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Cheetah week at Mara Plains; Loita Migration; Fabulous tented camp and lots lots more


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#1 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

Hello, Greetings from the Dubai airport en route to home after a fabulous week at Mara Plains.

Where can I possibly start? The Mara Plains experience was absolutely fantastic!!! The folks from Great Plains truly got it right - a great blend of a flexible tented camp with a great game viewing ethos combined with a great service standard.... be it, the game drive vehicle, the quality of the guides, awesome food served in camp to every minute detail. Truly my best experience in the Mara so far!

Lorna and Richard make the camp what it is - IMHO they are the best camp managers I've ever had! They know what it takes to make things work ........ be it on game drive and what you want to do with your activities or the high service standards in camp. I had Daniel as my guide - a very enthusiastic young man with a great work ethic!!!

The game viewing - for being a cheetah fan I can hardly ask for anything more. I was very apprehensive having read about the sporadic cheetah viewing in the mara in recent times ...... There are plenty of cheetah all over the Mara and I literally had cheetah on every game drive.

Members of Shingo's family are putting on a show. Shingo with two daughters are killing gazelle at will. We had quite a few sightings of them. The other group of her cubs (4) are killing gazelle and impala fawn at will. I've read various blogs that they are all male. Wrong - it is actually one female and 3 males in the group that has split off ..... soon the female will branch off on her own. One of the kills were on one side of Moniko hill, with entire Moniko pride sleeping on the other side of the hill.

Also saw the remaining two of Honey's boys. They really are beasts.

Another female cheetah with a 9 month old cub.

Several other cheetah were spotted in the reserve; several female cheetah including one that jumps on vehicles - Did not venture there to view them due to the crowded situation there. Also a cheetah with young cubs in the Mara triangle right now from hearing reports on the safarilink flight back to Nairobi.

Lions all over the place.

The rains have begun in the Mara. Unfortunately, last few days the light for photography was quite flat - but, it is what it is and you take what you get.

We only ventured into the reserve on one or two days ...... the number of cars on that Narok side was quite hard to deal with. Luckily, the Olare Orok has plenty to offer. Including, vast herds from the little known Loita wing of the migration. Great transformation from the day i got in to the day i left .... herds all over the plains in front of camp.

Two prides of Lions in the OOC. Both with cubs of varying ages....... the Moniko Pride, with their heart of the territory being the famous Moniko hill. The other being Enkoyeni pride with younger cubs. We also saw the two pride males of Moniko one morning, one of whom is fondly called, "Hasselhof".

Saw a couple of Notch's boys in the reserve.

Overall, a remarkable trip -

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 04 March 2012 - 02:49 AM.

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Botswana in my blood .......

#2 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:01 PM

I've read so much in recent times of a comparison between safaris in East Africa and Botswana. In my opinion, they are both very different and cannot be compared.

True, the volume of game viewing even out of the great migration months is truly mind boggling .... and the ease of finding the predators too! Plains game all over the place ....

Botswana does offer the limited human density and a very unique eco system that does have it's merits.

Let's not forget all the cattle herds with the bells and whistles all over the place, including the park (Narok side). Yet, who are we to judge this? It has been part of the eco-system and landscape for centuries ....... as said, both very different!!! Love them both!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 03 March 2012 - 06:28 AM.

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#3 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:08 PM

Being cheetah obsessed, I passed on a couple of Leopard sightings that normally had a gathering of vehicles. The only sighting I had was of Acacia and her cub(Olare Orok). Poor light so I just enjoyed the sighting.
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#4 Game Warden

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:41 PM

Get photoshop warmed up for some intense action MAC!

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#5 pault

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:42 PM

Great to hear that you had such a good time and got the full cheetah experience - although I am sure you put in the necessary work to get it! LOL

Waiting again... for the next time again


#6 twaffle

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:25 PM

Wonderful report, thanks Hari. I haven't tried OOC but it sounds worth trying out. I suppose cost will be a consideration at Great Plains. Did you have a private vehicle? Silly question!! :P

Would love to see pix.

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#7 Game Warden

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

Photos already! ;)

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#8 Atravelynn

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:25 PM

Welcome back and it is great to learn of your wonderful experience.
When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#9 Safaridude

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:17 AM

Sound phenomenal. Looking forward to some cheetah shots.

#10 Anita

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:28 AM

Sounds terrific Hari- look forward to the pics!!

#11 KathBC

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:59 AM

Welcome back! Bring on the cheetah pics! :)

#12 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:23 AM

Thanks all ...... shall try and get cracking on those pictures!!! Yes, Twaffle ...... a Private vehicle.

Anybody have specific questions on anything give me a shout!

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 03 March 2012 - 06:30 AM.

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Botswana in my blood .......

#13 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:27 AM

The Mara Plains safari vehicle is brilliant!!! I never thought you could have a open sided vehicle and not get wet in a thunderstorm until this trip .......... they have awesome flaps that you can drop down and cover the sides. Roll them back up when the storm passes - and canvas on the top that does not leak!!!! Ponchos that work amazingly well ...... Easy access to mount a clamp for stability. Also, like Kwando in Botswana - they have lunch brought to you when you want to stay with active cheetahs.......... Brilliant!!!

Let me not make it sound like it's an ultra-luxury camp ...... far from it! atleast at the moment - they have a refurb plan for later in the year. It is a homely atmosphere - simple tents, but, with all the amenities. Most importantly, the important stuff like awesome vehicles and good wholesome meals are all provided ......... I think these were my best safari meals bar none ............ they also have private photo lessons from Lorna the hostess (a professional photographer herself!!!) ...... Private vehicles come with Canon kits should you wish to avail them.

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 03 March 2012 - 06:37 AM.

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#14 Paolo

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:35 AM

Welcome back, Hari! Glad you had a great trip.

Mara Plains seems to be really flourishing right now.

#15 AKR1

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:09 PM

Welcome back Hari. Mara Plains sounds fabulous. After our trip to the Mara two years ago I was convinced the private conservancies are the way to go. By the way, you are famous at Kwando. They all know you and Hobbs in particular sends his warm regards as does BK.

#16 Game Warden

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:12 PM

Get back to your photo editing AKR1... ;)

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#17 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:50 PM

Welcome back Hari. Mara Plains sounds fabulous. After our trip to the Mara two years ago I was convinced the private conservancies are the way to go. By the way, you are famous at Kwando. They all know you and Hobbs in particular sends his warm regards as does BK.



Thanks so much, AKR1. Can hardly wait to see Hobbs again - am just in the process of planning for Kwando later in the year. While I was at Mara Plains, I met a lady who just got there from LK and had Hobbs guiding her. Loved your trip report and as GW says, look forward to photos.

Thanks a lot, Paolo. Yes Mara Plains was amazing. The good thing about Mara Plains is, you can sneak into the reserve when it's quiet on the vehicle front as it's so close to the border.
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#18 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:48 PM

Ole Sereni is a hotel i stayed at in Nairobi for the overnight, after my short trip to Ethiopia for work. Yes, a large hotel - but, was very good for an overnight stay. It's very close to the international airport and you can head out to Wilson from there the next morning. Very good service!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah, 05 March 2012 - 04:49 AM.

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Botswana in my blood .......

#19 russell

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:34 PM

Thanks for the update, Hari.

Just checked into the Ole Sereni - heading to Mara Plains tomorrow. I will expect some pictures on my return :)

Edited by russell, 03 March 2012 - 08:34 PM.

Au revior ST - its been a pleasure, see you in 2015!


#20 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:35 AM

Enjoy, Russell!!! Have a great trip!!!!!!!
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