Jump to content

Furaha in Ruaha (and Selous) Aug/Sept 2013


stokeygirl

Recommended Posts

stokeygirl

Itinerary

Ruaha- Kwihala Camp 7 nights

Selous- Selous Impala Camp 4 nights

Zanzibar- Unguja Lodge 3 nights, Dhow Palace 1 night

 

This was my third visit each to Selous and Ruaha. So far Ruaha has been my favourite, as I’ve felt Ruaha has better and more diverse game viewing and some stunning scenery, plus very pleasantly low vehicle numbers.

 

I visited Kwihala last year in June for 8 nights and loved it- as far as I’m concerned they’re doing everything right- focussing on the safari and the guiding but with a comfortable but not over the top luxurious camp which is small (6 tents) and has a great atmosphere, all at quite a reasonable price.

 

I’ve struggled to find a camp I really like in Selous so this time decided to try Selous Impala which I’d heard good things about but have been put off before by their private dining policy. However, on this trip I was travelling with 2 friends so I thought this would be less of an issue. Although I haven’t felt Selous overall has as good game viewing as Ruaha, it does offer a contrasting environment, the chance to do river activities (especially good for birding)and some animals you can’t see in Ruaha or have a better chance of seeing in Selous (particularly wild dogs). So these were all the reasons for the 7-4 split in favour of Ruaha.

 

Warning- this trip report contains Fatuous Naming of Big Cats from the outset.........

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 201
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • stokeygirl

    110

  • kittykat23uk

    10

  • pault

    9

  • graceland

    8

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Then this happened-     Within seconds it went from lying to sitting, to launching itself in front of our vehicle. We hadn’t noticed the two male impalas that had been chasing each other, but

Lorenzo went first to investigate, and we followed. He’d found a female leopard who had escaped up a tree from the approaching lionesses.   This turned out to be the same leopard I’d seen on my

We watched the cheetah suffocate its prey, and then rest, panting from the exertion of the chase for a while, before dragging it to a slightly more shady spot and starting to tuck into its rear end.

Posted Images

stokeygirl

Kwihala- Cast of characters

 

Festo- he was our main guide for most of our activities, and he was also my main guide on my last visit

 

Pietro- head guide. Kwihala has a rota of freelance guides who come in for 3-4 month shifts, and Pietro is there from June-Sept and was there for my last visit in June 2012. He also does all the walking safaris.

 

Lorenzo- another guide, who we did a couple of drives with.

 

Leverd, Saidi and Tony- all junior/trainee guides. We were mostly accompanied by Leverd.

 

Sara- camp manager/host

 

Grumpy and Brother- dominant males of the local lion pride. Grumpy is so named because he has a track record of charging vehicles, particularly, it seems, when Pietro is driving. He’s not much of a looker, being quite scarred with an old injury near his eye which make his looks live up to his name.

 

The camp

Kwihala has 6 very spacious tents, tastefully furnishes and with an inside bathroom area separated by a curtain with loo, basin with running water and a bucket shower of the type with a large canvas “bucket” hanging outside. There’s an open sided mess tent with dining table and sofas and bar area. Lunches and brunches were eaten in the mess tent but for dinners the table was moved around to different locations out in the bush.

 

At the start of our stay we had wake up calls at 6am with coffee/tea brought to the tent, then leaving at 6:30, but later the guides decided it was time to move the schedule 15 mins earlier. In any case we were leaving before sunrise and would see the sun rise in the early part of the drive. They offered the option of coming back at 11-11:30 for brunch or taking a “bonnet breakfast” and coming back at 1-1:30pm for lunch. We found alternating the options worked well. Afternoon drives were at 4pm. They offered night drives and walks at an additional charge (due in part to extra park fees payable).

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

We arrived on the later Safari Airlink flight about 13:30 so headed straight to camp for lunch, quick shower then out for afternoon drive. There is an earlier flight with Coastal, which is the better choice if you are overnighting in Dar as it avoids the horrendous Dar traffic (and gets you to the park earlier!) but as we'd originally been flying with Kenya Airways, the later flight was necessary for the connection. However, we had a last minute switch to avoid Nairobi airport and ended up overnighting in Dar.

 

We fairly quickly found some lions (2 females, 2 cubs), which entertained us for much of the drive although we left them for a bit and then returned. The two lionesses were sleeping but the two cubs were playing with sticks and each other. These were part of Grumpy’s pride and there should have been 4 cubs (about 5 months) in total so it was a bit concerning we could only see two despite having a good hunt around. Grumpy and Brother were absent. These lions would become somewhat of a regular feature of our stay, so more to follow.

 

IMG_0374.JPGIMG_0418.JPGIMG_0437.JPGIMG_0456.JPGIMG_0532.JPGIMG_0600.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

That evening, Andrew Molinaro (Moli) and Noelle came for dinner. They used to manage Jongomero camp, and Moli has a reputation as an excellent walking guide. They have recently set up their own business, Kichaka Expeditions, running mobile walking safaris in Ruaha. I have booked a trip with them for next year and had mentioned I’d be at Kwihala and as they are good friends with Pietro, Festo and Sara and they had just finished a trip, they came to Kwihala for dinner and to stay the night. I sat next to Moli at dinner, and the drinks after dinner extended far beyond an hour that is really sensible on safari, but it was great to meet them and it was a very enjoyable evening. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone quite as passionate about what they do as Moli, and I am very much looking forward to going on safari with them. @@graceland has just returned from a trip with them, and I look forward to hearing more about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

The next morning we headed out, somewhat bleary eyed, on what was to become known as super Saturday. First we found the lionesses with all 4 cubs (phew!) in the Mwagusi riverbed.

IMG_0663.JPGIMG_0668.JPG

 

The lionesses headed off, presumably to hunt, leaving the cubs behind, at which point we heard a leopard calling from the direction the lionesses had headed.

 

IMG_0678.JPGIMG_0696.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Lovely shots of the cubs! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

Lorenzo went first to investigate, and we followed. He’d found a female leopard who had escaped up a tree from the approaching lionesses.

IMG_0702.JPGIMG_0714.JPG

 

This turned out to be the same leopard I’d seen on my previous trip, who was then known as Dada (daughter) but has since been renamed Furaha (Joy). She’s a very beautiful leopard that the guides have known since she was a small cub, and they spent quite a lot of time watching her and her mother when she was young, hence she’s very relaxed around vehicles. She didn’t spend much time in the tree but jumped down and we followed her for a while and had a lovely sighting as she approached the vehicle closely several times.

 

IMG_0721.JPGIMG_0730.JPGIMG_0742.JPGIMG_0723.JPGIMG_0745.JPGIMG_0747.JPGIMG_0751.JPGIMG_0753.JPGIMG_0755.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

We eventually lost her, so we popped by the lion cubs who were settling in to wait for mum and headed off on our drive.

 

IMG_0805.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

We saw some nice jackals, and lots of general game- giraffe, kudu, elephants.

 

IMG_0791.JPGIMG_0853.JPGIMG_0855.JPGIMG_0892.JPG

 

Festo had a call from another camp reporting a cheetah sighting, and we went to the area and spend quite a bit of time hunting for it unsuccessfully.

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

You couldn't ask for a better start to your trip really could you? :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

In the afternoon, Festo said the plan was to go and look for a coalition of 4 young male lions that Lorenzo had seen at the end of the morning, but on the drive to the area he got a call about another cheetah. It was quite a long way, and apparently had just eaten and was sleeping. However, the other couple in our car were leaving the next day and it was probably their last chance for cheetah so we decided to go for the cheetah although I was fully expecting a fairly uninteresting sighting of a fat sleeping cat. This time when we got there, there were 2 vehicles with the cheetah so it was easy to find, but they left straight away leaving the sighting to just the 2 Kwihala vehicles. Sure enough, the male cheetah was sleeping as expected, but it didn’t look too fat I thought. It perked up at the sound of the vehicles but quickly went back to flat cat mode.

 

IMG_0933.JPG

 

We sat with the cheetah waiting for brief openings of eyes, when it finally put its head up and looked alert.

 

IMG_0937.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

You couldn't ask for a better start to your trip really could you? :)

 

super Saturday isn't over yet........

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Let me guess, dogs too?!

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

Then this happened-

IMG_0939.JPGIMG_0941.JPGIMG_0942.JPGIMG_0943.JPGIMG_0944.JPGIMG_0945.JPGIMG_0946.JPGIMG_0947.JPGIMG_0948.JPGIMG_0949.JPGIMG_0950.JPGIMG_0951.JPGIMG_0952.JPGIMG_0953.JPGIMG_0954.JPGIMG_0955.JPG

 

IMG_0956.JPG

 

Within seconds it went from lying to sitting, to launching itself in front of our vehicle. We hadn’t noticed the two male impalas that had been chasing each other, but soon they had a third participant in their game of tag. One overtook the other as they turned and the cheetah was within reach of the trailing impala and brought it down in a cloud of dust.

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

We watched the cheetah suffocate its prey, and then rest, panting from the exertion of the chase for a while, before dragging it to a slightly more shady spot and starting to tuck into its rear end.

 

IMG_0962.JPGIMG_0973.JPGIMG_0987.JPGIMG_1028.JPGIMG_1038.JPGIMG_1049.JPGIMG_1071.JPGIMG_1075.JPGIMG_1095.JPGIMG_1104.JPGIMG_1110.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the cast of characters touch. Nice innovation. Looks like Super Saturday isn't finished but I have to sign off and just wanted to add a "wow" and say how much I am looking forward to the rest of this.

 

What a month for trip reports!

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

As we were far from camp we couldn’t stay any longer, and left for a leisurely drive back where I got to practice my backlit baboon photography and we watched a couple of elephants shredding a baobub.

 

IMG_1122.JPGIMG_1128.JPGIMG_1132.JPGIMG_1134.JPGIMG_1135.JPGIMG_1142.JPGIMG_1147.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm super impressed, what a great cheetah sequence and you made me laugh with your 'fatuous naming of cats'. Good old Grumpy!! :D

 

Can't wait for the next instalment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely fantastic day. The camp fire chat was no doubt very excited. How nice for the couple leaving the next day

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

It was indeed a very exciting day- the cheetah kill especially because it came out of nowhere. Even the guides were punching the air with excitement. I've seen a couple of cheetah kills before but not so completely out in the open and close up as this one.

 

It was an amazing end for the couple in our vehicle, and an amazing start for my friend who was on her first ever safari. Sadly my other friend was arriving a couple of days later so she missed it. However, there was still more action to come.

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

The next morning we found the lionesses and cubs again near the Mwagusi river, but this time Grumpy was with them.

 

IMG_1159.JPGIMG_1167.JPGIMG_1171.JPGIMG_1175.JPGIMG_1178.JPGIMG_1180.JPGIMG_1188.JPGIMG_1208.JPGIMG_1219.JPGIMG_1235.JPGIMG_1218.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
stokeygirl

I was starting to get déjà vu from my previous trip, where we spent a lot of time with Grumpy, Brother, 2 lionesses and 3 cubs a little older than these (8 months) who we found in similar locations and were well entertained by the playful cubs. I enquired about these cubs and Festo told me they were all 3 still alive and they saw them often.

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
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy