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Everything posted by janzin

  1. Having several African safaris under our belt--South Africa twice, Tanzania, Botswana--and having read so many wonderful Kenya trip reports on SafariTalk, Kenya seemed the logical destination for our next safari. But where to go? I knew that the Mara had to be included. Should we add other areas and parks? Usually for a first trip to a country we like to get an overview and see as much as possible of different habitats but in the end, mainly due to time and budget constraints, we decided to concentrate on the Masai Mara--and do it at the optimal time to witness the "Great Migration" and the famed river crossings. The only other thing I was certain of was that we wanted to stay primarily in the conservancies, so that we would have less crowds and the ability to off-road. So, with the expert guidance of our safari planner, Bill Given at The Wild Source, we decided on the following itinerary, commencing mid-September 2016. 1 night Eka Hotel, Nairobi 3 nights Porini Lion Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy 4 nights Encounter Mara Camp, Naboisho Conservancy 4 nights Wild Source's private mobile camp, Enaidura, in the Mara triangle 1 Night Ololo Lodge, Nairobi The Wild Source has a new collaborative model with two local Masai guides, who have co-ownership in the Enaidura operation: Johnson Ping’ua Nkukuu (Ping) and Paul Kirui. They also have arranged with some camps to allow these guides (who are very well respected across Kenya) to bring clients to those camps in Wild Sources' specially configured safari vehicle. So this unique arrangement enabled us to have our own vehicle with well-known and highly regarded Ping as our private guide while we were at Encounter Mara and Enaidura Camps. At Porini Lion, we were to be in a shared vehicle (or so we thought...) As departure approached I started to get a little apprehensive--were we making a mistake staying in just one location--the Mara--for our whole trip? As birders, I knew we were unlikely to add many "lifers" in this area, since being contiguous with the Serengeti, where we'd been in Tanzania, there would be few birds that were unique or new. Would there be enough photographic opportunities?? Would we drive endlessly through featureless savanna without seeing much of anything?? Would we be bored with so many nights in one area...were the three camps different enough? Well...as those of you who have been to the Mara must know, there was no need to worry. I can honestly say that we have not been anywhere else on safari where there was never a dull moment--never a lull--always something to see just around the corner! And each camp was unique with its own attractions. And we learned a few things: the Mara is THE place for cats--we saw 7 unique leopards, countless lions, 12 different cheetahs, and 2 servals. And we even picked up 152 birds, with 15 of them lifers--more than I expected! Not to mention the endless plains of wildebeest, zebra, and all the other game species. And one other thing I learned--although I am glad that we saw a few river crossings--I don't ever have to, or want to, do that again. More on that later. So enough preamble, I'm sure you want to get to the meat of it--and some photos! A bit later...
  2. wow, incredible leopard sighting--and on your first drive! How lucky can you get! We have that same JNB-->Lusaka-->Jeki connection, over a three hour wait. Wish I'd known about the possibility of a charter flight! Our agent didn't mention it and it never occurred to me that it was a possibility. But too late now, oh well. Had to look up that quote, but once I saw the source I remembered I won't say, since once again I cheated! looking forward to more...can't wait to find out if you saw that cheetah! I've read that it was sighted a few times...
  3. Well this report is getting "Dumb and Dumber" Love the movie quote idea, but no one else is playing! (and you never gave the answer to the previous installation...) That bike ride looks like a fantastic idea! A definite possibility for a future trip. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate for your whale watching though.
  4. no, that's too high-energy for us LOL! Class IV or V I think! No thanks!
  5. Its not only in Africa...I've actually never had a problem in Africa but once in the Amazon there was a large tarantula in our shower. I didn't take a shower the entire time we were there! (Luckily only about three days...)
  6. I also had to look up that quote...found it but I won't say either because I cheated. And I never saw that movie! Tick tock...waiting for Lower Zambezi
  7. haha Devil's Pool seems less scary than capsizing and being eaten by a hippo or croc But canoeing may be a spur of the moment decision too!
  8. 12 more sleeps to Zambia...just booked some activities at Victoria Falls. Call me crazy (and I think I must be) but I booked the Livingstone Island/Devil's Pool trip ...there's 100% chance that DH won't do the swim (given that he can't really swim) and I'm sort of 50/50 lol. But I read that its worth it even if you don't do the swim, so we'll see. I booked early morning for the rainbows. I might do it...but I won't jump in! You only live once.... Also booked a sunset small boat cruise for our last night (ridiculous because we'll have plenty of cruising for "free" in Lower Zambezi, but...its our last night ) And made dinner reservations at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. And re-confirmed our birding tour with Charles Brightman who was really hard to reach and I was getting concerned but the very helpful folks at http://www.victoriafalls-guide.net/ phoned him for me and its all set. On top of that I am mostly packed, so its time to start getting antsy!
  9. Fantastic stuff @Atravelynn ! Love the bats, the snakes and especially the bears...that's something high up on my list. And sure, I'd go see the migrating monarchs!
  10. oh I'm really looking forward to this as we leave for Lower Zambezi just two weeks from today, and there really aren't many reports here for that park. Not to rush you or anything, but I do hope you get up to it before I leave And I must of course apologize for our NYC "Taxi Driver" (s) but really, they are not all like that!! (nor like Robert DeNiro in the film you reference
  11. This is the Zambia trip...I guess its rolled off this page at this point Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, Victoria Falls...
  12. I'm down to two weeks from today Packing is commencing (photo gear is pretty much already packed.) Although I haven't dared to weigh it yet...
  13. Wildlife photographer and safari guide Andy Biggs has been posting some short videos on safari photography on his Facebook page--shot while he's driving around the Masai Mara on one of his tours. They are pretty basic, but there are some interesting observations and tips. There are five of them so far and he seems to post at least one a day. They are also available on Vimeo. Photography Creativity and Safari Thoughts: https://vimeo.com/user517761/videos
  14. Did we stall? How about a tanager to keep it going. The South American tanagers are some of the most colorful, beautiful birds in the Americas. And found only in the Americas! This one is less gaudy than some (really!) but one of my favorites.
  15. Just to mention that Nikon does have its own program, Nikon NX-D, and it is free. It will give you most of the basic editing functions and is excellent for RAW conversion. So if shooting Nikon its a good place to start if you want a free program. I personally use a freeware program called Picture Window Pro (it used to be paid but recently was made free.) I love it and have used it for many years but its very different than most in terms of concept, and while quite powerful, not necessarily something I'd recommend to a beginner.
  16. Wow, just catching up with this report again...what an incredible Mara experience, and fantastic photography! Especially love the giraffes before the storm, the cheetah coalition, the sunset silhouettes, the lion cubs (and that panning shot is great--something I've never been able to do successfully--not for lack of trying!) And Aardvark!! I'm just trying to forget about the Koriplane incident though--as we are off to several safari flights in a few weeks I didn't see that, I didn't see that, I didn't see that.... So thankful that it ended well for the plane (if not for the bird
  17. To drape over it, or, depending how bad the dust is, completely wrap it. It should be large enough to completely cover the camera and lens. In India it was so dusty that we had our guide stop at a local market to buy us the cheapest cloth he could find--it cost us $3 for enough to cover two cameras with big lenses. And I still had to send my lens out for cleaning when we got home It probably won't be quite as bad in Tanzania, but it really helps.
  18. This isn't helping
  19. Technically it would serve the same purpose, but I think it will be awkward. I had bought that for rain use awhile ago (its the Op-tech Rain Shield) so I know exactly what you're talking about. I think it will just frustrate you and you'll end up taking it off--its hard to get to the controls, etc. Besides once it gets dusty you won't be able to see through it clearly! I do think you'd be better off with a cloth. You could take an old pillowcase and cut it open, or just buy a couple of yards of cheap thin cotton.
  20. Thank you @Whyone? and @DjungelI have just decided against doing the canoe trip in Lower Zambezi when we are there in a few weeks!
  21. I've never had them weigh my hand luggage and did that flight JNB- Maun and several other SAA flights as well within South Africa. My camera bag is also always well overweight. But you never know and I'm always anxious about it! I'm flying with them in a few weeks to Lusaka, and fingers crossed there will be no problems.
  22. Sad to read those tributes, but moving, she lived a long and natural life thankfully!
  23. Thanks @michael-ibk! I do have to say that I think tropical America has, on the whole, much more colorful birds than Africa. (Of course places like Australia do too...) Just think of all the tanagers, hummingbirds, toucans, trogons, etc. I was looking through my photos deciding which to post here and I got an incredible yearning to return to Ecuador or Colombia! I need a tanager/hummingbird fix!
  24. Getting away from Hummingbirds for a moment, here's another beautiful genus from the Americas...the Tody. This is the Cuban Today, but there are Tody's in Jamaica and Puerto Rico as well. I think the Cuban is the prettiest though! These guys are super cute...very small...not much larger than some hummingbirds.

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