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Everything posted by AmyT

  1. @janzin... where are you off to?
  2. @TulipsRight around the corner!! Can't wait to read about your trip!
  3. Deals pop up from time to time... there seemed to be a lot when I was first looking prior to the New Year. There's no rush and much to gain by letting it ride for a while. (Coming from me, the woman who booked her second trip before going on her first.) I'll be back to the Mara, but I'm also intrigued by Chyulu Hills and Samburu. Must your kids accompany you? It's ok to have one on one time with your spouse. I did back to back trips to the Galapagos in 2015 and 2016. The first trip, a last minute whim, was AMAZING. The second trip, plotted out with much forethought was AMAZING, except for the second cruise around the islands. The guide (and the yacht) was/were inferior to the first and there was nothing I could do about it; I was stuck for the week. I wanted to chew my arm off to get off that boat. I'd caution against trying to make it as perfect as this last trip.
  4. Thanks! @offshorebirder... I am just too chicken to leave my camera in the car. Wish we'd had a bushbaby around!
  5. A: Everyone! My daughter has been the punniest person around while on safari. Who knew became who gnu? Likewise, the lions laying under a bush were waiting to AMbush.... Many thanks to the SafariTalk community for endless recommendations. Our two week trip was beyond measure.
  6. @TonyQ ... Jake Grieves-Cook is the founder and chairman of Gamewatchers & Porini, and checked in on me during my visits to camps (through the camp managers) and afterward. He emailed me after learning about the issue and produced the letter of apology from the guide, saying he (Jake) was very unhappy with the behavior and the guide was remorseful. (An aside here; otherwise the guide was excellent.) Edit: Also, I told Jake G-C at the time that I would be bringing it up here; he is not being blindsided. I do, however, wonder, as @amybattmentioned, if using cell phones is more the norm than the exception, and whether it has impacted anyone else. I think some people might not really notice and other people may not mind. Edit: Knowledge is power. Better to know that the possibility exists so that you can address it early on, not after several iterations.
  7. I am so sorry, @Atravelynn... I was going back through my trip report and realized I'd not answered your question. We didn't see any rhinos in Amboseli or Selenkay. We saw some in Nairobi National Park, and then more in Ol Pejeta. Thanks for the kind words!
  8. More images recovered from the lost memory card. Banded mongoose Warthogs always headed for the hills when I brought out my camera. This one posed for me. Nile monitor. Wish he'd have been coming towards us instead of away but, still, a sighting!
  9. @Tulips & @Gilgamesh... thank you for your input. With the proliferation of social media, I expect it will get worse. I think the camp manager didn't hear the guide as he was taking his own photos and uploading them to Google Earth.
  10. Of course, I know that for a hyena to eat a newborn impala is nature. We'd seen the lion take down the Zebra foal at Rhino camp, and wanted to take that poor little buffalo calf to the lion cubs. But to be shushed by my guide infuriated me. It's rare for me to be that angry, and no doubt was fueled by the wide swing in emotions that day (lions, cheetahs and leopard!!) but I felt disrespected by the driver/guide. There was nowhere for me to go collect myself. I asked to return to camp but that didn't happen. Eventually the anger bubbled out. Both the driver and guide apologized profusely (I was by now blowing my nose), but the dots had been connected. I'd noticed earlier in the day that he usually pulled up to a viewing favoring his side. He'd taken video at the earlier hyena sighting at the expense of our angle of view, hushing my daughter from talking. I explained why I angry and accepted his apologies, but the behavior persisted. As we were leaving camp, I shared the encounter with the camp manager, Patrick. Patrick came along to the airstrip with us and at another (surprise) viewing, he shushed Katy in front of Patrick! I suspect it's a habit. His videos are certainly encouraged by Porini management as they are often featured on Facebook and their website. I wonder about the balance that a guide taking videos for promotional material versus customer experience. I'm interested in your experiences (in general, not this person particularly.) Jake G-C followed up on the incident with a letter of apology from the guide.
  11. ..Fast forward back to Pretty Girl. Now we're back on track. We came away from Pretty Girl feeling punchy/happy. What a beautiful cat! I don't recall what we were looking for, but the driver said, "Look, that impala is giving birth. Do you mind if we stay with her for a while?" Mind? No! Feet spotted Harem of impala, very curious about what was happening. The babies kept checking on the mum. The giraffes were paying attention Mum keeping an eye on us. It's starting to stir This is where my daughter's photos take over. Suddenly, we weren't the biggest threat around. Wide angle major crop here We were all aghast in the car, appalled that the calf wouldn't even get a chance to stand up. In retrospect, it was naive to think that this little charmer wouldn't be paying attention. So cute! Not so cute here We all groaned and I started protesting about the unfairness of it all, when the driver/guide shushed me. He was taking video on his cell phone.
  12. I need to step back in time to earlier that morning. I'd noticed a 3 hour gap in my photo time stamps and puzzled over it briefly. I then asked my daughter for her memory cards, because the next installment planned included photos that she took on her camera. Surprise, surprise... my three hours of photos turned up! So rewind back to the hyenas in post 146. NEXT we visited the Oldikidiki pride to see what they were up to, just for @Gilgameshand his wife.
  13. Out again in the afternoon, we pulled up to see Pretty Girl amongst a wide circle of admirers. Bored by the paparazzi, she meandered around, showing off her beautiful coat. Reminding us of our cats at home... Practically begging my daughter for a belly rub. Thinking about @pault's trip report and wishing I was Bibi with her "genet."
  14. Hyena had brought down a gazelle... many were vying for scraps but one was the clear victor. We spent quite a lot of time looking for leopard after this... beating the bushes. We stopped in the vicinity after a while to have some breakfast. Around noon, we found what (who) we were looking for. Meet Pretty Girl Backing up 5 minutes... Driver: "Can you see her? She's right there." Me: "No." Driver: "Now?" Me: "No." <Repeat>, then guns the engine and drives right up next to the tree. D: "Can you see her now?" Oh yes! I held my arm out. If it had been twice as long, I could have touched her. Pretty Girl was settled in for a snooze, so we eventually backed out, and spotted this. Same location, maybe 100 feet away. So @Gilgamesh, I am pretty confident you will be successful with cats. Mum was nearby, hunting. You can find cubs under every bush. Almost.
  15. @Gilgamesh ... I am confident you will see that and more!! I can't wait to read your trip report!
  16. Not 10 minutes later, we were pulling up to visit Musiara and her one remaining cheetah cub. As you may recall, Musiara's other cubs were killed by lions in early June in the Maasai Mara. According to my guide, she retreated to Olare Motorogi Conservancy after that. There's something to be said for visiting conservancies that have more than a couple of camps... it was much easier to find the cats than at Porini Cheetah.
  17. Friday dawned, our second to last full day on safari. We were up and out by six, and reached the honeymooning couple in minutes. It was still really dark, so continued on to Naibor's den for her cubs. Naibor means white and is an experienced mother. An older daughter is on hand to be "auntie" with the cubs when Naibor is out hunting. These photos were taken at 6:15 and I don't have the skill to take photos in dim light. Pardon the eye shine when my flash went off! The cub at the far right appears to be weeks younger. We returned to the honeymooning lions. Lolparpit was born in 2005 so has been in the game a long time. "Lolparpit means 'big hair'. He is one of two dominant males in the Olare Orok Conservancy. Together with Olbarnoti he moves between the Moniko and Enkoyonai Prides to mate with the females. He has a bigger mane than Olbarnoti, and also has a blacker nose." Quote from Mara Predator Project, ca 2012. "Nariku Inkgera is an older female from the Ngoyonai Pride. Her name means 'babysitter'. She has a broad head and a scarred face, and also has several top incisors missing." We were not in a good position for a photo of Nariku in the morning. We returned to Naibor, born 2006. "Naibor means 'white' in Maa. She has a pale coat that makes her identifiable next to her pridemates. She has a small face and a spotted nose, and also has a characteristic tear in her left ear." It was really muddy, and some vehicles were slipping on the hills. My driver offered to take this photo:
  18. We settled in for our sundowners, watching the cubs play and then returning their mamas. That cued our return back to camp. On the way, we "bumped into" another pair of honeymooning lions, Lolparpit and Nariku Inkgera. They hung out within sight of the camp and we saw them frequently during our stay there. I lightened this photo so you could see the location of the camp. The tents are right along the tree line. The original photo was quite dark and since I was using my phone, the quality isn't the greatest. So ends our first night at Lion Camp.
  19. After just a few minutes (there was another car waiting and we didn't want to stress the cubs) we headed back down the hill to where another pride of lions were lounging around. I'm shocked at myself that I never bothered taking a photo of the lionesses farther up the hill, because I was completely captivated by the cubs playing. The sky in the distance really was this dark. And then there were four... Warned you they would be repetitious! But babies are my favorite. And for those of you who love them too, here's a short video. Squeeee!! IMG_6257.MOV
  20. We eventually made it to Porini Lion camp by 1 p.m. We had lunch and a siesta, and then it was time for our first game drive. The skies were ominous (we don't often see clouds in Southern California.) We were taken to visit the Oldikidiki pride. If I read my notes correctly, there are 11 larger cubs with 4 adult females and 2 adult males who are granddaughters of Naibor. Orbanoti and Lolpapit are the pride lions, along with the older females Naiborr and Nariku Inkgera. It seems to be a splinter group from Enkoyonai Pride, as Naibor and Nariku Inkgera were listed as part of that pride in 2012. (who had that cheat sheet?) Hope I don't bore you with repetitious lion pictures... The grass was long... It started to pour rain! We were thrilled... rain was a lovely mood setter for our first afternoon in Olare Motorogi Conservancy. The lions and cubs kept trying to get out of the rain. 7 lions in this photo This hare didn't seem to be too happy about the rain either. Hunkered down and didn't hop away. Hartebeest ? (@Pault?) with baby Our guides took us to a high hill, driving wayyyyy up the hill! There was a lion with 3 cubs, just 6 weeks old. They hadn't yet been introduced to the pride. Mum through the bushes. The guide made a mama call, and this cub toddled out to see who was there.
  21. @Tulips... There's only so much time on holiday. Sounds like you will have a fabulous trip!!
  22. Thanks for reading, @Tulips ! Wish I was going with you! Where are you going? Which camps/lodges?
  23. Next up was a visit to the hippo pool in Naboisho conservancy. We were able to get much closer than we were in the Mara, which isn't necessarily a great thing if you're with teenagers. This fellow kept a close eye on us. Nile crocodile
  24. After breakfast, we said our goodbyes and headed out for a rambling game drive through the conservancies... Ol Kinyei through Naboisho to Olare Motorogi, for our next camp, Porini Lion. We stopped to visit some sated cheetahs, whom we had seen in roughly the same place, earlier in the morning. We were finally able to observe banded mongoose that weren't running away! There's quite a large curiosity of mongooses very close to camp (cropped). and farther afield, an agama who modeled for us. Around 11 a.m., and within sight of the Ol Seki Mara camp (Hemingways) , we found some honeymooning lions. Looks like a teenager trying to grow a mustache. And then "hey, it's been fifteen minutes, it's time for some lion lovin'." <CENSORED> and then two minutes later... IMG_6247.MOV The laugh at the end was from my daughter.
  25. I quickly learned to be comforted by the sounds of lions calling in the night, but the next morning, they were still calling past dawn. (I don't recall why we were still in camp at dawn, but most likely because we were leaving for our drive to Olare Motorogi later in the morning. I was traveling with teenagers, after all.) Anyway, when 6 a.m. came and went and the lions were still calling close to camp, I headed outside in my flip flops and iPhone to have a look around. I met up with Nirmalya and Jui who had the same idea. We got into a car and headed towards the lion calls. Less than a kilometer from camp, we found a mother and her 3 year old daughter relaxing, still calling. We hurried back to camp, texting my daughter to grab our friends and my camera and to meet us at the edge of camp. In 10 minutes, we were back with the lions watching a morning reunion. Sero, waiting daughter 1 returns Sero Clumsy framing, but I really enjoyed this sequence Just like our cats at home Daughter 2 returns to reunite with mum and sister Settling in for a snooze I asked Nirmalya to give me the back story on Sero, as it was remarkable and I also forgot to write any of the details down. "Sero was a part of the Enesikiria pride of lions in the Naboisho conservancy neighbouring Ol Kinyei, that was subjected to a pride takeover attempt a couple of years ago. The pride had a number of cubs about a year old then, who would certainly have been killed by the nomadic males attempting the takeover. Most lionesses do try to protect their cubs but not beyond a point and then acquiesce to the infanticide that follows. Not Sero. She escaped with five male and two female cubs, to the Ol Kinyei conservancy, where she was able to raise them in relative peace. She must have had a hard time feeding eight mouths but did a splendid job and last year the brothers and sisters separated into two groups while Sero alternated between the two. The five brothers left the conservancy towards the end of 2016 to strike out on their own. The last we heard they were in the Lemek conservancy, north of Olare Motorogi where the Porini Lion Camp is located. "Sero stayed on with her two daughters and did not attempt to return to her original pride. The three lionesses have been often seen with the Fig Tree nomads from the main reserve and last month were seen mating with them. We’re hoping that they will be the nucleus of a new pride and that we will have a set of cubs in September or October."

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