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Kenya, Masai Mara in May


Bush dog
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I was in the Mara & in the Triangle in May 2012. I had been already there 3 times, in 1989, 1994 and 2008, always in July and had been very disappointed.

 

But this time, what a great 12 days it was:
The Mara so green, the elephants and the plains' game, so happy with that juicy green grass to taste.

Almost exclusive use of the Mara, never more than 5 vehicles on a sighting. A

Almost exclusive use of a camp 8 days, being the only guest and as a consequence exclusive use of a car during 10 days without paying for it.

Only 4 days with heavy showers at the end of the afternoon and only 1 while still on game drive.

And last but not least, no dust and a great light.

 

If you do not absolutely want to see the Migration and its train of kills, going there off-season, only has a lot of advantages (low prices, much less people, better light,....) and very few inconveniences, the most serious one being to be stuck in deep mud in a remote place at that time of the year.

It seems that going off road, at that time of the year, is tolerated in the Mara, because of the very low density of vehicles but also because the roads are so muddy and heavily damaged by the ballooning tractors. I did not see a single ranger during 7 days. In the Triangle it's very different, they are very strict with the rules. I saw patrols 2 to 3 times/day.

 

Some introduction pictures

 

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The first camp, Entim was an old fashion camp without useless luxuriousness, completely hidden in a forest. It must be different now, it was refurbished last year. The food was good and the staff very nice. The level of guiding in this camp was fairly good.

 

During the first 7 days at Entim, I saw :
- The "Rekero" pride (3 females, 4 subadults male and 4 cubs), almost everyday

 

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A few more pictures of the Rekero pride

 

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One of the 2 cubs of the Longaï pride, lost by his pride approached the Rekero pride. He looked very frightened. When they noticed his presence, the 11 lions congregated around him, he was terrified. Fortunately, they accepted him and invited him to go with them when they moved. The next day, when I saw the Longaï pride, he was with them again but one of the female had a fresh cut on her back. Perhaps she went to fetch the cub and had some problems getting him back?

 

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That cub was easy to recognize because of the malformation of his ear

 

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Wow, stunning pictures! The sunset and the second and third lion pics especially are just outstanding. Great stuff, looking forward to more. :)

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Thank you, mlchael-ibk, for your appreciation

 

Here are some more pictures about :

 

- The "Longaï" pride (6 females & 2 cubs) that I saw several times,

 

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- The film star Notch (with the Longaï pride) or Kali,

 

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- The 3 Notch boys, the first day with the Rekero pride, then I saw them on a buffalo kill with a female near Talek, where they had killed a another male some weeks ago,

 

One of the Notch boys

 

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@@Bush dog

Great lion pictures (especially like the close up of the head resting on another lion)

And the green scenery is beautiful.

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@@TonyQ

 

Thank you for your appreciation

 

The next interesting sighting was :

 

- A very relax young female leopard, seen 3 times, at Rekero Camp level, but on the opposite side of the river, climbing on trees, stalking and coming close to the cars, using those to observe potential preys,

 

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Absolutely fabulous photos @@Bush dog! I will not point particular images, because they are all stunning. Green Mara looks fantastic, looking forward for more. Thanks for sharing this with us, I will be closely following this report.

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- One day, from a distance, in the afternoon, we saw all the animals, running away in all directions, cheetahs without any doubt. When we arrived on the sighting, a hyena had already taken the prey, a baby Thompson and was very busy devouring it. She was eager to make a kill, perhaps having some cubs somewhere. She jumped on a first car and then on a second one. Finally, she jumped on my car, it was almost like touching the wild. I made a lot of shots at 70 mm with my 70-300 zoom. I really regretted not to have my wide angle but do you really expect to be with the animals almost eye to eye???? She only moved away when we had to go. During all this time, she did not have a single look at me, so focused she was on the surrounding plains, what a great experience!!!!!

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This one looks worried

 

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The cheetah on my car

 

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Beautiful pictures, Mike. You are an excellent photographer and I especially like the framing/ angles of many of your shots. Agree with you that the Mara off season really delivers. A few questions:

Which camp did you stay in the triangle? Did you see any Rhinos. Did you stay in the triangle the entire time or roam the rest of the Mara as well. How about the conservancies- did you go to any of them in your 10 days.

Thanks for your report.

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@@FlyTraveler

 

Thank you for your appreciation and interest for this report

 

@@AKR1

 

Thank you for your nice compliments.

 

So far, all the pictures were taken in the Mara. Triangle's images will follow soon. I did not go to the conservancies.

 

I saw black rhinos, one at the end of a game drive, just outside Entim in the tick bushes and a female and her baby in the Triangle

 

In the Triangle, more precisely just outside, I stayed at Olonana.

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Lovely report, Mike. Enjoying the report and wonderful images. Is that Malaika by any chance on your vehicle?

 

I was at Entim this past March - was lucky with Leopard and cub. Camp was still pretty nice without unnecessary luxury - although, recently I think they just re-did things like furniture and fixtures etc etc.,

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Hi Hari,

 

Indeed, it is Malaika on the roofs of the cars. 2 more pictures of a cheetah on a kill will follow and I think that it is also Malaika.

The young female leopard is known under the name of Bahati.

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THe other species seen are : a black rhino, some elephants and hippos, a lot of giraffes, some buffaloes, waterbucks, the usual plains' game (al lot of topis, some kongonis), dik diks, many banded mongooses, a lot of hyenas, olive baboons and ostriches.

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To be complete, I also see :

 

- 2 nomadic young lions,
- An old male leopard,

and another female cheetah near Talek

 

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Fascinating account of the cub in the wrong pride. Your photos have made a convincing argument for May. If I recall, you were not as thrilled with a May Serengeti trip.

Great stuff here!

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Hi Lynn,

 

Indeed, I was not as thrilled with a May Serengeti trip in 2010 (West & Central Serengeti) but I was with the one I made in May 2011 (Central, Ndutu & Matiti).

 

Anyway, from my experience, and you more than anyone else, with yours, will agree, when it's about wildlife & nature, any time of the year can be disappointing or extremely rewarding, and this what ever tons of literature or past experiences may tell.

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Excellent sightings, it appears that you had lots of activity and I really enjoyed the photos. What a time you must have had with the lost cub and I'm glad that he found his pride in the end. Looking forward to more.

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The second camp, Olonana is more like a boutique-hotel(camp??), a bit more expensive but also having more luxury, located at 30 minutes from Ololo gate. The food was excellent and the staff very professional. The level of guiding was a bit better than at Entim.

 

Though it was still very good, there was less activity than in the Mara and thus less good photographic opportunities

During those 5 days in the Triangle I saw:
- The "Out of Africa" pride (1 male, 5 females & 9 cubs), a second male was seen alone further in the park,
- 1 female cheetah, on a kill and one early morning along the road to the gate not far from the masaï manyatta,
- 3 leopards together on the same tree (an unusual sighting), one of the 3 had been seen the day before,

 

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I'm not familiar with that side of the park too much - but, @@Bush dog ...... 3 Leopards together!!!! What luck! I imagine it's one of those once in a lifetime sightings.

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- 1 single lioness eager to make a kill, perhaps having some cubs somewhere,
- A black rhino with a young one, same species as in the Mara but more elephants and buffaloes, more waterbucks, zebras this time and elands.
I did not see any wildebeest at all during those 12 days.

 

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@@madaboutcheetah

 

The guide gave me an explanation about those 3 leopards :

He thought that it was a female with her cub, already subadult, the third one (an adult male) being one son of a previous litter that was still in good relation with his mother.

In the modern world, it can be compared to a backward adolescent???

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A couple of pictures of an helmeted terrapin. You can see that a part of the shell at the right back is missing.

 

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Love the picture of the terrapin, not an animal we see too often on these pages. And still enjoying everything else - simply fantastic!

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