed Mole Rat, Blick's Grass Rat, Bale Monkey, Starck's Hare, Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Colobus Monkey, Abyssinian Catbird, Blue-winged Goose, Lammergeier, Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted Plover, Thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, White-cheeked Turacao 24 Drive Bale Mountain Lodge to Hawasa, Halile Resort 7:35 –12:15 Depart Bale, mostly game drive 12: 15 – 1:35 Lunch Meeboon Restaurant 1:35 – 6:00 pm Complete drive to Hawassa, Halile Resort 25 Drive Hawassa to Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa. Fish Market & Senkelle Sanctuary 7:00 – 7:15 Drive Halile Resort to Fish Market 7:15 – 8:15 At Fish Market 8:15 – 9:50 Drive to Senkelle Sanctuary 9:50 – 11:15 Walk through Senkelle Sanctuary 11:15 – 4:30 pm Arrive Jupiter Hotel 6:00 – 6:15 Drive from Jupiter Hotel to Roadrunner Restaurant for farewell dinner 6:15 – 8:30 Farewell Dinner, joined by Tony Hickey, owner of Ethiopian Quadrants 8:30 – 8:50 Drive from Roadrunner Restaurant to airport Some Notable Fish Market Wildlife Seen: Marabou Storks, Black Crake, Grivits Monkey Some Notable Senkelle Sanctuary Wildlife Seen: Oribi, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Northern Carmine Bee-eater Yellow-billed Ducks, outside of Addis Ababa Me at Awash Falls
  19. I have heard about that at several lodgings. How embarrassing. But then I had a patch on my trousers fall off in the tent and I thought it was a scorpion. I screamed. Usually you will be provided with insect spray in your room. Be sure your can has an adequate supply to help your allay your wife's fears. The staff will assist you with insects, wasps, bats, or other. I've had them in to help set all of these free when my efforts proved fruitless. You will likely get mosquito nets to help put a barrier between you and the creepy crawlies at night. But if insects are a concern, do mention it upon arrival so your room can receive an extra check by the staff when they are in. The camps and lodges are very accommodating, whatever the request, and this is likely a common one. Have a great time and check those boots.
  20. Now that is a critter I would welcome!
  21. Great that you locked in your preferences!
  22. Thanks @pault and @inyathi for the Mdonya info. Top 5, now that is impressive!
  23. Nice to see marine life making the list, such as those rays!

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