179 posts in this topic

@Tulips I wish it had been a full rainbow, or at least a half. Amazing how infrequently I have seen those on safari. 

 

By the way, apologies for posting some of the portrait orientation pictures too big. The forum only restricts width so I am trying to post smaller versions of the portrait orientation ones, but it seems that sometimes I forget and then they are posted disproportionately large (that doesn't apply to what you may see on your mobile devices which also restricts width, meaning all the portrait orientation shots come out disproportionately large, which there is nothing I or anyone can do about). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may have rained heavily on you, but from a photographic point of view, that dark, menacing sky as a backdrop to the afternoon light produced some lovely images.  I've been relatively (completely?) silent up to now, but your Bibi and Mrs. K. narratives and illustrations are quite addictive. I'm actually somewhat disappointed now that your mother has departed the scene, although perhaps I'm not in as bad a state as that bustard, in the end. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Alexander33 said:

It may have rained heavily on you, but from a photographic point of view, that dark, menacing sky as a backdrop to the afternoon light produced some lovely images.  I've been relatively (completely?) silent up to now, but your Bibi and Mrs. K. narratives and illustrations are quite addictive. I'm actually somewhat disappointed now that your mother has departed the scene, although perhaps I'm not in as bad a state as that bustard, in the end. 

 

Thank you, My trip reports definitely become more mundane without the Bibi factor - even for our guides! The rest of the report will definitely be a big let down and the only good news is that Bibi is "considering" another trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just getting caught up on this now, @pault.  Holy cow the Mara did deliver for you, boring it is not.  That last lion shot in 145 brought tears to my eyes, quite literally.  More than any landscape or anything else, a shot like that just sings "Mara" to me.  Incredible.  I realllllly need to go back!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@pault, Your full frame shined at ISO6400 ... truly outstanding results, no doubts also due to excellent PP skills. The panning shots is what we need to work on also ... looks like fun.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@xelas Yes, panning is fun and underutilised, although the oitcome is never sure. I didn't apply any significant noise reduction on the ISO6400 shots (of which there are quite a few) but I do process them in a particular way so I won't say the PP has nothing to do with it - just not as much as you may think. I just find it another of those things that the more I do it the better the results, even with the same old cameras. That old "the more I practrice the luckier I get" golf thing?

 

Two males fight for hte right to females, who clearly couldn't care less....

 

i-krJwwQt-XL.jpg

 

 

The following is not scientific. I just wanted to “talk” about it because it provided us with hours of entertainment and interest over the course of our stay in Olare Motorogi, and I wanted to post it separately because otherwise it would be overshadowed by wild dogs, cheetah hunts and the like.

Since the movement of wildebeest in East Africa is the Great Migration, then maybe their rutting should be called the Great Rut? But of course it doesn’t get capitals and it doesn’t even get much attention. People have other things on their minds than unusually aggressive wildebeest and it’s just a backdrop – wildebeest are always the backdrop unless they are leaping madly into rivers or being eaten by predators. You may note they are even the backdrop in a number of photos – there are some standing in the background, that is one being eaten by a lion, etc.

Wildebeest photo-bombing

i-tFGWh5X-XL.jpg

 

A possible wildebeest harem that attracts no further interest in this context

i-K6wkLsR-XL.jpg

 

Actually I understand that  – they aren’t pretty, they are neither very big nor small; they run with an ugly gait that is functionally but not really fast; they can’t jump very high without the aid of a cliff, their eyes are usually downcast and hidden by their eyelashes, their colour is nondescript, they barely interact with each other, they only eat grass, they appear pretty stupid (that’s one pretty they can tick off) and they don’t seem to do anything interesting other than crossing rivers and feeding predators.

But the last isn’t quite true – in addition to crossing rivers and being eaten they also rut and that is quite interesting. Even then, I am not saying they are the most interesting rutting animals to catch, but as with crossings wildebeest are interesting because (i) there are a massive amount of them and (ii) they approach it with no thought or reason, like only a wildebeest can.

A fine figure of a man

i-rNVbRST-XL.jpg

 

The wildebeest are expected to rut in May or maybe early June in Kenya, and probably around the same time in Tanzania, but rutting was in full swing when we were there right at the end of June. Of course most of the wildebeest we were seeing were locals - the “Loita” migration wildebeest  or non-migrants – but as herds came in from Tanzania and some of the locals headed south (apparently some might do this in dry years – even head south to birth, although I can’t confirm that) there were quite a lot of them – to put it mildly – and the southerners seemed to be joining in the rutting too, even if they were supposed to have already done it in the Western corridor a month before. Like the migration movement itself, perhaps the rutting is a bit “when and where the spirit takes us”. 

Wildebbest...... the thinking person's antelope

i-P4dkBhS-XL.jpg

 

Just in case you are not familiar, the basic wildebeest rut is like this.

First males take up positions – if there are limited water sources then the positions closest to water may be the most sought after, but in other cases it appears mostly based on “where somebody else isn’t” or “where there is some grass in case I get hungry” or “where the females can see me”. Neither grass nor water are big issues in the Mara in June so, not being burdened by being a scientist, l just assume they simply took spots that felt right but favoured visible spots. A few seemed to have sussed that under trees was a good spot as you would get a lot of ladies for company, but very few. So hundreds of male wildebeest stand alone with circles of maybe 50-100 meters diameter around them (guesstimeasure) and wait. What they are waiting for is females and their calves to come through. When they do, what happens?

  1. The females select a strong looking male to mate with.

  2. The females select the male with the biggest territory because he is clearly the strongest, having removed his neighbours.

  3. Whenever any females stop in a male’s territory for any reason (resting, eating, even peeing) the male will try to physically force them to stay.

  4. Whenever any female stops or turns her back in his territory, the male will try to mount her

 

To the victor the rush of adrenaline and the spoils!

i-fLt2ScM-XL.jpg

 

From what I can see the answer is almost certainly more (iii) than anything else. Unfortunately for the males, the females are usually on their way somewhere and will follow another group for no apparent reason other than to follow, so a male with a harem of 50 will suddenly find himself with a harem of zero just because another group of wildebeest happened to run past. I suppose a lot of these females were actually already pregnant with it being late in the season (we did not see a single mating) but the males didn’t seem to know that.

 

In addition to attempting to kidnap any woman who walks past their door, the wildebeest seem driven to fight for territory they don’t need and can’t manage when they get it. The only logic I could see to this was that their instinct is that a bigger territory means that females are more likely to randomly stop there and they can thus seem to have more females. And they were so proud of their ladies, however temporary, even often making mock charges at the vehicle to keep us away from them.

The result of fights seems to be that the loser is forced to retreat to his territory, or to take the victor’s territory, which often looks no worse than the one before. I am sure in some cases an animal had come from outside the area though and all good spots were taken, forcing him to fight or retreat to a spot where the females are less likely to pass (as is the case with many ruts). The apparent lack of any tangible reward doesn’t stop some of the fights from being full-blooded.

No females? No problem. Males of honour will fight for the vacant space.

 i-VLhcKdT-XL.jpg

 

i-T5vN8s4-XL.jpg

 

i-RkN7NLz-XL.jpg

 

The spols are mine!!

i-f5QJ2wf-XL.jpg

 

When the wildebeest herds arrived from the south the local boys in the Mara seemed to be in heaven. They had harems of 40-50 each, even if only until the movement started again, and ran around like crazy vocalizing and herding “strays” back into the group. Parts of the Reserve were covered with such groups where the wildebeest were at rest. Of course as soon as they started to move again the groups more or less dissolved.

Temporarily kidnapped females in the reserve (this is a panorama of 2-3 shots, but should enlarge if you click on itand you'll see the others arranged oin groups like this too, many of which have been hered into shape by a male).

i-Lrc8Tkg-X3.jpg 

A male, center-right, counts the amazing collection of females temporarily in his territory, with his cuirrent collection of kidnap victimes to his right (again this one should enlarge if you click)

i-Rd65wFx-X3.jpg

 

Okay, you’re probably not going to time your visit solely for the rut, but it is something to consider as a bonus if you are going at the right time of year anyway and something that gets more and more interesting the more you work out what is going on. Some of the stuff is comedy gold, but you have to be there to really get the joke. It also makes hunting easier for predators as it creates chaos and forces herds together and to move in directions they would not normally take. And of course if a predator does come it’s likely the males who are off first and fastest, leaving the women and children to fight over the remaining lifeboats.

 

The prizes ride on by

i-V9CVfxR-XL.jpg

 

 

Edited by pault
14 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Okay, that's done so I can finally move on to the last full day of our trip, although since we wouldn;t be flying our until midnight that isn't technically true. We had already agreed with Nelson that we'd make a full day in the Reserve and that our target would be the five male cheetah coalition... first time we had actually set him a specific target.

 

But first we had to get out of the conservancy, and a few things did delay us.

 

We were barely 5 minutes out of camp when we spotted hyenas and then notr-a-hyena - an aardwolf. There is a den near Kicheche so this isn't unique (we spotted one last time, two years before) but it certainly requires a bit of luck. In the interests of fairness, I would like you to notice the buffalos grazing in the background of this shot.

 

i-RHJGXG2-XL.jpg

 

The aardwolf moved on (very skittish) and so did we, to find the remains of that lion kill we had missed the morning before. We weren't interested in spending time with the whole pride, but there was no way we could pass up the pre-adult lions who had stolen away some wildebeest bits and pieces, whether from that kill or another, and brought them up on to a ridge for a chew, where they had attracted some hyena admirers. Their position, just before sunrise, was the most interesting thing!

 

Hyenas and lions - BFF

 

i-wxdr7T5-XL.jpg

 

i-bHHMGhf-XL.jpg

 

Of course in reality the hyenas and lions were not quite BFF, but they seemed to know their places and be comfortable just a few meters apart. The lion kill is visible down the slope in the background, with attendant vehicles.

 

i-xHgj5Zv-XL.jpg

 

The hyenas did their thing and the young lions did theirs.

i-MBwPq2T-XL.jpg

 

The lions' thing was mainly chewing and licking

i-PstGQQW-XL.jpg

 

i-NmZhXpZ-XL.jpg

 

The hyenas were a bit more active, with some individuals coming and going - I would guess this was close to the heart of their territory and they were very familiar with these particular lions. They might have been less chilled if one of the full-grown females had been around.

 

i-HNWtxj5-XL.jpg

 

Anyway, we had to leave them because we had to go and try to find those cheerahs, and preferably before the light got too harsh. Would we? Well, you have to know the answer to that by now, so perhaps the questions are how long would it take us and would it be a glance among a crowd of vehicles or a leisurely hour in their company on our own?

 

Edited by pault
22 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an exceptional silhouette!!!  Brilliant!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Pault

A brilliant witty report illustrated by your wonderful, evocative photography- must say the A7RII really came through. Enjoyed the Bibi stories as well. The Mara portion was just amazing- the bustard/plane incident was downright sobering. 

Thanks for sharing this. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, pault said:

their eyes are usually downcast and hidden by their eyelashes,

 

Too right!    Capturing Wildebeest eye detail in a photo is as difficult as doing it with a Storm-Petrel.

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very jealous of the Aardwolf!

Your wildebeest section is fascinating. I think if you really watch almost any animal, looking at the details of behaviour, they become more and more interesting. We all love the cats, but spending time watching less obvious animals is also enriching. When we were in Kenya last year we spent a big chunk of one drive in Ol Pejeta watching Zebra behaviour - and it was also fascinating. Fortunately there were no other guests in the car as not everyone would want to do this.

Beautiful photos as always.

 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed reading this trip report. The lion silhouettes are simply brilliant!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not even going to try to build the "can Nelson find them?" suspense. We made one request - to see the coalition of five male cheetahs (not all from the same mother) if at all possible. We went to an area near to Mara Explorer Camp along the Talek River where I think Nelson had heard they might be hanging out - although we had no radio or other contact that morning so it was just a "recently seen near...." tip from the evening before I think. We looked here, looked there, and then found a large gathering of wildebeest looking like they were about to cross the Talek North- South or West-East (it's a windy river of course, but heading towards Olare Motorogi). We said "nah, stick to the plan" even though we were the only vehicle there. That was a good decision because not long after Nelson got a smile on while doing one of his regular scans. There they were, eating a wildebeest that they had clearly only recently killed (we must have just missed it, but you can't have all the luck) and they were actually the reason the wildebeest hadn't crossed yet - suddenly the scene had the look of a crossing half-finished- interrupted by the cheetahs taking down a wildebeest. Amazingly, given the location in the Reserve (although there is nowhere to cross the Talek right near this spot, so it is a little sheltered) there were no other vehicles around at all despite it being well before breakfast time.

 

The scene (should be clickable, although I think you can see the important things at this size. We'd come in from the left side of this picture originally and with the cheetahs having their heads down in long grass, hadn't initially seen them.

 

i-xjRX9PR-X3.jpg

 

1-2-3-4-5  Hah!!! :D

 

i-7x7htvK-XL.jpg

 

Chowing down. A couple of little snarls when two got the ends of the same bone, but generally they were all feeding together very peacefully, with one or  the other popping his head up every now and again to scan for danger.

 

i-5sxVscP-XL.jpg

 

i-zhqNSk9-XL.jpg\

 

i-jDhCwqL-XL.jpg

 

i-ZzMt6Dx-XL.jpg

 

A couple of vehicles appeared on the other side of the river, but as far as they knew we were waiting for the crossing. Nelson didn't turn on the radio to allow them to confirm this and it was another 40 minutes or so before the first of them got near enough that Nelson gave them a heads-up, having checked with my wife that she had had her fill (well, I am sure they were coming anyway - by that time we were clearly following something and it wasn't the elephants over there).

 

Since one small wildebeest isn't necessarily enough for five cheetahs, we popped down to the river to see if a crossing was on, as that would have surely prompted them to hunt again, but the wildebeest and zebra were well aware of the cheetahs' presence and just coming down for a drink.

 

i-BxhRqdm-XL.jpg

 

When they had finished eating, the cheetahs went for a walk together... what we had been waiting for!!

 

i-qxsM5xg-XL.jpg

 

i-sHpPxNj-XL.jpg

 

i-Vkr7S4Q-XL.jpg

 

i-TxgdCH4-XL.jpg

 

i-Kvksnmq-XL.jpg

 

i-5GPKWtC-XL.jpg

 

i-FMTLJwD-XL.jpg

 

Of course there are a couple who lead, especially the one with the collar fitted, and there is one who is noticably smaller and really doesn't look like he should be away from his mother or that he could survive on his own (we thought Nelson's comment "I hope the others don't notice." when I pointed this out to be hilarious, and it was, but perhaps you had to be there.

 

i-Mp3h6Z6-XL.jpg

 

They were playing too, but mostly in the bushes unfortunately. Anyway, although they didn't all mount a termite mound together, this was well beyond expectations and after more than an hour we were happy to leave them to the three other vehicles now arriving (one guide gave Nelson a "you should have called us" look and Nelson gave him back a sheepish "Yeah, possibly.,,,, next time maybe." grin, but he had another tip up his sleeve that we hadn't used and shared that to make sure they were all buddies again.

 

One last look and then we'll go and see if those wildebeest are up to anything.

 

i-x4QB8CL-XL.jpg

 

Oh, they are up to something!

 

i-swvCfZd-XL.jpg

 

i-Hd3MLXM-XL.jpg

 

And of course we had most of this to ourselves too as the few vehicles around were with the cheetahs and some way from the river now. Eventually the crossing attracted about six vehicles.

 

It wasn't a thriller crossing anyway, as the river was calm and shallow and the banks not very steep. But no mayhem is nice too sometimes and it was the perfect way to end stage one of the day.

 

i-MXwg8d4-XL.jpg 

 

And then to breakfast!

 

i-QzHkz4S-XL.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by pault
16 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot one sighting! An oribi. I had to confirm identification as, quite incredibly, Nelson had never seen one that he could remember. We'd come across them on our first two safaris so remembered the tell-tail signs ( a reedbuck in the wrong place that is too crouched over and has too sharp a face, a steenbuck that is too big..... and then look at the ears... yes it is an oribi).

 

i-LfpHrhQ-XL.jpg

 

We had crossed the Talek for breakfast and ended up down by the Mara River. There were huge numbers of wildebeest and it was clear the southerners had arrived (the panoramic shots above are from this morning). There were also big herds of eland and buffalo and I am not sure why I didn't take pictures of these. I think I expected better light for them later but really I just wasn't thinking straight because we didn't see them later! We saw large herds gathering on the banks of the river at three different spots but we didn't have any desire to sit around waiting for a crossing in the sun with a crowd. For some reason they were all heading south, while all the other wildebeest we had seen had been heading north - there didn't seem to be much logic to it. However, the sheer numbers of wildebeest were keeping anything else away and it was getting a bit hot for the predators - in fact it was turning into a surprisingly hot day. In the end, Nelson found us a spot in shade with a decent view (although a little far away) of the herd that his riverside based contacts deemed most likely to be about to cross, and we just enjoyed the shade, birdsong and what little breeze there was and watched the wildebeest and hippos (as this crossing spot took them right past a pod of hippos). 

 

Sure enough, we only had to wait about 40 minutes. Even this we wouldn't have bothered, but like I said there was little going on and it was a pretty sure thing - plus I admit after the cheetahs and the masses of wildebeest in the ocean of yellow grass we were like people who had eaten a very large lunch being offered more food a little later and just kind of picking at it absentmindedly.

 

It was quite a pretty scene and strange being at a distance that there was no sound at first and even when the sound did arrive, it was relatively quiet. I liked the spot though - no doubt one of the back-up spots for watching crossings when there is not a spot to park at on the banks from July to September. 

 

i-Gzs5xtG-XL.jpg

 

When the crossing got underway the hippos on that bank crossed too, to get out of the way. They knew what was coming.

 

i-XDqBNgL-XL.jpg

 

i-2gxSCD3-XL.jpg

 

 

What was coming was that it was going to start raining wildebeest.

 

i-J7RBWwG-XL.jpg

 

i-vpF5fPb-XL.jpg

 

Incredibly only one was injured in the cliff leaps.

 

I'd set up the camera to frame the scene nicely but the wildebeest had foiled my plans by crossing slightly further up that I had expected. Eventually they started to cross in the right (and logical as there was a less steep descent there) place.

 

Nearly right!

i-PkLwnhM-XL.jpg

 

That's it! This is what I wanted.

 

i-NCPNvRV-XL.jpg

 

 

The hippos kept a wary eye on the wildebeest but didn't interfere, and neither did a crocodile who was probably already full after the crossings the other way that there must have been in the preceding days.

 

i-tNvpMnq-XL.jpg

 

Bart the one wildebeest injured falling off the bank, all made it across.

 

i-hNhrQs5-XL.jpg

 

 

After that we watched the wildebeest rutting and running some more and then found a big journey of giraffes, which was quite impressive!

 

There were more than 20. most of which are here. Another panorama you should be able to click on and enlarge.

 

i-wFZqGww-X3.jpg

 

i-p79N5wP-X2.jpg

 

i-sFnrhVF-X3.jpg

 

i-WpphqX5-XL.jpg

 

After lunch (and boy was it difficult to find a spare tree even on 1 July) crossing back across the Talek we watched some wildebeest, zebras and topis do the same and tried to take some different angled shots of this micro-crossing, with mixed success.

 

i-bFzhXXJ-XL.jpg

 

i-Cnjm35j-XL.jpg

 

Back in Olare Orok we pottered around for another 2-3 hours without seeing an awful lot.

 

A relaxed reedbuck was another "first since Aberdare NP".

 

i-Bc9q4Qt-XL.jpg

 

A little-ringed plover had something in its mouth - a seed I guess?

 

i-MvBMLhm-XL.jpg

 

A sandgrouse - yellow-throated possibly although I should look through my files as I have a picture of the male somewhere too.

 

i-JdKJHf3-XL.jpg

 

And a secretary bird.

 

i-vx4Wvpv-XL.jpg

 

We got back to camp before sunset and watched it from our tent as the herds had arrived and the camp was surrounded by wildebeest and impala, making a racket as they rutted away. We spotted eland. banded mongooses  and gazelles too, without the aid of binoculars, but I didn't bother photographing any of it. With departure the next day i was feeling rather sad, but also quite happy. Anyway it was a time for wine, not a telephoto.

 

I'll wrap up in the next post - not much more to come really - no last minute drama although I am going to have a moan about something, just because I can!

 

 

 

17 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to see the cheetah boys. They have been near Brian's camp which is very near Intrepids. Hope to see them. If you finish tomorrow I can read the final instalment of your brilliant TR before we board our flight to Nairobi on Monday. If we see as much as you did we will be very happy 😊 Pen

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy cow @pault how will you ever top this safari for sightings???  From here it seemed epic. Did it seem that way to you?  The cheetah sightings, the crossing and that was just the Mara.  Just wow.

 

Your giraffe photos are excellent.  It brings me to a question, am I right in remembering a journey vs. a tower of giraffes is if they are mobile or not?  Or am I just making that up?

 

@penolva happy safari.  Looking forward to your TR too!!  Wishing you many mighty sightings!

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, just catching up with this report again...what an incredible Mara experience, and fantastic photography! Especially love the giraffes before the storm, the cheetah coalition, the sunset silhouettes, the lion cubs (and that panning shot is great--something I've never been able to do successfully--not for lack of trying!)  And Aardvark!!

 

I'm just trying to forget about the Koriplane incident though--as we are off to several safari flights in a few weeks :o I didn't see that, I didn't see that, I didn't see that....  So thankful that it ended well for the plane (if not for the bird :(

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@pault - extremely well done with the Musketeers !!!! 

 

Where's my best chance of finding them?  Naboisho? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, madaboutcheetah said:

@pault - extremely well done with the Musketeers !!!! 

 

Where's my best chance of finding them?  Naboisho? 

 

Thanks! Not sure. Like Pen said they have been around Explorer/ Intrepids (on the Olare Motorogi side of the Talek when we spotted them, but they've moved around a fair bit. They should be happy where they were for now as there are plenty of wildebeest calves and few lions in that area, but of course things change. So far, not Olare Orok very often but other than that..........

 

10 hours ago, janzin said:

Wow, just catching up with this report again...what an incredible Mara experience, and fantastic photography! Especially love the giraffes before the storm, the cheetah coalition, the sunset silhouettes, the lion cubs (and that panning shot is great--something I've never been able to do successfully--not for lack of trying!)  And Aardvark!!

 

I'm just trying to forget about the Koriplane incident though--as we are off to several safari flights in a few weeks :o I didn't see that, I didn't see that, I didn't see that....  So thankful that it ended well for the plane (if not for the bird :(

 

I did put a warning! :D Thank you for adding another aardvark to our sightings.... haha I know your brain was thinking aardwolf, but the fingers didn't listen! 

 

11 hours ago, amybatt said:

Holy cow @pault how will you ever top this safari for sightings???  From here it seemed epic. Did it seem that way to you?  The cheetah sightings, the crossing and that was just the Mara.  Just wow.

 

Your giraffe photos are excellent.  It brings me to a question, am I right in remembering a journey vs. a tower of giraffes is if they are mobile or not?  Or am I just making that up?

 

@penolva happy safari.  Looking forward to your TR too!!  Wishing you many mighty sightings!

 

It seemed a bit surreal at times, especially with my Mum there. I actually though our last visit to Olare Orok was even more remarkable as we were only there three nights. But we always hit the jackpot with Nelson - chemistry of luck? I no longer have any explanations for why we keep on seeing so much. I used to think it was reward for time out, and our attitude of the little things being just as important..... but truth is that we didn't do anything special this trip.. I suppose the fact that we mostly (apart from Fig) looked hard for our own stuff  - by both choice and necessity - may have something to do with it.  Our guides have to take credit - we had hardworking guides throughout this trip. I have to admit I do not know about a tower vs a journey.It makes sense but also sounds like something someone could make up, No doubt someone can answer definitively.

 

14 hours ago, penolva said:

Great to see the cheetah boys. They have been near Brian's camp which is very near Intrepids. Hope to see them. If you finish tomorrow I can read the final instalment of your brilliant TR before we board our flight to Nairobi on Monday. If we see as much as you did we will be very happy 😊 Pen

 

I am afraid the final installment won;t be in time, but you'll be writing your own installments in real time, which I assure you is much better. Have a great, great trip. 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @amybatt and @pault it's going to be great. Pen

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, pault said:

 Thank you for adding another aardvark to our sightings.... haha I know your brain was thinking aardwolf, but the fingers didn't listen! 

 

hahahaha yes of course I meant Aardwolf! But I may have had Aardvark on the brain from another trip report :unsure:

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful sightings, excellent stories and the pics are beautiful.  Thanks very much @pault

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incredible silhouettes. Also I like that you gave the wildebeest its due!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last morning and we were out before dawn again. That's not due to a request by the way - it's the norm now to leave at 6 am latest. The special request is to leave later. Although we had to take our bags with us this time, we had packed the night before so a late start wasn't needed. Despite the early hour everybody was there to say goodbye to us.

 

We saw some of the sub-adult lions again but they weren't in a position to make it worth waiting for them at dawn so we decided to try to catch something else.Only a hartebeest on its way somewhere and the usual gazelles, wildebeest and topis though.

 

Dawn ISO 12800

i-SHL472h-XL.jpg

 

 

Sun showing its face  and down to ISO 1600

 

i-pnXd8X4-XL.jpg

 

We came across some more of the lions but they were not doing much so we had a quick look for Fig (who had disappeared but had just been rediscovered by Charles laying up in thick bush to lick her baboon-inflicted wounds.

 

Fig - or a small part of her

 

i-mFzHx2m-XL.jpg

 

Plenty of general game around of course but we were not having luck with anything exciting.

 

A last shrike

i-ZB9rB3n-XL.jpg

 

A herd of eland were not posing nicely, althouigh they did let us get quite close.

 

i-cNXhgW2-XL.jpg

 

Buffalos and topis in this area too, but again nothing really happening.

 

And the non-dramatic pleasantness went on with the lions, who we ended up joining for most of the rest of the pre-breakfast time.

 

i-nrDDHT8-XL.jpg\

 

i-fTgpgz7-XL.jpg

 

They were around bushes so we couldn't choose where we parked the vehcile really, putting us at the mercy of the light.

 

i-XBdqj93-XL.jpg

 

We almost got to see a last hunt but the lioness was spotted early and so she returned empty-pawed.

 

i-7HnRz2T-XL.jpg

 

i-W2k7GJM-XL.jpg

 

Nelson did his best to get me some more interesting angles, but the choices were very limited.

 

Young male.

 

i-PB9X92n-XL.jpg

 

i-DPf7cnq-XL.jpg

 

 

And before long it was time for a last breakfast and then we had to make our way to the aOlare Orok airstrip.

 

Parking area at the airstrip

 

i-hTKh8gJ-XL.jpg

 

i-QgsBv2x-XL.jpg

 

We had a stop at Ol Kiombo for fueling, then had to stop at Naboisho before heading abck to Nairobi.

 

i-rQ2qwCM-XL.jpg

 

i-XVFVCJ7-XL.jpg

 

i-32DFSmq-XL.jpg

 

The Mara River as we tuirned and headed toward Naboisho

i-5M3x9Bt-XL.jpg

 

i-kFWJGbk-XL.jpg

 

And hten we were out of the conservancy areas and it was all nearly over... nearly.

 

i-gGWzr69-XL.jpg

 

i-ZstLR5t-XL.jpg

 

We landed at Wilson Airport on time and were met by someone from Chameleon, who was going to take us to lunch at Utamaduni and then rendevouz with our guide from Ololo Lodge, who would take us through the park to the loadge.

 

We were at the restuarant by about 1.30 pm so hoped to be oout by 2 pm or so and have tiime for an evening drive in the park.

 

At 2 pm we were still waiting for our food.

At 2.30 pm we had received one of three titems.

At 2.45 pm we had received on  more item and decided we had to leave and I went to cancel the order.

At 2.46 pm we received the remaining dish.

At 3 pm I gave up waiting for change and went to get it from the waiter myself. He pointed out that tips were not incldued.. I snorted like a rutting wildebeest. If he had said another word I would have locked horns there and then and driven him out of the restaurant area, then run around chasing off any other males I could find and preventing the women from leaving.

 

We drove to Nairobi National Park in a fairly foul mood as we were (i) leaving and (ii) would be too late for a drive now. And it was Sunday so of course the area around the National Park entrance was very busy. The Maasai parking attendants are still there - same guys - occasionally interrupting their work of clearing traffic, advising people where to park and chasing off baboons with a tipped ("this is us and the Maasai") photo op. Actually t was quite intreresting to see so many people,

 

Of course inside the park was much better. Our guide asked us if we were in a hurry or wanted to go for a bit of a game drive. We said we would prefer just to get there, although of course we could stop if we saw something. He asked if that meant we were not in a big hurry - wildlife first? Yes, we confirmed.

 

So he took us to our last sighting of the trip. Two females and five cubs on a buffalo kill!.

 

i-tvVMsS5-XL.jpg

 

i-FDVnfkz-XL.jpg

 

There were about  a dozen vehciles stopped watching them. A mix of locals and tourists and busines and aid visitors. Then a local man drove up with his family and decided he should get out of the car just because he could. He walked around to the side of the car nearest the lions and made a gesture that I think meant he was neither impressed nor scared by this. Somebodygnelty pointed out that he was in breach of regulations and would he mind awfully getting back in the car. With a sneering, dismissive shrug he reluctantly complied, urged on by onlookers, who were of course massively impressed with him. Idiiot. Of course the lions sat up and took notice, and then stood up. But if he had had any sense at all he wouldf have noted that they did not run and got right back in his car. Not running does not seem to be a good sign to me. In fact perhaps someone pointed that out to him in between the abuse, tuts and groans.

 

You've got to be kidding me?

i-jCvmGRS-XL.jpg

 

Anyway Mr Bottomcavity left, shaking his head at people's lack of tolerance nowadays and we headed off to the lodge.

 

Ololo is very nice. We had booked a stable but were given a tented cotage (more cottage than tent really). All facilities available - just like in the best of the hotels really. Nice gardens, pool and outdoor/indoor dining areas. Not a bad place to hang out after safari at all, even though we were not in the mood to end the safari - really are we ever?

 

And that was that. Drive through the park in the dark and to the airport in 35 minutes or so, where minor chaos reigned, but not enough to moan further about. I won't forgive that restaurant though.

 

I'll maybe post a bit more if I have any more to say, But I am out of time now and so tentatively trhis is the end. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Shame about the restaurant! But a great trip report with very enjoyable writing and excellent photos. Thank you for posting.

Edited by TonyQ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.