AmyT

Q: Who Gnu that Kenya is so delightful?

184 posts in this topic

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. Kenya5_1093.thumb.jpg.ab0586b42ee7f940297d0145b54baa03.jpg

 

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@AmyT thanks!

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Posted (edited)

..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

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Harem of impala, very curious about what was happening. The babies kept checking on the mum.

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The giraffes were paying attention

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Mum keeping an eye on us.

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It's starting to stir

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This is where my daughter's photos take over. Suddenly, we weren't the biggest threat around.

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Wide angle

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major crop here

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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!Kenya5_1429.thumb.jpg.afbfaf1fff59aac05b37fddbcccef624.jpg

 

Not so cute herekenya5_1432.thumb.jpg.fb22fb05abb2cf1af1b287af05bf3b53.jpg

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Edited by AmyT
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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.

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Oh @AmyT that is so awful!  That is kind of offputting for Porini to employ a guide more interested in his own photos and videos rather than those of the paying guest.  I think I'd want more than an apology.

 

 

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That's quite the dental work on that hyena!  Wow!

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Posted (edited)

Yeah! if he shushed in front of the manager, and even after you complaining the manager said nothing, it's a sign of an endemic issue....I've never been to any porini camps, so I don't know for sure, but I'm troubled by your experience....sounds like it's a wink! Wink! Between management and driver and symbolic apologies to calm you down....not good!

 

P.S : I would think the balance between me and driver/guide getting photo/viewing ops, should be 100 to zero, anything less is unacceptable....wonder what the regulars have to stay. Of course the driver/guide will get their chance but never, ever at the expense of the paying customer....I'm so glad you mentioned this.

Edited by Gilgamesh

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@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. 

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More images recovered from the lost memory card.  

 

Banded mongoose

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Warthogs always headed for the hills when I brought out my camera. This one posed for me.

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Nile monitor.  Wish he'd have been coming towards us instead of away but, still, a sighting!Kenya5_1213.thumb.jpg.ccf9fbc225c39a3bc76a22461ca67466.jpg

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Lovely photos, and you had some great sightings.

We have had guides who are very good photographers, and it can be helpful in that they understand about angles and light, but we have never had one who put his own photographs ahead of the needs of the guests. You pay a lot of money to be there and the focus of the guide should be to give you a good experience (while respecting the needs of the animals). If you are not happy with the camp manager and the guide, you could write to a higher level of authority in the company (Porini) and explain your dissatisfaction.

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On 7/16/2017 at 4:14 PM, Atravelynn said:

Eles in front of Kili is such a fortunate shot.  It looks like the rhino was in Amboseli or Selankay, is that right?  Any comments from the guide on rhino #s or how they are doing?

The Selenkay and Amboseli map was very helpful.

Camera adjustment--successful!  Great shots.

The young hyenas and mating lions are just wonderful too.

 

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!

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I perhaps am injecting a bit of personal emotion into this, as it happened to me last year with Porini guides, but now we have @AmyT reporting a problem with the guide videoing and photographing for himself (or Porini's marketing materials) over ensuring her satisfaction at every sighting, and @Pamshelton3932 reported in a review of a Porini camp that she had a problem with guides on mobile phones in her recent experience. Has this become the norm, not the exception?  As long as the vehicle is equipped with a radio for reporting emergencies and sharing sightings, why would the guides even need phones while conducting game drives?

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, TonyQ said:

Lovely photos, and you had some great sightings.

We have had guides who are very good photographers, and it can be helpful in that they understand about angles and light, but we have never had one who put his own photographs ahead of the needs of the guests. You pay a lot of money to be there and the focus of the guide should be to give you a good experience (while respecting the needs of the animals). If you are not happy with the camp manager and the guide, you could write to a higher level of authority in the company (Porini) and explain your dissatisfaction.

 

@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.

Edited by AmyT
grammar
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Catching back up with this report - excellent stuff @AmyT.     Too many good photos to comment upon individually but the winking Jackal is choice.

 

I also like the group photos - waiting for the balloon to take off and the champagne breakfast.    Like a true wildlife photography buff, @AmyT is a "gunslinger" that packs at the dining table.  I learned that lesson the hard way once when a bushbaby jumped onto a serving table to pilfer fruit.

 

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4 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Catching back up with this report - excellent stuff @AmyT.     Too many good photos to comment upon individually but the winking Jackal is choice.

 

I also like the group photos - waiting for the balloon to take off and the champagne breakfast.    Like a true wildlife photography buff, @AmyT is a "gunslinger" that packs at the dining table.  I learned that lesson the hard way once when a bushbaby jumped onto a serving table to pilfer fruit.

 

Thanks! @offshorebirder... I am just too chicken to leave my camera in the car. Wish we'd had a bushbaby around!  ;)

 

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Posted (edited)

Dear Amy

Once again, may I say that I am really sorry that our guide said “Shush” to you as he took a video clip on his phone of the hyena snatching the baby impala. As you know, I was very concerned to hear about this from you at the time and immediately took it up with the guide himself and the camp manager. 
 
You had told me that the guide had already apologised to you in the vehicle as soon as he realised how upset you were, and again at camp after you had informed the manager about it. I went on to discuss this in detail with the guide and, as I had said to you before, I believe he was genuinely remorseful and he wrote you a letter of apology which he asked me to send to you, expressing his regret. You responded to let me know that you accepted his apology. 
 
I had also mentioned in my emails to you that he has been a popular guide with many guests over the years and is frequently requested by returning customers and also that he is very committed and dedicated to the Olare Orok Conservancy as it was his father and I who were involved in originally starting it over 10 years ago. He looks after the guiding of many professional photographers and film crews and I have received numerous accolades about him from previous guests so it was disappointing that he let himself and the camp down on this occasion. I believe he has learnt his lesson and we are all very sorry that you were upset.
 
In the past we have often shared video clips or shots taken by our guides on game drives, on our Facebook page or in newsletters, alongside images shared with us by our guests. It would seem that many former guests enjoy seeing these as we receive many favourable comments from past clients about them, together with requests to pass their best wishes to the guide. However there is absolutely no way that we wish guides to give more attention to their own photography than to guests! They know that their key role is to ensure that the guests have a great wildlife viewing experience and have the chance to see some memorable sightings and take some excellent photographs. The evidence of that is the stunning series of images that many of our guests, including you, often share with us.

I have taken your comments very seriously and especially the issue of the guide positioning his vehicle to take his own photographs.  As a result of this incident we have reminded all our guides of their key priorities and I have asked all the Camp Managers to discuss this with them to ensure that our objective is always to delight the guest. I will continue stressing this to our guides as I go round the camps myself.  However from the daily feedback I get from our guests, I can see that the vast majority rate their experience with our guides as excellent and many come back every year to stay again and again. Your guide has told me that now he would prefer not to take any more photographs himself and will be putting his total focus on seeing that his guests can get great pictures for themselves.
 
We do not depend in any way on photos from our guides to use in our marketing as we already have a huge amount of photos and videos from many of our guests who have given these to us to use. For example @amybatt  kindly allowed us to use one of her images in a newsletter after her first safari with us and very many others have done so too - the latest example being a series of Fig the leopard leaping on an impala, shared with us by one of our regular guests, Matt Caldwell, which can be seen here:
 
 I was pleased to note your comments in your last email to me that you had a marvellous time and plan to return and we would be very happy to welcome you back in the future when I sincerely trust that you will enjoy a great safari experience.

With best wishes

Jake Grieves-Cook
Gamewatchers Safari & Porini Camps
Edited by JakeGC
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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the update, @JakeGC

 

I am pleased that the driver/guide is taking a break from video and focusing on customer satisfaction.  As was discussed on @Pamshelton3932's thread, it's time to move on and so I will be content knowing that you and I are in agreement.  

Edited by AmyT

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Posted (edited)

Next morning we were up early, it was our "official" day in the Mara!  But first we had to visit Naibor's cubs. It was barely dawn, and had messed up my settings so the flash went off.  Sorry!!  

The den

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Curious cubs

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getting back on track

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We stopped to see what the Olkidikdik pride was up to.  Breakfasting.

 

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We drove down into the Mara, but the long grass made smaller animal sightings nearly impossible.

 

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Breakfasting with hippos along the Mara River.

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Edited by AmyT
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Nice reply from Gamewatchers and Porini.  In a real stretch, you could see that "shush" as an indication of how unique and rare the event you were witnessing was, as there'd be no shush for a pride of sleeping lions or a lone cheetah under a tree.

 

Just another example how technology does change everything.  Well not everything.  The stark impartiality of nature, as you experienced with the hyena grabbing the young impala, remains unchanged.

 

Young lions cubs, always such a treat! 

 

 

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Those lion cubs were really performing when I scrolled back a few posts!  All it takes is a fallen branch to keep them occupied.  Lion cubs, followed by cheetah cubs!

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More hippos

Kenya5_1636.thumb.jpg.e13aca9c0ee9d766c2d99219e7565e1c.jpg

 

Awed by cape buffalo

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Come on ladies, I'm taking a picture! I want to see your faces!

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Struggling with the light, but the grass *was* high... there's a baby ellie next to the left one.Kenya5_1729.thumb.jpg.a9a3879841cca0ccdf1a27e7c0c83a3a.jpg

 

We were back in Olare Motorogi Conservancy by 11 a.m.

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14 minutes ago, Atravelynn said:

Those lion cubs were really performing when I scrolled back a few posts!  All it takes is a fallen branch to keep them occupied.  Lion cubs, followed by cheetah cubs!

 

@AtravelynnThanks!  I really enjoyed watching them.  Did you see the brief video clip?

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Shortly before our afternoon drive, our friends saw a chameleon crossing the path.  

 

599895dd7d2ca_IMG_6299(2).thumb.JPG.8b2af8d6e98e14f2074593c4104ca2af.JPG

 

We found Kamanga, a young, hungry cheetah who led us on a merry dance for 3 hours, hoping she would hunt and show us her speed.  Evidently she had been hit by a car at some point, but I'm unable to find anything out there on the web to learn more.

 

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Next morning was our last day in Kenya.  Although we had late checkout, we were asked to vacate one of our tents to make room for someone coming early in the day. Katy and I were packed anyway, so it didn't seem like a huge deal.  Later, we were sorry that we gave up the tent, as it would have been nice to freshen up (and take a nap!) before our afternoon flight.

 

First order of business: leopard.  Fig was hanging out with the paparazzi, her cubs well hidden.Kenya5_2037.thumb.jpg.de6159e82edcabe2968bf0fbd46ecdf1.jpg

 

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Back to Naibor and her cubs.

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@Gilgamesh, I am looking forward to your update on Naibor's cubs!!

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Posted (edited)

There are a ridiculous number of lions in Olare Motorogi.  Hard to avoid them! Under (almost) every bush!Kenya5_2395.thumb.jpg.565cdfadfe35e40530954d4e072189fd.jpg

 

Wildebeest

Kenya5_2342.thumb.jpg.87fb67a0ae630b590ddc3c7736185ef2.jpg

 

Rock Agama

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Skink, I think

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Secretary bird

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Gold medalist topi, standing on his podium

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Bat-eared fox!!  This was a surprise and no time to adjust, so fuzzy.Kenya5_2547.thumb.jpg.8b8efdfb4a423b71823420e654c81b5f.jpg

 

Cape buffalo and baby.

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Back to camp to lunch and relax a bit, then it was time to say goodbye to Porini Lion Camp and head to the airstrip with the camp manager, Patrick, and our driver.  

 

Patrick entertained us by telling us Maasai folk tales.  Our driver saw something with his eagle eyes and we went for a closer look.

 

Brand-new baby giraffe, umbilicus still attached.

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Not very steady

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Where do I nurse?

Kenya5_2667.thumb.jpg.c9b66506fefb768afd5d675462b94a98.jpg

 

And so, without a predator in sight, we left mama and baby and said good bye to Kenya.  For now.

 

The end.

Edited by AmyT
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