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Kenya the fabulous; Wild dogs of Laikipia; Malaika the show-stopper;Fantastic Mara Toto and Who said cheetahs are not seen too much in the Mara?


madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Dear All,

 

Greetings!!! In transit from nairobi and a super safari!!! What can I say??? Kenya rocks!!!

 

Thanks To Annabelle and Steve at Laikipia Wilderness Camp; The fabulous Great Plains Conservation Team in Kenya and Sangeeta at Chalo Africa who put this trip together for me.........

 

What can I say??? The weather was the only set back - lots of rains in Kenya and daily T'storms a feature of the safari. Some good photographic light combined with lots of gloomy grey skies........

 

First stop Laikipia - LWC was a breath of fresh air. Denning wild dogs ....... a great homely camp; fantastic scenery and vistas; rains definitely played it's part as the general game was more dispersed - no problem though ............ I had a super time.

 

The Mara rocked!!! First couple of days had some crowds - but, just like that the Mara was super empty ......... I've read so much on cheetahs being endangered in the mara. Really???? I had a great time with Malaika and her 5 cubs (including several private sightings) ...... That Look out area near the sand river and the Tanzania border was just breath taking. Super scenery and vistas ......... The Mara right now is green with super short grass; last of the Great migration heading towards the serengeti...... some of the Loita herds in the conservancy.

 

Big Thank You to my guide and friend Daniel Koya from the Great Plains ......... Guess what - right now the cheetah viewing in the reserve much better than in the conservancy. The Moniko and Enkoyani pride all over the place that cheetah in the OMC really hiding. That said - just as I went to the airstrip to fly out the two big cheetah boys (the Ololloo boys) came into the conservancy ........ Oh well!!!

 

Oh! I had a combination of Mara Toto and Mara Plains - guess what ............ a lioness chose to have her safe den site under the deck of Mara Plains and some of the tents are temporarily out of use for safety reasons. I was requested to stay put at Toto for the entire duration and I didn't mind ......... Thank you to Stella and her fabulous team!!! I went to Mara Plains for lunch to say hello to Amy and Sean, but, the Lioness was probably under the deck then............

 

Cheetahs seen - Malaika and cubs; Narasha; Rani; the olollo boys in the reserve; unknown female and another unknown male ........ had a couple of chats with the lady who runs the Mara Meru cheetah project ......... more details later. They are keeping a watchful eye on Malaika on a daily basis to ensure that the cars don't harass her. That said - there were hardly any cars! (atleast from day 2 of my visit)

 

......... One of the guides from sanctuary lodges mentioned that Kakenya went away to the serengeti after her run in with Lions (4 cubs left).

 

Stellar Leopard and cub sighting in the reserve.

 

I only spent two drives in the OMC - with Lions around every corner there at the moment ....... very little else. I had a wonderful wake up call from the Double cross males (Mohwak and Handsome) when they chose to roar away the night right outside Toto a couple days ago.

 

Also, had a wonderful sighting of the two Moniko males the other day - 0ne of them the most majestic Lions I've ever seen!

 

Overall, I LOVE KENYA even more than I did before ........... What can I say????

 

Trust everyone is doing well and chat soon!!!

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madaboutcheetah

More intrigued than ever before am I about Sala's camp ........ they have a fabulous location on the Sand River and possibly the closest camp to the look out area. Their facebook updates also talk about a very big pride of Lions in their immediate area. A definite must try for me next time ........ Previously, I was of the opinion that the reserve was unappealing to me ........ How wrong I was!!! Given the right time of the year - not only does it rock ......... but, the landscape and vistas are unlike any other in the greater Mara eco-system.

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Welcome back, Hari, glad to hear you had a cheetastic time. Looking forward to your pics! Safe travels back to India. :)

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madaboutcheetah

Ouch! seems like such a long time ago - but, I did have a night at the Emakoko ....... very wet and rainy. A short and quick drive to see a Rhino (also, miserable in the rain) ......... Liked the lodge - very comfortable and a quirky rescued impala that follows some of the staff around the lodge.

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Welcome back from me, as well Hari! Looking forward to seeing the photos.

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Welcome back, Hari! Glad you had a great trip - it's making me excited for mine coming up in February! Glad you saw lots of cheetah - and funny about the lion making her den under the tents at Mara Plains - wow - understandable they asked you to stay put at Mara Toto! Where did you see the leopard and cub?

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Sounds great...can't wait to see your Malaika pictures.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks all, for your welcome......

 

The Leopard and cub in the reserve - not far from Mara Toto. We had one sighting first thing in the morning - cars from other camps take a while to get there due to distance. When they did arrive, the cub usually hides anyway.

 

The Lioness moved her den under the deck - to think about it ...... that's probably as safe a place to den?

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Hari - Sounds like you had a fabulous trip. I spoke to Elena from Mara Meru Cheetah Project who updated me about your cheetah viewing.

 

Glad you've reconfirmed my assertion that the Mara - with the right guide and at the right time of year - can offer the same density of game viewing but without the crowds.

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madaboutcheetah

@@loafer247 - Thanks so much for your introduction ....... I have promised to send her all id images from all my previous visits to the Mara.

 

Also, will have a chat with her to see if we at Safaritalk can be of help in anyway for the project.....

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

First one .......... From yesterday morning

 

This is Mohawk; one of the Double Cross males.

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

As wonderful as everything is; KWS and Kenya has to get it's act together regarding their Elephants ........ Another one went down! and worse - her baby had to be adopted by Sheldrick's ...... Wake up Kenya!!!!

 

I read someone's facebook post recently where it said - 10 Elephants poached in 10 days.......

 

Right now there are Elephants all over the reserve and it doesn't look like the KWS has it's act together.......

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Sounds like you had a cat-atonic time, look forward to seeing more of the lions and the cheetahs too of course.

Edited by Treepol
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madaboutcheetah

Introducing; Mohawk .......... Early Friday morning last week, he and his brother (Handsome) were right on our door step at Mara Toto roaring away into the night (I woke up and recorded the sound on my iphone) ;)

 

I don't have a picture of Handsome because the only times I saw him - he was always sleeping!

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madaboutcheetah

Before my trip; I told myself not to be predator obsessed .......... ;) Then again - if not in the Mara, where else will you find the obsessive predators and their prey in huge densities?

 

Either way - anytime i saw Topi in good light ...... we ensured a stop ;) (unless we had cheetah in good light, of course...)

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Hari, don't take any offence but there seems little point in me clicking 'like' for every single post. :P

Take that as a given.

Looking forward to more pix, especially spotted cats.

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I'm so glad that Kenya delivered, it has so much more to offer than just the migration and mini buses. Love the photos, really beautiful. Agree with you re the elephants, tragic.

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madaboutcheetah

Them big Mara skies!!!!

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Back already MAC? Wow, that went quickly. Really enjoying the photos. A great advert for Kenya!

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madaboutcheetah

Too quickly, really ........... Too short, right??? Thanks GW ...... Will talk to Elena of Mara Meru cheetah project to see how we can be of assistance to the cheetah program.

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More intrigued than ever before am I about Sala's camp ........ they have a fabulous location on the Sand River and possibly the closest camp to the look out area. Their facebook updates also talk about a very big pride of Lions in their immediate area. A definite must try for me next time ........ Previously, I was of the opinion that the reserve was unappealing to me ........ How wrong I was!!! Given the right time of the year - not only does it rock ......... but, the landscape and vistas are unlike any other in the greater Mara eco-system.

Welcome back, Hari. Sounds like a fantastic Safari. On the Mara I recall being puzzled how you, a safari expert, questioned why I had spent time in the main reserve versus the OMC after my trip report last year.

Now you get it?

Look forward to the report. How did you like Toto vs Mara Plains even though it's obviously not a fair comparison given the very different price points?

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@@madaboutcheetah

 

Welcome back. Yes, I, too, enjoyed the Mara reserve once during the "off-season". That Sala Camp area has always had a huge lion pride. I don't know why. Glad the cheetahs are doing well.

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@@madaboutcheetah

 

Also, I am enjoying your enthusiasm over eland, topi, etc.

 

FYI, the boys at Kwando are concerned about you :lol: because last time you were seen photographing zebras!

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madaboutcheetah

 

More intrigued than ever before am I about Sala's camp ........ they have a fabulous location on the Sand River and possibly the closest camp to the look out area. Their facebook updates also talk about a very big pride of Lions in their immediate area. A definite must try for me next time ........ Previously, I was of the opinion that the reserve was unappealing to me ........ How wrong I was!!! Given the right time of the year - not only does it rock ......... but, the landscape and vistas are unlike any other in the greater Mara eco-system.

Welcome back, Hari. Sounds like a fantastic Safari. On the Mara I recall being puzzled how you, a safari expert, questioned why I had spent time in the main reserve versus the OMC after my trip report last year.

Now you get it

Look forward to the report. How did you like Toto vs Mara Plains even though it's obviously not a fair comparison given the very different price points?

 

 

Thanks @@AKR1 ....... I obviously hadn't done the reserve right! ;) .......

 

I loved Mara Toto ...... For someone like me who is out more hours than in the camp, what more does one want or need. Obviously the rooms are bigger in Mara Plains and a huge lounge area(obviously, you can't beat the view from the lounge of Mara Plains) ...... but, the other service points are of a high standard at Toto too just like Mara Plains - guiding; vehicle; flexible ethos; quality of food and wine; more than comfortable tents; also wonderful hosts and staff ....... Fabulous!!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

@@Safaridude ....... Thank You!!!

 

haha- the boys at Kwando find me cheetah ....... I don't have to bother with Zebra :)

 

I must say that the entire Look out area ...... is my absolute favourite in terms of scenery and sheer beauty. Sala's would be the closest camp to it. Besides, even the sand river area is probably productive to them - for Lion and Leopard.

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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