Kitsafari

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Kitsafari last won the day on October 18 2017

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About Kitsafari

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  1. we were back with the Marsh pride again. they looked bloated - another good hunt over the night. they were walking to the edge of a hill, attracting attention from jackals, gazelles and an elephant as they marched in a single file, regal and confident of themselves as uninvincible at the top of the food chain. then it was time to turn back for the last time to Serian Main camp. We had a wonderful stay and a fabulous time with Roisin and her staff, as well as the other guests in the camp (there was a family of three Americans and after they had left, the two German gentlemen were the only other guests). Mara North was as lovely as I had remembered. Definitely a place to return to when I'm in need of an overload of the big cats and animals.
  2. It was our last morning drive in MNC. A Kicheche vehicle was coming into camp to pick us up at 11am so we still have time to go exploring the beautiful conservancy. I still think MNC is more beautiful in terms of landscape than Olare Motorogi where we would be heading next. The vast 30,000 ha conservancy has such a variety of landscape and scenery. I've heard about how crowded it can get, given that there are nine camps in the conservancy. A ratio of one bed to 350 acres is applied and in a conservancy as vast as MNC, I honest didn't feel our sightings felt crowded. Once again, a cloudy morning and the sun was trying to break through some grey clouds on the horizon. Two very young male lions greet us. these were two of the three sub adult male lions who are siblings to the Serian-C&P females. They had gone into the Mara Triangle but it didn;t look like it worked out for them, and two were back, staying quiet and together. we then headed out to see if the hyena cubs were up and active, but the cold morning air kept some of the cubs in the den.
  3. And then, it was downhill from then on. aside from birds, Paradise Plains looked empty of game. the grasses were high - about a metre high - so only elephants and giraffes could be seen. There was not even any grazers - no antelopes, no buffalos, no zebras - it was as if the animals had followed the wildebeests out of the reserve. James said once the wildebeest were gone, the reserve was usually quiet. It was not that bad the last time I was here, but I could see the emptiness on the plains. Not much of a paradise but I supposed the rains had dispersed the animals widely and the tall grasses were no help at all. James drove a long long way to bring us to the crossing at Talek River but the river was roaring and churning and there was not a chance of trying to cross over. He wanted to show us to ensure we would understand why we could not see the musketeers. and that put an end to my wish to see the super five. Not much of note to say except that as we were returning to Musiara gate, we took the eastern road closest to the conservancies and there the animals had congregated and had shorn the area to short grasses. It was a very long drive and we came back rather deflated. But we did see the 5 lions, and we did see a few new birds, among which - the yellow-throated longclaw, a first for me and a nice foil to the rosy throated longclaw. and a frisky stallion trying to make babies
  4. James mentioned that we had crossed back into Mara North, which confused me a little but it appeared we were in the far south-western side of MNC that edged into the reserve. and it dawned on me how close the reserve was to the conservancy and how the Leopard Gorge Marsh pride-breakaway group could cross the border so easily. A buffalo had been killed by lions and we were on our way to the sighting. oddly, it wasn't crowded at all and i think there was only a handful of vehicles there. A young male lion was guarding the kill jealously against a horde of vultures and hyenas keeping an eye out for a chance to nip at the dead buffalo. He looked far ahead, and decided he needed shade and a rest. The minute he walked off, the scavengers dived in, but looking up every few seconds to watch for the lion. what was exciting about the lion is that he is one of 6 young males from the Marsh pride. If they all survive, they'll be a huge coalition and a super force to reckon with in a year or two. I think the Mara will be have a very interesting time in lion dynamics for the next few years to come. There were only 5 at the scene; it wasn't clear where the sixth was. It was also fascinating to see how the male lions took turns to guard the buffalo. as the first lion headed for the shade, a second male stood up and walked to the carcass. after a short time, he too returned to the shade and a third lion took up duty to protect the carcass. The other four resting in the shade.
  5. And we were in. We were heading to the Musiara Swamps where James thought there would be some birds. Some of the roads were in bad shape given the rains and soft soil. In particular, the stretch of roads to the Governor's group of camps and along those camps were in pretty bad shape scarring the roads which were apparently just recently graded. I had hoped to see the main Marsh pride, remembering that on my last trip, the first main thing we came across was the pride with cubs feasting on a kill. This time, it was mainly in the tree line that we saw more animals - mainly elephants - lots of them with baboons, bandied mongoose. hippos were enjoying the more water in the river.
  6. @amybatt you remembered well but it was stoic Jane who saw and photographed that python and didn't freak out. Me - I would have refused to sleep in that tent! or at least locked every zipper opening just in case it tried to squeeze its way through. Thanks all for the kind comments. We wanted to spend a full day out in the bush, with the plan to go deep into the national reserve to search for the musketeers. The last we had heard was Bettel's last trip that they were in the Mara Triangle. But it appeared that they had crossed the Talek River and were now closer to the border with Tanzania - that's far south! However there was a massive barrier. SInce the first day we arrived, the skies had been pouring buckets of rain every evening and night. The paths were so wet, hubby and I would always arrive for dinner in rubber boots (we did that in Kicheche as well - it was a very practical thing to provide in Serian's room, and indeed in Kicheche's room as well, since we would then keep our shoes dry). The rains were supposed to be short and quick but these were unseasonally and extremely wet. it had followed an unseasonal drought that had left the Masai people's cattle looking thin. so the rains were a welcome relief, and kept the grasses green, and in the reserve unfortunately, high. James had warned us repeatedly that we could not cross the Talek river as it was swollen with water and currents were very strong, but I remembered my last fruitful stay into the reserve also in the same month of that year, so I was still keen to venture into the reserve. With his warning ringing in our ears, we were going to spend the day in the reserve. As it would be a long drive, we agreed to leave at 7.30am after breakfast. Roisin informed us that they were going to have breakfast in the bush at 10, and said we should join the breakfast and get into the reserve thereafter. It sounded a pleasant option. so we packed only lunch along Early morning and a yellow billed stork perched high in the tree on the opposite bank of our tent. thereafter it was a very quiet affair before, during and after breakfast in the bush, with some birds and of course, another dik dik in attendance. and then we were on our way to the reserve. It took about 45mins to an hour of a slow drive to Musiara Gate where James would do the documents (such as showing proof of payment; the park fees were part of our package to stay in Serian) to enter in the reserve. The surroundings around the route to the gate looked changed. It was around this area that the Masai people had moved to when the private conservancies were created. This time, there were newer and shinier and nicer looking homes, there were more cattle roaming and grazing in the area. We passed by a town which supplied groceries and necessities to the various camps in the greater Masai Mara. I forgot to check the name of the town but James pointed out the new school and medical clinic that were funded with income from eco-tourism in the various conservancies. we reached the familiar Musiara gate. There was a pen next to the gate and there was a lot cattle in there, seized by the rangers for illegally encroaching into the reserve land. there are no fences between the national reserve and the conservancy but there are concrete markers which we saw a few of. The new rangers have become tougher on illegal encroaching, and that includes safari vehicles from the various conservancies. This has brought to a complete halt to past practices where safari vehicles could cross into the reserve for short periods of time without paying any park fees. If caught, the vehicles are fined US$160 - i hope i got that figure right. for the cattle, the owners would have to stump up a big sum, but James said the sale of one cattle would easily cover that fine. map of the Masai Mara National Reserve - courtesy of Musiara Gate's wall. cattle waiting to be freed
  7. I last saw your numbers on page 3 but you are now on page 7! but i think i just fell in love - with the blue bellied roller. and now you've reached a 100 with the beautiful little bee-eater. congrats!
  8. just us and another Serian vehicle carrying two very nice gentlemen from Germany hung around, admiring the lions in the setting sun rays and a cloudy sunset. we decided to check on the hyena den. We had been there twice before but saw mainly 2-3 adults and subadults with little activity. all the cubs were hiding. this time though, the cubs were out sleeping just outside the den. a tiny tot popped in and out of the den. a young sub-adult returned to the den, and the cubs were suddenly full of energy and started to play. It was a great entertaining time, just watching these cubs play. The other Serian vehicle didn't stay long so they missed the fun, but they did catch a large group of hyenas fighting over an impala kill. Hyenas have had such a bad rap for being a scavenger and stealing other predator's kills, but they are very well capable of hunting themselves. and they are IMO very adorable, intelligent, unique and individual creatures. I love how they canter and trot with the gait their bodies were built for. it was a bewitching hour just watching how relaxed they were. being such curious animals, the young ones just couldn't resist checking the tyres to see if they were good to eat. (filmed with my android mobile) the day was almost over and we had to head out to camp. En route, Serian's young manager Angus (who happened to be Emily's brother, @SafariChick -i'm sure you recall Emily who picked the flowers for our valentine's bouquets in Nkorombo!) called in on the shy male leopard. he was sitting on a mound but the light was fading and I cranked up the ISO or lighting on my bridge and obtained not so great pics of him, but nevertheless better than none, I say. When we were at Kicheche, we asked our guide also called James to check if this male was Olare, Fig's son who went independent and who had relocated to MNC. He took a close look and decided it wasn't Olare.
  9. a call came in from the other Serian vehicle - Lions trying to hunt buffaloes. well, we didn't need another invite. but we were quite a distance away so when we arrived, it was the aftermath of the four lionesses from the Serian-C&P pride trying to divide the dagga boys. The three lionesses had arrived to team up with the mother of the days-old cubs, which were hiding in the den which was so very very close by. there wasn't much action after we arrived; only the annoyed buffaloes pushing the lionesses back and the lionesses sitting back, relaxed and thinking of a late supper that night perhaps.
  10. Another rather birdie post - On the way out from Serian, another very relaxed dik dik couple posed for us, as did an African fish eagle. we returned to where we last saw the male leopard, and so did a few vehicles circling around a few bushes and his favourite trees. We decided to move a little further to see what we could find - a couple of waterbucks (the first for this trip!) practising their fighting skills, quite a large troop of olive baboons, a handful of birds in the skies and on trees, and an LBR harassing a tawny eagle. while the big cats are asleep, the smaller but no less iconic creatures provide good entertainment.
  11. Thanks @TonyQ Herman had a set of photos of the Nest from his previous trip so I can share them here. The treehouse would be a great lunch stop should guests want to do a walking safari on this side of the river as I don't think there are any roads. But since there has been little traffic of humans or vehicles, the animals are less habituated and hence more shy. But could be great for birds....just saying ..... oops forgot to add this clearer pic of the bushbuck.
  12. @michael-ibk I'm not sure what those growths are. they seem equal in size and location on the impala's front legs, so I would hesitate to speculate they are tumour growths. I'd think they are probably genetic and the impala looked healthy and otherwise normal so they weren't impeding its survival. thanks to some bad influence in Kafue!
  13. More birds at the tent - I sat on the wide deck as I had seen and heard plenty of birds around the tent. IN fact, just after showering, I saw the gorgeous AFrian paradise flycatcher resting on a branch just outside the bathroom. I crept out slowly but I ran the last few steps into the tent to get my camera and as I came out, it had flown away. at the corner of my eye, I saw a green vine dropped to the deck. But I thought it strange that one end was sticking straight up. to my horror, it was a snake. I was about to drop everythign and run off, but I thought damn it, i've got to get at least one photo first. so i did, and then yelled for my hubby shouting there was snake, leaving my shoes and camera bag on the deck.In the end, it was a grass snake, supposedly harmless. But i'm terrified of snakes and choose to keep a respective distance from them. Oh and there was a male bushbuck fighting some branches on the opposite bank too. Yes, you do get all manners of wildlife at Serian.
  14. we passed by the den housing the days-old lion cubs again, and a lioness was lounging flat under a tree but James reckoned this was not the same lioness we saw earlier in the morning. It looked like the Serian-C&P pride was making its way to visit the mother lioness. we left her alone and found a sounder of warthogs with loads of babies, a collared dove, some Masai ostriches with the males showing off their pinky necks and legs and a gymnogene the baby warthog showing off his hairy "tusks" to scare off the predators. But it doesn't work as we soon find out in OMC. a call came in as we got close to camp - the shy male leopard has been found! we hottailed to the area, manouvering some ponds and streams that had sprung up following nights of rains. as we reached closer, I could see the cat getting up to dash off and before he vanished into the bushes where we couldn't follow, I fired a couple of quick shots, which of course turned out pretty bad. but to prove we did see a leopard, here they are:
  15. @janzin perhaps this could cinch the deal? a very fancy attached toilet to my tent - the last one closest to the Ngare bridge. as @SafariChick may recall, that was also my tent when we stayed there 3 years ago. I remember vividly on the day that I was unwell, I had laid on the cool concrete floor, and Nancy aka @graceland and Jane were so concerned about me that they came to see me. this trip was tinged with a lot of melancholy as I retraced the steps and places that we three had fun visiting. She's always on my mind. But here is the lovely attached toilet with a view to tempt you, Janzin:

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