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Found 12 results

  1. There was a suggestion to have a topic with updates on Mara cheetahs. I think it is a great idea as there are a lot of places where updates are posted (or maybe somebody just recently traveled and knows first hand information) so it will be nice to have them in one topic. At least I love to know who to look for on safaris I will start with quite sad news. It was posted on Olare Motorogi Conservancy page: https://www.facebook.com/Olare-Motorogi-Conservancy-512622932155217/timeline/
  2. I finished Part 2 of my October 2015 Trip Report a little sooner than expected, mainly because I had previously processed more images that I remembered. So join me for cats, cats and more cats… The TR continues here
  3. The Lipault Ladies go to the Mara It was meant to be my second solo trip to Africa. Singapore had a short working week in February and I wanted to make use of it to have a longer trip. But feb is packed end to end with projects for my husband so that meant I would go alone again. As I narrowed my short list to kenya (thanks to much advice and input by the ST-ers in this thread: http://safaritalk.net/topic/13027-february-where-to-go-kenyazambia-safrica/ ), @@SafariChick jumped on board. I had originally wanted to see wild dogs in Laikipia but in the end, Laikipia didn't work out so we were happy to settle for a Masai Mara-focused trip that minimized travel to land transits between neighboring areas, and sealed a what turned out to be 9-night trip. The schedule was finalized - Feb 8 - Emakoko in Nairobi National Park for @kitsafari Feb 9 - meet @@SafariChick at Eka Hotel, Nairobi Feb 10-13 Serian Mara camp, Mara North conservancy Feb 13-16 Serian Nkorombo mobile camp, Masai Mara Reseve Feb 16-18 Mara Plains, Olare Motorogi conservancy Feb 19 - Emakoko for @@SafariChick Once we had the schedule pinned up, @@graceland jumped in, eager to relive her happy memories at Serian in Mara. So it became a threesome and it worked out marvellously as with the power of three we could command a PV at MP. Serian provides PV and guide for each tent, one of 2 big draws in clinching the deal, the other being a stay 6 and pay 4 deal. How we ended up being the Lipault ladies is something of a tale that @@graceland has to tell since she was the catalyst!
  4. Before 2013 I had been a volunteer with Biosphere Expeditions (BE) 6 previous times, each time in Namibia but in varying locations (Khomas Hochland, Caprivi and Omaheke) as the scientists whose work we were supporting came and went. The model used by BE is to fund a scientific study both by financing infra-structure, scientific equipment, manpower and sometimes the scientists themselves. The money for these activities comes from the volunteers who pay both for their accommodation and a contribution to the research fund as well as offering their time to collect data. This means that BE's projects are at the upper end of the price range for conservation holidays, but they are of high quality. The typical project is a scientist collecting data in the field for a Masters or PhD or involved in a long or short term study related to conservation which might otherwise have difficulty getting funded due to being in the early part of their career. Projects are selected which fit BE's pattern: Quality scientific data should be collectable by interested volunteers with a modicum of training and with activities capable of being divided up so that small groups of volunteers can have both morning and afternoon activities each day over a 12 day period. Results must be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. BE currently has expeditions to Amazonia (cats, primates), Arabia (oryx, wildcat), Australia (marsupials), Azores, (whales, dolphins, turtles), Kyrgyzstan (snow leopard), Malaysia (coral reef, sharks, dolphins), Maldives (coral reef, whale sharks), Musandam (coral reef), Namibia (leopard, elephant, cheetah), Scotland (whales, dolphins, basking sharks), Slovakia (wolf, lynx, wildcat) BE describes its Namibian expedition as a game of cats and elephants but its more formal title is a working holiday volunteering with leopards, elephants and cheetahs in Namibia, Africa. Before I went on my first Namibia expedition I searched for reports from people who had already taken part and found one by a BBC Radio 4 travel reporter. He recommended the "holiday" to anyone who wanted to work on a conservation related project gathering scientific data but to forget the idea of ever seeing the target species in the flesh. You do see their presence in the form of their tracks, their scat and sometimes the remains of their meals and it is your job to record this, take samples for genetic analysis in the case of scat and to count their potential prey. These data can give realistic information about predator densities and what they are eating as well as sometimes genetic information of individuals. This first expedition in 2007 was on a former cattle ranch converted to game farm called Okomitundu where the main study animals were cheetahs and leopards (we saw none and the collared cheetahs were out of telemetry range). The cheetah study had moved around several locations under the auspices of Okatumba Wildlife Research, and contributed to the 2007 Namibian cheetah status report for the Cat Specialist Group of the IUCN authored by Laurie Marker et al. After that the study site moved to the communal conservancies in eastern Caprivi (sorry, the Zambezi Region) for two years before returning to a game farm, Ongos, near Windhoek which I wrote about in 2010 and 2011. That farm was sold for redevelopment so the study moved yet again to the present site in 2012.
  5. It was my third trip to Kenya, a long time after my two previous visits of 1989 and 1994. Though it’s probably one of the most, if not the most interesting country in Africa thanks to its great diversity of natural beauties and wildlife species, it took me some years to decide to come back again. We arrived in Nairobi with Kenya Airways at about 5 a.m. I did not sleep at all during the flight. Our driver, George, was waiting for us. We immediatly departed for Samburu. We arrived at Serena lodge after six hours drive, completely exhausted but just in time for a well-timed shower before having lunch. Following the post-election violence of January and February in Nairobi and in the western part of the country, the tourism industry had recorded numerous cancellations and as a consequence, the occupancy rate of the lodge was around 25 to 30 %. The situation was certainly similar in the other lodges. The positive side of it, at least for us, was that, apart from one or two occasions, we were very few vehicles on a sighting. After a good nap, we’re in for our first game drive. Directly, we found four cheetahs (a female and its offspring) relaxing after a good meal. We could not see the carcass of their prey but the presence of two tawny eagles proved sufficiently that it was there somewhere. The time to do a little tour to search the carcass, there were already twelve vehicles on the sighting. So, we went elsewhere. On the river bank, we saw three lionesses. Suddenly, two of them ran away and a trumpeting elephant appeared. The third lioness remained unimpressionable. The elephant went to quench its thirst. This being done, it went by the way that it came, trying to scare the stoic lioness. Wasted effort, the lioness eyed it from head to foot contemptuously and haughtily ignored it. Spited, the elephant went its way, eye followed by the two other lionesses, remained cautiously away.
  6. http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/11/the-woman-who-tweets-cheetahs/413593/ ~ This article from The Atlantic describes the work of Anne Hilborn with the Serengeti Cheetah Project. She regularly live-tweets her observations in Serengeti, telling of the travails of cheetahs living there. A field ecologist, Ms. Hilborn describes in considerable detail cheetah hunting. Her passion for her subject energizes her writing.
  7. Here is a video my partner took in June, when the Oloololo boys were in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. Sadly one of them has recently succumbed to cat flu.
  8. After some hesitations, I decided to post this topic in the historic trip reports, mainly because the actual Selinda, at least with regard to the philosophy of the owners, the lodging and the natural surroundings, is quite different from the one that I knew. So, it will probably not give any relevant information to those who want to go there now ? Besides, as a general rule, I never take information, given in trip reports, for gospel truth, it only has, for me, a good indicative value. For example, I went to Selinda in May 2004 and the sightings were great. In 2005, I came back at the same period of the year, as it was May, and it was totally different with mediocre sightings. It’s interesting to see how this segment of the eco-tourism industry underwent a fast evolution, mainly under the pressure of the tour operators and travel agents whose clients’ main concern was and always is Security. I had the privilege to go 9 times to Selinda during different periods (May, July, September & November). The best years were the first four (1998 to 2001). If you ask me if I feel a great nostalgia for this period and this place, my answer will be a massive yes. Brian Graham’s Selinda still remains far above any other, even great, place I’ve been to in Africa. Yet, I do have similar feelings for Barranco, Alto in the Pantanal : http://safaritalk.net/topic/13219-barranco-alto-and-pantanal-a-yearly-appointment/ To build this topic, I scanned more than 500 slides, of the 7 first trips, that I am now processing. I had to call 8 to 17 years souvenirs to mind So, if someone feels the need to add information or to correct something that might be wrong, please do not hesitate to invite yourself to this topic. I particularly think of you, Geoff, you that have been there several times during about the same period. The lease of the Selinda concession was conceded to Linyanti Explorations in 1995. Two camps were built, Selinda and Zibalianja as well as two fly-camps, Mokoba and Tshwene, for their walking activities. Linyanti Explorations was created in 1976 by one of the pioneers of the safari industry in Botswana, Brian Graham, followed close behind by the opening of Chobe Chilwero. He sold Chilwero in 1999 and his company in 2005 to the Joubert, associated as it was to some other investors. Brian Graham had always practised a policy based on a deep respect of environment ; traditional tented camps with a capacity limited to 12 persons, comfortable but without useless sumptuousness and perfectly integrated into the vegetation, attracting a regular clientele of safari-goers, of which some were coming more than one time a year. As far back as the end of the last century, as I already said, under the pressure of tour operators, some « improvements » were brought to the main camp tents, so as to give them a less traditional nature, like replacing the entrance zips by a door, building a thatched roof above the tent or paving the bathroom, but always in the respect of the initial policy. A simple electric fence, that was erected at night only, was added, mainly to keep the elephants away. At Zibalianja, the only change they made was to add 1 more tent to the 3 initial ones. The main camp in 1998. The bar/lounge/dining room building is on the right. The palisaded out of doors bathroom in 1998. One of the fly camps, visited by an elephant. The new owners, though they told me, when I met them in May 2005, that they would, to a great extent, keep the camps like they were, decided to bring strategic changes to the main camp ; the capacity was increased to 16 persons and the tents completely converted to make a luxurious camp of it. As nothing had yet been done at the main camp, I came back in November 2005. Apart from an excellent sighting on the first game drive, the rest of the week was more than mediocre. Nevertheless and as Zibalianja was still existing in its original layout, I went there in May 2007 and also to Motswiri, where hunting had been banned. Motswiri had 3 tents and was very similar to Zibalianja. Those 9 days were again a great disappointment in terms of sightings at the 2 locations. Concerning Motswiri, it was not a surprise as hunting had recently been stopped. Yet, I enjoyed the remoteness of the place and the simplicity of the camp. Then the new owners decided to dismantle Zibalianja and to create Zarafa. This was the coup de grâce, and together with the decrease of good sightings and the environment natural changes, it made an end to the love story. I have never been there since and will probably not, just because I will always have in mind, in this particular place, those great days of an age that has gone. I am sure that actually there is more professionalism in the management of the camps, that the food is better, and so on,…… but it just became a place like many others in Botswana and elsewhere, where everything is irreproachable but where there are no more any originality, spell, inspiration and moving spirit. It was far from perfection but it was great !!! During all those years, I had the opportunity to meet great guides. I cannot mention them all. So, here are the best : - Ian Mc Coll, nicknamed the « Lion Man » who managed Zibalianja in the first years, - Alan Williams, who managed the main camp in 1998, - Mompati Aaron, Paul Moloseng and Barberton (BB) Mundu. If someone knows what those guys are actually doing, please let me know. - The late André Maertens and last but not least the best of the best, Kanawe Ntema who finished his career in Kwando, last year. My first visit to the Selinda was in July 1998 and my second, in September 1999. Hunting had been banned from that part of the concession in 1995. The lions (males), that had survived to hunting, had moved away. It gave the opportunity to 3 young males to be in power. They mated with the resident females and had cubs. The Selinda pride was born. But all this was too good to be true. Five big males arrived from the north, killed one of the three and assumed power. When I came back for the third time in July 2000, there were 24 lions in the pride. Selinda was really at that time the kingdom of lions. The subjects of the pictures for the first four years will mainly be lions, lionesses and lion’s cubs. They were present on every game drives.
  9. Depressing story about Kenya's unplanned chaotic development south of Nairobi and it's impact on what used to be the highest density population of Cheetah in East Africa. HERE
  10. In true Blue Peter tradition, here is one I prepared earlier. I really like the interaction that arises when trip reports are posted bit by bit. The story unfolds in a chronological way and we all get the chance to share the suspense of wondering what will come next. Unfortunately because I have to write my reports for my own site and others, I need to post them as a complete report. Well, I don't NEED to, but I have found that if I do not do it this way I struggle to find the time. So, excuses set out, here is a report from my trip to Samburu a short while ago. @@samburumags @@madaboutcheetah - this one is for you On the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro - A Samburu Safari Although this is posted as a complete trip report I am more than happy to respond to any queries it may stir up.
  11. Those of you who remember my Green Season On The Mara TR (http://safaritalk.net/topic/9071-green-season-on-the-masai-mara-may-2012/) from last year might remember that my preference for photo safaris in East Africa is during the Green Season--from better lighting and backgrounds to fewer safari vehicles. Not to mention cost. In late March/early April of this year I enjoyed another such experience, but this time on the Serengeti, which only served to reinforce my preference. And it helps when you share your experience with a few hundred thousand furry friends (wildebeest, not tourists!). Here's the link: http://martinwgrosnick.com/Tanzania13TR.html Feel free to ask questions! Martin
  12. Hello AndBeyond Buddies, Hope the rest of your safari was as exciting and memorable as these active young cheetahs. Here are two photos that I said I'd post on safaritalk. Hope you make it over here to check them out. Feel free to personal message me and I'll email you these. Safari njema and best wishes, Lynn (atravelynn)

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