AmyT

Q: Who Gnu that Kenya is so delightful?

184 posts in this topic

When it came time for the afternoon game drive, my friend and her daughter decided to stay at camp.  Katy and I gave it a try (we had a good car!) but after about 45 minutes we asked to return to the fire circle for our sundowners. 9 hours on a game drive was enough for one day.  It proved to be a lot of fun.  We got a chance to talk with Jacob and Nelson, telling jokes. We were pretty punchy from the trip into the Mara but didn't want them to feel like they'd done anything wrong with the game drive.

 Kenya4_6210.thumb.jpg.1daa423c4404738c61959caf1fc36cfe.jpg

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people vary

 

being in the bush on a drive or a hike is what I came for 

 

the camp is a place to be out of just there to eat and sleep 

 

I love missing the sundowners, too much bush and animals to see  

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I think whatever anyone decides to do on safari is fine.  It is your vacation after all.  Because I live in fear of skipping the one game drive where the zorilla riding the aardwolf around the pride of purple lions will be spotted, I don't miss those.  But that's my own personal neurosis that I need to tend to.

 

The one bit of our chat @AmyT didn't share was that I know there are some folks here who would really be interested to learn what Amy learned from the Cheetah Camp hosts about partnering with Porini and running the camp and how they got to that point.  It sounds like the sort of "inside baseball" talk that some might like that we don't often get to hear.

 

@AmyT great photos of the lions with the zebra.  I was curious why the lion was so close and the zebras all had their backs turned.  At first I thought maybe they hadn't seen the lion, but maybe it's because they knew that one of their own had already been that lion's meal?   On one of my excursions into the Reserve, we were allowed to go every so slightly off road to see a cheetah and her cubs.  There were KWS rangers there at the time following her and they gave our driver the wave as if "yeah, it's ok, but don't go nuts about it".  It was just a hair off road though, not deep into the grass.  I also had a similar situation in the Serengeti with a large pride of lions under a tree.  No rangers to approve but our guide said a short ways off the road for a "significant sighting" was ok.

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Was looking forward to the next chapter, and what a treat it was.....thanks for posting it.

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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

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daughter 1 returns

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Sero

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Clumsy framing, but I really enjoyed this sequence

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Just like our cats at home

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Daughter 2 returns to reunite with mum and sisterkenya4_0286.thumb.jpg.39070ae2930435893e70e20fb204746a.jpg

 

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Settling in for a snooze

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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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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.

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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).Kenya4_0365.thumb.jpg.f183462510acd2b9090dc4dedf3ac30a.jpg

 

and farther afield, an agama who modeled for us.

 

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Around 11 a.m., and within sight of the  Ol Seki Mara camp (Hemingways) , we found some honeymooning lions.Kenya4_0404.thumb.jpg.2ad3ae706b62ba3c4a62bd29861c9ca7.jpg

 

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Looks like a teenager trying to grow a mustache.

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And then "hey, it's been fifteen minutes, it's time for some lion lovin'."

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<CENSORED>

 

and then two minutes later... 

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The laugh at the end was from my daughter.

 

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Love the agama.  Hoping I get to see one.  14 days to go!

 

Thanks for continuing @AmyT

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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.  Kenya4_0474.thumb.jpg.c5e21a9f8bc6bef72287892b3d0ecf5a.jpg

 

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This fellow kept a close eye on us.

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Nile crocodileKenya4_0490.thumb.jpg.5bc322adc36e8626cb18dfd6e62fe1d2.jpg

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5 minutes ago, Tulips said:

Love the agama.  Hoping I get to see one.  14 days to go!

 

Thanks for continuing @AmyT

 

Thanks for reading, @Tulips !  Wish I was going with you!  Where are you going? Which camps/lodges?

 

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@AmyT I'm only doing one area.  I get into Nairobi in the evening and will just be staying the night there.  Then have 4 days/nights at a lodge in Laikipia called Segera.  It's expensive, but they were very good and waived the single supplement and aren't charging me for the private use of a vehicle.  I then fly back to Nairobi for a day to do Sheldrick's and the National Park staying at the Emakoko.  Then I'm off to see the gorillas in Rwanda.

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19 minutes ago, Tulips said:

@AmyT I'm only doing one area.  I get into Nairobi in the evening and will just be staying the night there.  Then have 4 days/nights at a lodge in Laikipia called Segera.  It's expensive, but they were very good and waived the single supplement and aren't charging me for the private use of a vehicle.  I then fly back to Nairobi for a day to do Sheldrick's and the National Park staying at the Emakoko.  Then I'm off to see the gorillas in Rwanda.

 

@Tulips... There's only so much time on holiday.  Sounds like you will have a fabulous trip!!

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Posted (edited)

42 minutes ago, Tulips said:

@AmyT I'm only doing one area.  I get into Nairobi in the evening and will just be staying the night there.  Then have 4 days/nights at a lodge in Laikipia called Segera.  It's expensive, but they were very good and waived the single supplement and aren't charging me for the private use of a vehicle.  I then fly back to Nairobi for a day to do Sheldrick's and the National Park staying at the Emakoko.  Then I'm off to see the gorillas in Rwanda.

I can't wait for your trip report @Tulips !  Please tell Anthony and Emma hi from me at Emakoko.  I so love it there!  And all the babies at Sheldricks.  And gorillas too!  Oh darn, now I want to go with you too!!

Edited by amybatt
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@AmyT @amybatt, we will just have to meet up in Nairobi!

 

 I promise to take better safari notes than my last one.

 

 

Apologies to @AmyT for getting things off the topic of your trip report.

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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?)  http://livingwithlions.org/mara/allprides/enkoyonai-pride/

 

Hope I don't bore you with repetitious lion pictures... ;)

 

The grass was long...Kenya5_0586.thumb.jpg.3d4356857ac4ce5cae45b92802fb418b.jpg

 

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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.

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7 lions in this photo

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This hare didn't seem to be too happy about the rain either. Hunkered down and didn't hop away.

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Hartebeest ? (@Pault?) with baby

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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.

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The guide made a mama call, and this cub toddled out to see who was there.

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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.

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And then there were four...

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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

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

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.

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So ends our first night at Lion Camp.

Edited by AmyT
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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!

 

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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.

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"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.Kenya5_0898.thumb.jpg.0975dbfd0a02c1cc8f98674d95ccaf7d.jpg

 

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."

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It was really muddy, and some vehicles were slipping on the hills. My driver offered to take this photo:

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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.Kenya5_0939.thumb.jpg.196b527dba8cca5ba05881a587e6916a.jpg

 

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Posted (edited)

Wow my trip starting on sept 10th will take me to Porini lion camp - looks like it certainly lived up to its name...I wish I see the two prides and the cheetah too....nice!!

Edited by Gilgamesh
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8 hours ago, Gilgamesh said:

Wow my trip starting on sept 10th will take me to Porini lion camp - looks like it certainly lived up to its name...I wish I see the two prides and the cheetah too....nice!!

 

@Gilgamesh ... I am confident you will see that and more!!  I can't wait to read your trip report!

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Hyena had brought down a gazelle... many were vying for scraps but one was the clear victor.

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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

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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. 

 

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Pretty Girl was settled in for a snooze, so we eventually backed out, and spotted this. Same location, maybe 100 feet away.

 

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So @Gilgamesh, I am pretty confident you will be successful with cats. :)  Mum was nearby, hunting. You can find cubs under every bush. Almost.

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Beautiful portrait of the leopard @AmyT

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Posted (edited)

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.Kenya5_1341.thumb.jpg.cfa4d79a1b1ef96b6cf3718ca6a84ad4.jpg

 

Reminding us of our cats at home...

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Practically begging my daughter for a belly rub.

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Thinking about @pault's trip report and wishing I was Bibi with her "genet."

Edited by AmyT
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Posted (edited)

Cubs under every bush, wow!, that'd be unimaginable....

 

I still remember a grizzly cub in Yellowstone playing on a fallen dead tree just like your cubs, may be 100ft or so away...will never forget it, for the rest of our lives...In fact I remember the person next to me mutter "that cub is destined for Hollywood", it put on such a nice show (just routine "cubbly" things....sorry for making up words, that too to a teacher...lol...somehow 'cuddly' didn't sound appropriate ;)) and I couldn't agree with him more.

 

I hope we can contain our emotions if we end up seeing lion cubs. My wife who is leery of this trip, may change her mind on a second trip if we see lion cubs like these. 

Edited by Gilgamesh
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Posted (edited)

If I see what you've posted on post #143 and #146 alone, it'd be the best trip we've ever taken, ... period!

 

Who am I kidding..., just 146 will hit it out of the park for us.

Edited by Gilgamesh
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