Jump to content



Message to Guests.

Welcome to Safaritalk where we have been talking Safaris and wildlife conservation since 2006. As a guest you're welcome to read through certain areas of the forum, but to access all the facilities and to contribute your experience, ask questions and get involved, you'll need to be a member - so register here: it's quick, free and easy and I look forward to having you as a Safaritalker soon. Matt.

Photo

Ol Pejeta and Olare Orok October 2011


  • Please log in to reply
111 replies to this topic

#41 samburumags

samburumags

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,235 posts
  • Local time: 02:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bize Minervois, France
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 05 November 2011 - 04:16 PM

I just love your Mr Blackberry I can see him now! :lol:
But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")

#42 Anita

Anita

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,676 posts
  • Local time: 09:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hong Kong
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:59 AM

Really look forward to this-the pictures from your trip are far from unimaginative so maybe you should stop giving wrong examples to the class :)

That lioness with the cub looks quite huge? Its amazing how we get along so well with the Mr Blackberries back home but in Africa they stick out.

PS: I was Ms Blackberry too as that was the only way could avoid family texting my guide and everyone else for an update, but the rest of me looked like it came out of some dusty mine.

#43 Local2542

Local2542

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Local time: 07:17 PM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Arkansas
  • Category 1:Tourist (first-time visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:22 PM

So great to hear about Ol Pejeta. We are looking at 3 maybe 4 days there this January and your report solidified the decision. Your photos are so enticing and beautiful. Sorry if this question has been asked and answered before, but what are you shooting with? And what do you bring with for backing up your photos?

Thank you for taking the time to write your trip report. Enjoying it for the second time this morning :)

#44 Sangeeta

Sangeeta

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,335 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 PM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Washington DC metro area
  • Category 1:Tour Operator
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 08 November 2011 - 06:47 PM

That sceptical hyena pup had me in splits! Oh boy, this gets better and better...

Zindagi na milegi dobara... Chalo Africa
You only live once...Go To Africa

www.chaloafrica.com


#45 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:15 AM

So great to hear about Ol Pejeta. We are looking at 3 maybe 4 days there this January and your report solidified the decision. Your photos are so enticing and beautiful. Sorry if this question has been asked and answered before, but what are you shooting with? And what do you bring with for backing up your photos?Thank you for taking the time to write your trip report. Enjoying it for the second time this morning :)


I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Grass might be a bit long if there is a lot of rain this month, but as I mentioned in the report, weather is apparently more and more unpredictable.

I use a full frame DSLR with a 70-400 lens (swapped for a 16-35 lens for the tent shots and breakfast/sundowner shots) and a 1.5x crop DSLR with a 400mm lens and often a 1.4x teleconverter on that. I download my photos to a netbook. I assume that's what the question was - I don't want to give you the "full-spec, what's-in-the-bag" version as I hate to sound like a gear-geek.


@ Sangeeta... I will be pleased to keep on posting slightly anthropomorphic "funny animal pictures" for you. I am glad someone else finds the idea of a sceptical hyena pup amusing. :)

Waiting again... for the next time again


#46 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:42 AM

Despite such comfortable tents and free laundry, I was starting to look a little the worse for wear by Day 7...

Posted Image

Edited by pault, 09 November 2011 - 07:43 AM.

Waiting again... for the next time again


#47 ZaminOz

ZaminOz

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,390 posts
  • Local time: 09:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Perth, West Australia
  • Category 1:Born in Africa
  • Category 2:Conservationist/Naturalist

Posted 09 November 2011 - 07:47 AM

Despite such comfortable tents and free laundry, I was starting to look a little the worse for wear by Day 7...

:D
*******
Warning, if any safari camps wish to employ me as a guide, I expect a salary far, far, more commensurate than my actual experience!

#48 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 09 November 2011 - 09:28 AM

In the morning we went straight out to see the Monico pride, who had been clearly gathering for a hunt as we had left them in the near darkness the evening before. However, they had now clealry killed and finished whatever eating there was to do as they were all back, laid out flat and with bulging bellies. Most were obscured under the fly-free croton bushes, with just a leg here, a tail there, protruding. Three cubs were playing "king of the castle" on a big termite mound, but apart from that there was little action, even though plenty of lions.

Posted Image

Next stop was to watch a herd of impalsa getting very excited as a bachelor herd came in close. Lots of bounding about and a couple of skirmishes ensued.

Posted Image


Then it was time for the leopard song (only previously ever performed in my head). Go on... you know the tune!

Follow the river that's dry
Follow the river that's dry
Follow, follow, follow, follow
Follow the rainbow over the stream,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream
Follow, follow, follow, follow
Follow the river that's dry
We're off to see the leopard, the wonderful leopard - or not?
You'll find he is a wiz of a cat, if ever a leopard there was.
If ever, or never a leopard there was, its worth all your day because
Because, because, because , because, because
Because of the wonderful things that he does.
We're off to see the leopard, the wonderful leopard - or not?

Down by the lugga the bush is thick and spotting anything is clearly going to be difficult, but Nelson is determined and on we go. We see our first dik-diks of the trip, and once Nelson accepts that we were not joking when we said we wanted to see dik diks, we magically started to see more - naturally what we see and what Nelson sees are two entirely different things and the thicker the bush or the further the distance the bigger the difference grows. Mr B (actually, very nice Mr B may I remind you) noticed what he was told to notice but Mrs B actually turned out to be a very good spotter by any standards, and racked up a few finds for us.

Posted Image

The "riverside" here was very different from that in Ol Pejeta, where big Fever Trees grow along the riverbanks, providing lots of shade and convenient spots for leopards to hang. Here the whistling thorn remains the common tree, and small, twisted, dense acacias are the leopard's only relaible choice of perch (there are some other trees, but not common).

We moved along the lugga for nearly two hours but no luck. Just the dik-diks and a few birds to show for it. So just before 9 we turned off and heading uphill for breakfast. Without any real trees in much of Olare Orok (I make it sound very depresssing and barren, but think about the Mara as Olare Orok without the Whistling Thorn and you'll get the picture). Our first choice breakfast bush was found to be occupied by three hyenas during our pre-disembarkation check.

Sorry mate... taken.

Posted Image

But we found an alternative bush with a beautiful view all the way over the reserve and into the Serengeti. There were giraffes wandering along the Mara River (near Rekero unless my sense of direction was off) and wildebeest on the open plains. From here though we could clearly see that the migration was over, so no expectation of a crossing. Nelson confirmed that a crossing was unlikely, although he said there were still some wildebeest that would be returning to Tanzania, so it was not impossible. No way I'm spending all today looking for leopards and all day tomorrow waiting for a crossing , I thought.

After breakfast we find a cheetah and cub relaxing. We'd revisit them if the afternoon on our way back out to a leopard hunt (us doing the hunting, not the elusive leopard I am afraid). They were awake, clearly hungry and relatively alert, but happy to scout for prey from a prone position under the tree.

Posted Image


And in the afternoon the cub spied some potential prey!


But how to kill it?

Posted Image


Confusion!

Posted Image

We also stopped off to watch a male giraffe trying to mate. THe female appeared ready and accepting but he couldn't get it up (get his body up on top of hers, I mean). We waited for a while but the foreplay got less rather than more intense and as it was lunchtime we decided to leave them to it.

Posted Image

Since the afternoon is going to be more leopard hunting I declare it Mongoose Afternoon. It was intended humorously but while looking intensely and unsuccessfully for the leopard we "happened" to see dwarf, slender, banded and white-tailed mongooses. We also saw some baboons, including one with a white leg, but it is dull weather, the bush is thick and nothing stays in view for long. I haven't processed any photos from this afternoon yet - it was that dull. Saw a bushbuck and other than the mongooses, excitement level was low. I can't even remember the sundowner and if we had one (maybe we had three and that's why I don't remember?).

No problem though - every drive is enjoyable even if not every drive can be memorable. But this is the trouble with these leopard hunts .... putting all of your eggs in one basket. Could have stayed near the cheetahs!


(Edit: Hang on... cheetah cub trying to hunt a tortoise, four different kinds of mongoose, a baboon with a white leg... how is that not memorable? Spoiled brats with their "Oh we barely saw any leopards this time..." trip reports. :angry: )

Edited by pault, 09 November 2011 - 09:37 AM.

Waiting again... for the next time again


#49 samburumags

samburumags

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,235 posts
  • Local time: 02:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bize Minervois, France
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:19 AM

Just love this report Pault. The Dik Dik is gorgeous, such a difficult animal to photograph, especially with a "Brownie" !!!! :lol:
But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")

#50 Jochen

Jochen

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,615 posts
  • Local time: 02:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Belgium
  • Category 1:Wildlife Photographer/Artist
  • Category 2:Travel Agent

Posted 09 November 2011 - 06:58 PM

Despite such comfortable tents and free laundry, I was starting to look a little the worse for wear by Day 7...


Well, ONE part still looks rather clean...

:D

#51 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 8,167 posts
  • Local time: 01:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:27 AM

Love that cheetah cub/tortoise pic, Paul!!!!

www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#52 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:41 AM

Despite such comfortable tents and free laundry, I was starting to look a little the worse for wear by Day 7...

Well, ONE part still looks rather clean... :D


I keep the armpits clean too! :D

Waiting again... for the next time again


#53 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:41 AM

Photos are getting a bit scarcer now, as I haven't really gone through those of the last three days in detail yet.

Today is the big day; an all day trip into the reserve. We were actually supposed to go the day before but Mr B wanted time to acclimatize and we didn’t mind what day we went as we only wanted one visit this time – preferring to explore Olare Orok. At Bush Camp you are usually taken on an all day trip into the reserve at least once for every three nights you spend at the camp, for which there is no additional charge. But in exciting times (or dull times in Olare Orok) you may be taken there more often (especially if things are happening in the reserve very close to Olare Orok). If you want to request to go more often you need to pay the reserve fee. You won’t generally see Kicheche promising any of the above as “programs” are of course determined by the situation on the ground. There are apparently real people who will have the most wonderful sightings and then complain because they didn’t get their “promised” full day in the reserve.

Today’s “program started with the jackal den which is almost in sight of the camp. As on previous stays, visits to view young predators seem rationed, which I am sure everybody will agree is a good thing. We didn’t even know the den was there, so we weren’t clamouring to go until Nelson and the rest of the guiding team decided it was our “turn”.

Light is still very low when we arrive but four healthy jackal pups in full on “play” mode is a great way to start the day.

Posted Image


Posted Image


My eye is generally glued to the viewfinder of my camera, trying to follow the flying balls of fur, but I can hear some knees melting around me when one comes right up to the vehicle to check us out and then cocks her little head to one side.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Soon after 7 we leave them and head for our destination. The drive into the reserve is interesting enough, but apart from some lions, for which we don’t stop long today, it is just the herbivores. One long stretch is very quiet indeed. At close to 8 we come across another Bush Camp vehicle, parked with a couple of other vehicles next to a seasonal looking river (I assume a tributary of the Talek, but again I didn’t ask – for some reason I am not in a mapping mood this trip, which I regret now). There are also three vehicles parked on the other side of the river. This can only mean one thing – Mr B’s leopard at last! We’re just in time to catch him (the leopard, not Mr B.) emerging from long grass/reeds in an “I might be serious, I might just like walking this way” stalking pose. He stalks, disappears, stalks, disappears, appears briefly one last time, and then is gone. Poof!

Posted Image


We drive around for a short while but not a sign. After ten minutes unsighted he could be anywhere in those reeds and bushes, and may not emerge again until the evening, if ever. So after watching a couple of beeeaters, we move on.

Posted Image

By now some of you will have worked out roughly what is going to happen, from the various teasers in the description of the rpevious day.

Nelson is on the radio to one of the other Bush Camp guides. They’ve been talking briefly but regularly since the jackals this morning, and I know from the tone, from past experience that they are discussing something very interesting. “Another leopard” Nelson tells us at last as we approach a familiar place. This is where we parked near the Big Cat Diary vehicle as Jackson beamed out the story of Olive and her cubs “live” in 2008. We’re back in Hollywood and the stars are out - with their attendant paparazzi.


We drive in to the “press area” and see Olive’s latest cub, a sub-adult female, and get a very drief glimpse of Olive herself. There is a kill lodged halfway up a tree and there are a lot of vehicles and photographers surrounding it (at a respectable distance I guess, but it’s crowded. One of the best spots is occupied by a couple we know from the camp, and they are obviously there for the duration – waiting for shots of the leopard feeding or dragging the kill higher into the tree. There’s no really bad behavior going on, but there are too many vehicles in a tight space. I know we can wait and Nelson will get us a decent spot – he’ll park strategically so he can slip in to a vacant area as soon as the action starts – we have an ally in a prime position who will help. But it is not long to breakfast time and of course I am not alone, so we agree we’ll go for an early breakfast and maybe come back for a look later (we know this is essentially a decision not to spend more time with the leopards, as if something does happen a plague of vehicles will descend within 15 minutes).


We park for breakfast on a slope, just below two topi males blustering over a bit of bald ground on the ridge of a hill (not even a termite mound – this is topi central and every termite mound seems to be occupied by 9am). We are really quite close to them but although they initially look uneasy when we get out of the vehicle, they soon lose interest in us.

Posted Image


An impala that comes across us is not as cool and bolts. During breakfast we notice some wildebeest starting to mass nearby. At first we don’t take much notice, as we had already decided that we weren’t going to spend all day waiting for a crossing that would very likely not happen. But they are gathering very fast (I never knew a herd could grow this quick) and Nelson seemed to have the same feeling as me – this crossing was very likely to happen. More than me, he thinks he knows where they are going to cross and we should go and see. We all five pack the breakfast things in two minutes flat and as we start to drive, the wildebeest start to move.

We arrive back with the gathered photographers within a couple of minutes, and Nelson stops in a spot giving him access to the river banks two ways (the Hollywood Bowl, as I may be alone in calling it, is a river, but flooding has created a wide passage which means there is a shallow, wide gorge in the dry season, with a river in the middle of it. There are a lot of trees and bushes and so to observe the action on the river an in the gorge you need to be parked on the edge of the “gorge” – they are of course river banks, but that would be misleading – there is a long distance between the “banks” and the river itself in normal flow. We turn off the engine and wait for barely a minute when Nelson starts up again and heads off to the right. We can see wildebeest pouring into the gorge through the trees, but no clear views at all. Then suddenly we are out in the open and stopped right in front of them, flooding up hill and then flooding down and into the gorge and across the fairly shallow river.

Posted Image


Of course it is dusty and chaotic and becomes a lot more so as the wildebeest column starts to split in two, pursued left and right by a white periscope sticking up from the reeds – a leopard is in there with them and she (it is Olive we see later) is trying to select one from the speeding mass. We get brief glimpses of her and her tail, and she goes left and then right and then back again, but can generally only follow her by wildebeest movements. Then we lose her completely for a couple of seconds and a wildebeest to the right collides with something and falls in the water…. except it didn’t fall because when it gets up there is a leopard clamped to its neck, who must have hit the wildebeest like a train. They are in sight only briefly and then disappear into the water with a splash. Suddenly all the wildebeest are gone and it is almost quiet, and the dust clears a bit and the wildebeest staggers out from some long grass and collapses, with leopard still attached to its throat. It occurs to me that this is an overly dramatic and intense experience and I might wake up any moment in my tent looking forward to my day in the Mara; but I take a few photos just in case.

Posted Image

The kill is quiet and clean – she bites the neck and pulls it forward, forcing the wildebeest’s feet back and making kicking or butting nearly impossible. Near death the wildebeest makes a huge final effort and gets in a couple of kicks, but the leopard moves her weight again like a wrestler and it is over.

Posted Image

At this point I become fully aware that everyone else from the kill-in-the-tree and a few other vehicles have joined us, but it is only after this that things start to get really busy. But this had been Nelson’s “spot” and I suspect he was feeling a little bit proud of himself ... but only from an extra bit of wattage on the smile when he greeted other Maasai guides he knew; for people like him something like this is an exceptional but not at all unique experience - for that we would have needed the wildebeest to return for a crossing the other way, pursued by a pack of wild dogs.

After the wildebeest had been released by the leopard, the clean up crew arrived, in the form of Olive’s fully grown son. This one apparently refuses to leave home, although he is monster-sized and his mother had obviously mated the previous year. He grabbed the carcass and dragged it into cover in the long grass that had obscured Olive from the wildebeest until they were already committed to the crossing and she went among them. Still-panting and wet mother and son had a brief touch and then she slowly walked up and away into some rocks, where there are presumably some nice cool caves. She's old now and it showed a bit after the kill (not at all during it). Since they were all fed (the kill on the tree which had started everything) two minutes later he followed her and it was as if nothing had ever happened.

It was only 10.30 now. Certainly it wasn’t time for lunch, so we’d have to go and look for a follow up to that. Since we were in Hollywood anyway, we popped in to see the two remaining cheetah brothers, who were sitting under a tree with bulging bellies, napping but not quite sleeping. This was our fifth meeting with them, and they really did look to be a little sad, but that was certainly just our imaginations.

Posted Image


Since they were obviously going to take a long time to sleep off the meal, we left them to it. Not far away (but far enough) Nelson spotted a lion in a stand of bushes. As we got closer it turned into two lions, and then four as we saw there were two very young cubs - short, bendy leg but running age; ready to join the pride. The flies were clearly annoying the mother and after a short while she got up and walked off, snarling at the flies and followed by her cubs.

Posted Image


She resettled in another stand of bushes a short way off and although there were still a lot of flies, she seemed more content and allowed the cubs to suckle as she drifted off to sleep.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Full with milk the cubs played halfheartedly for a short while and then assumed the same “belly up” position as their mother.

With stops for a few birdies and others, it was after 12 now and so we could reasonably head somewhere for lunch. On the way we came across another lioness with young cubs, and saw some hyenas, as well as a brief glimpse of a reedbuck in a lugga. As we approached our lunch spot there appeared to be more wildebeest around – but there were also more giraffes and topis so that probably didn’t mean anything.


Lunch was in a beautiful spot from where we did not see a single other vehicle for the hour we stayed there. Tuna sandwiches would have tasted fantastic after the morning we had enjoyed, but lunch was genuinely excellent.


During lunch a column of wildebeest started running past us, about 800 meters away. By the time we finished lunch the column had been running past us for 15 minutes and it was still going, with wildebeest appearing from every direction to join it. Since we were only 10 minutes drive away from the Mara River and that is the direction that the column was now heading it became clear how we were going to spend our afternoon.

Edited by pault, 10 November 2011 - 08:35 AM.

Waiting again... for the next time again


#54 samburumags

samburumags

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,235 posts
  • Local time: 02:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bize Minervois, France
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:54 AM

Phew! Give me 10 mins and then carry on!!
But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")

#55 COSMIC RHINO

COSMIC RHINO

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 3,650 posts
  • Local time: 12:17 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:sydney australia
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Environmentalist

Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:13 AM

LEWA AND OL PEJETA

I was reading some lewa publicity material, one of their major financial supporters was checking things on the net and came across a notice to sell ol pejeta broken up into small farming lots.

the supporter contacted lewa about it, and ol pejeta was purchased in bulk 1/3 to the supporter ,1/3 to lewa and 1/3 to someone else to be kept as a game reserve.


also, lewa sends surplus animals to ol pejeta

one of the craig family sons is the boss of ol pejeta.

Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.


#56 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:48 AM

Thank you Cosmuic Rhino... presumably what you are desacribing is what happened in 2004 or 2005?

Waiting again... for the next time again


#57 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 8,167 posts
  • Local time: 01:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:12 AM

What can i say???? Phenomenal!!!! and you are a great photographer!!!!!!

www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#58 pault

pault

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,679 posts
  • Local time: 08:17 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangkok
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:00 AM

We drive and catch up with the column, which is still stretching as far as we can see behind us, although getting thinner now. I can hear their bleating now and the sound of their hooves. After a few minutes of driving we reach the place where they have paused, about 100m from the Mara River. Over the next 40 minutes they start to move in two different directions towards the river but stop before they get there so there are now basically two herds, 150 meters apart but difficult to observe from a single place. So we choose the left herd and ignore the right. Some of the wildebeest turn around and head away from the river, only to stop and then turn back 10 minutes later, mingling with new arrivals. Some run between the two herd, seemingly unable to deicde which to join. At first there are only Kicheche vehicles and some of the guides' friends fromother camps - what we'd seen was the start and I suppose a lot of people had rushed from far away to see the first crossing of the day and were not anywhere near this aprt of the Mara, even if they had heard of the possible crossing. As time passed more vehicles arrived and I'd describe it as very busy, except that compared to when we were here in September 2008 it was relatively quiet and I knew from pictures that it had got busier since then - so let's call it "a little busy". No minibuses at all.... not one on our side of the river.

A little later Nelson announces that a crossing is not imminent so let's go down to the river and get out of the vehicle - maybe look at some crocodiles. Seemed like a good idea and so we did that and it was nice to get some shade too - it was very hot and there was no shade where we were waiting watching the herd. Down by the river we met Ben, our guide from 2009, discussing crocodiles with the couple who had shared the vehicle with us for a couple of drives in Laikipia - he was guiding them. All had come from the new Kicheche Valley Camp in Naibosho Conservancy - quite a drive from there to here.

Our little break was disturbed by the sound of hooves - the wildebeest were moving and Nelson's friend was confirming by radio that he better get back out. At this point nobody could say where they were going to cross (if at all) and so nearly all the vehicles were waiting in the open. But the alarm was a false one and the movement stopped, reversed and then reversed again. As we were! Across the river about 15 vehicles pulled out of Serena within five minutes of each other (again only two of these were minibuses). They all parked on the opposite bank and two were moved on by a ranger patrol that arrived two minutes later, as they could have been blocking a wildebeest exit point.

A while later there was still no action and it was 4.45. No way we could wait beyond 5.30 anyway but we all agreed to wait until 5 and then call it a (good) day. At 4.52 my wife and Mr B suggested we just go, but the rest of us said "5". At 4.56, I started to get ready to move. At 4.58 the radio crackled and it was Nelson's friend, who had a different view to us. They were starting to cross.

We zipped the 150 meters to the riverbank - could have got ugly in a wacky races kind of way, but everyone more or less behaved and Nelson had his spot identified and made it there first. The wildebeest were already streaming down into the water and the scene was already heavily obscured by dust. The water was quite deep in the middle and there were three huge crocodiles nearby, one of which was clearly moving into position already.

I won't describe the crossing as you have all seen one. I can't deny that it is a special and intense experience, although a hunt on land beats it. This particular crossing was 99% wildebeest and I would think quite big for the time of year but certainly not one of the really big ones.

Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


Posted Image


After the crocodile incident the swimming got a bit more intense...

Posted Image


I didn't think there had been any fatalities but there was so much going on you could easily miss a lot. This picture suggests at least one wildebeest went down - single horn next to crocdile head in the background.

Posted Image


That's enough for today. We saw four young lions out on their own, a clutch of newboorn goslings, two pied kingfishers hunting (they were hovering at our eye level) and a caracal on the way back to Olare Orok.

Posted Image

Yes, a Caracal. At last... ;)

Edited by pault, 10 November 2011 - 10:22 AM.

Waiting again... for the next time again


#59 samburumags

samburumags

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,235 posts
  • Local time: 02:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bize Minervois, France
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:33 AM

Excuse my ignorance but is Olare Oruk in the vicinity of the Serena or closer to Governors area? I have a Mara map but cannot find it,
But, in the gathering darkness, deep behind my soul, someone, something whispers "Africa"" (Mark Owens "Secrets of the Savannah")

#60 Anita

Anita

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,676 posts
  • Local time: 09:17 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hong Kong
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:47 AM

Your day was an absolute dream! Just absolutely incredible. Thanks a lot for the brilliant pics.





© 2006 - 2014 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.
Welcome guest to Safaritalk.
Please Register or Login to use the full facilities.