Jump to content

Tsavo West, Amboseli, Meru & Samburu — January, 2015


Tom Kellie

Recommended Posts

Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

Thank you for a fabulous report.That is a really beautiful set of elephant photos at the end - perfect light on mother and baby - a wonderful sight.

Yours is a very distinctive voice. The pleasure you take in the small things that are so easily overlooked is a feature that will stay with me, and I think influence me on my next safari.

Thank you for all of the time and effort you have taken with this - I have really enjoyed following it, and seeingsome of the northern species. I was particularly keen to see Meru national park (as we will be visiting it) but all of it has been very engaging.

 

I look forward to your next trip report!

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

It's so nice of you to offer such supportive comments.

After all, it was your own trip report writing which served as the quality standard throughout the writing of this trip report.

I deeply admire your skill at highlighting the sightings and settings while leaving yourself on the periphery. Very much as William Shakespeare did in his plays.

The small organisms — invertebrates, smaller birds, wildflowers, small reptiles and mammals — add to the richness and texture of a safari. The same is true rocks and geological formations.

As thrilling as it is to observe an apex predator in action, the loveliness of the petite is akin to the joy in viewing a well-cut gemstone — very small yet precious.

With Respect,

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 891
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Tom Kellie

    628

  • Marks

    29

  • graceland

    26

  • Atravelynn

    23

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Beijing to Nairobi Lights Out on EY 889 ~ After my safari partner, Peking University medical student and researcher, XU Ni, 徐铌, rendezvoused at my Beijing campus apartment, we r

Quenching And then there were elephants...by the dozen! We rounded a tight bend to head onward to the lodge when Loxodonta africana in force appeared. They were hustling along, as if urgency co

Madoqua kirkii Pair ~ Just the two of them. Nothing else in sight. Small. Wary. Yet not so anxious. Madoqua kirkii, Kirk's Dikdik in the tall grass beside a Tsavo West track. Nothing fancy, yet

Posted Images

Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

Waited a while hoping that it is not the end of this trip report. To repeat the words of others would be superfluous; enough to say that I have followed it almost religiously, opening it every day, reading every word and enjoying every photo.

 

While I will never be able to repeat (the quality of writing, the knowledge, the portraits of the nature) your trip report, I am hoping one day I can repeat your trip!

 

Thank You, and please do post more!

 

post-49296-0-54856200-1444813649_thumb.png

~ @@xelas

 

Such very kind words mean so much to me.

Your recent Namibia self-drive trip report was magnificent!

Visits to Kenya are journeys into ecological diversity.

I highly encourage you and your wife to visit Kenya.

As to the trip report being over, the final posted words — in a red rectangle above — suggest that our supposition may have been mistaken.

Please do see what's posted next...

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

 

Lovely and touching final encounter between mother and baby elephant, and in such good light.

 

You wrapped this up just in time to set off on your South Africa trip. Between your in-depth virtual safari report and the real thing, you are forever safari-ing.

 

~ @@Atravelynn

 

Encouraging words from the lady daring to spend Halloween with Churchill's polar bears!

One safari leads to another, a concatenation of beads on life's string.

I'm so glad that you liked the elephant mother and baby, seen in late afternoon's golden glow.

Today I've booked the next safari, which will see me at Beijing Capital International Airport in the afternoon of Sunday, 17 January, 2016.

More adventure...more game drives...more photographs...more fun!

I scarcely dare add...more plunge pools!

Tom K.

 

Keep on plungin' !!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Tom Kellie

 

Well I'm very late to the party here but I'm quite enjoying you're report Tom. I'm only 2 pages in but I look forward to eventually going through all this.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

A Leopard Runs Past Feeding Elephants



Suddenly, without explanation, Anthony accelerated the safari van to top speed. We sped eastward in the waning light, bouncing along, the cool air in our faces.


I was exhilarated, assuming that the long elusive cheetah had been spotted. There's nothing to compare with a mad dash through the bush towards a big cat.


Near the river a cluster of safari vans and...elephants feeding. Huh? Shrewd Anthony took us away from them to another spot. Out stepped a cat. A leopard!


Oh my! The beautiful young Panthera pardus confidently approached us, lit by the fading golden light, before breaking off to run past feeding elephants.


What a glorious ending to the long safari!




post-49296-0-73310600-1445413915_thumb.jpg



Fresh on the Scene



post-49296-0-60869100-1445413957_thumb.jpg



With the Subtlest Twitch of a Tail



post-49296-0-16980900-1445413995_thumb.jpg



Pardus Rex



post-49296-0-02594100-1445414037_thumb.jpg



Inspector General



post-49296-0-15209400-1445414077_thumb.jpg



Samburu Star



post-49296-0-51090700-1445414113_thumb.jpg



Repositioning



post-49296-0-38591900-1445414150_thumb.jpg



Elegance in Action



post-49296-0-83659700-1445414217_thumb.jpg



Unadorned Beauty



post-49296-0-22305700-1445414254_thumb.jpg



Cometh the Cat



post-49296-0-71783700-1445414286_thumb.jpg



Cometh the Cat — Detail



post-49296-0-50854400-1445414321_thumb.jpg



Reconnoitring



post-49296-0-43955700-1445414381_thumb.jpg



Outlook



post-49296-0-17061000-1445414478_thumb.jpg



On the Go



post-49296-0-61479700-1445414515_thumb.jpg



High Alert



post-49296-0-40516200-1445414560_thumb.jpg



Running Past a Feeding Elephant



post-49296-0-96846800-1445414605_thumb.jpg



Running Leopard and Elephant





Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

Well I'm very late to the party here but I'm quite enjoying you're report Tom. I'm only 2 pages in but I look forward to eventually going through all this.

 

~ @@dlo

 

Thank you so much for taking time to visit this trip report.

It's really encouraging to read your friendly comment.

After reading what you said, I kicked myself for not having completed the report, as the finale had yet to be posted.

The leopard and elephant sequence introduces the improbable conclusion of the safari.

I hope that you'll enjoy the trip report.

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

More to come?! Beautiful ! The leopard ... worth the mad dash.

 

~ @@xelas

 

Despite sunset, it turned out to be a game drive like no other.

Yes, there is more to come...

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Leopard in the Grass



After having ran past the feeding elephants the agile young leopard headed towards an area of long grass. Its pace was even, unhurried with the natural insouciance


of one accustomed to undisturbed evening strolls. Ah, the confidence of leopards. Such a joy to observe firsthand. Not for them the anxious cowering of others.


Supremely gifted with awareness, their intelligence knows how best to utilize their arsenal for defense and predation. The final glimpses of sunlight


lit the leopard's profile as it surveyed the environs. The clean white tail tip provided a focal point in the golden grass as it walked away.




post-49296-0-24057500-1445417996_thumb.jpg



Leaving the Elephants Behind



post-49296-0-97154900-1445418032_thumb.jpg



Through Tall Grass



post-49296-0-16068800-1445418070_thumb.jpg



Evening Stroll



post-49296-0-70759700-1445418103_thumb.jpg



‘Follow Me’ Tail Tip



post-49296-0-75766200-1445418134_thumb.jpg



Retreat



post-49296-0-70397100-1445418169_thumb.jpg



No Sidekicks



post-49296-0-46285800-1445418205_thumb.jpg



Sunlit Silhouette



post-49296-0-51576500-1445418242_thumb.jpg



Early Evening Leopard



post-49296-0-53205000-1445418275_thumb.jpg



Predator's Unhurried Pace





Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

Ah what a beautiful sighting Tom!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Tom Kellie

 

This is my first post on Safari Talk and after reading the first 7 pages of this report, it is a privilege to be making it to your thread. I have had only one short safari as part of our honeymoon 4 years ago and your enthusiasm for Kenya, photos and writing bring back so many memories. This report is a real joy and makes me ever more keen to get back to Kenya again soon. I look forward to making my way through the rest of this report.

 

Phil.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

This is my first post on Safari Talk and after reading the first 7 pages of this report, it is a privilege to be making it to your thread. I have had only one short safari as part of our honeymoon 4 years ago and your enthusiasm for Kenya, photos and writing bring back so many memories. This report is a real joy and makes me ever more keen to get back to Kenya again soon. I look forward to making my way through the rest of this report.

 

Phil.

 

~ @@phil_b

 

What an honor you've accorded me!

Welcome to Safaritalk and thank you very much for your most kind remarks.

Kenya is truly a lovely safari destination, offering much to the senses.

The landscape and plant growth increase the pleasure in every wildlife setting.

I'm so glad that your honeymoon included a Kenya safari and hope that you'll both be able to arrange a return in the foreseeable future.

If time and circumstances ever permit, please do post a self-introduction in the Introductions forum so that others might get to know you.

I'm moved that your first post would be in this trip report, which is not quite finished.

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love "pardus rex," even if there is some royal stature lost when the elephant's towering legs are included in the frame. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good morning Tom.

I'm up as far as page 11 of this epic report and still loving it. I had to comment on the Elephant in front of Mount Kilimanjaro shots taken in Amboseili as they are awesome. They remind me of a day spent there on our honeymoon 4 years ago.

My 2 year old is beside me on the sofa as I read this shouting ele ele ele as elephant is the only animal he recognises! I will have to get him a field guide when he is a little older.

Looking forward to reading some more later, I'm off now to an RSPB event photographing something less exotic than you, Irish Hares.

 

Regards, Phil

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

"There's nothing to compare with a mad dash through the bush towards a big cat."

I'm hanging onto the sides of my desk chair as I read this, just thinking about it.

 

 

It was the leopard-ele encounter that capped off this trip. What a way to end! And what a send off to South Africa. But if I am reading the dates/times right, you've already returned from the actual South Africa safari. And the trip mentioned above for January, is yet another. It's hard to keep track!!! :o

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Closest Approach

When the female leopard we were observing walked away, I'd supposed that we'd seen the last of her. Anthony repositioned

the van at a distance from where we'd last observed her. She emerged from bushes, walking more or less directly towards us.

There came a point where she looked directly up at the camera lens, her muscles tensed, at which Anthony gently moved

away. What particularly impressed me was her self-evident confidence, striding forward with no apparent concern for being

attacked. Does a healthy young female leopard go about her territory with a solid sense of confidence in her own abilities?

attachicon.gifThe Final Approach.JPG

The Final Approach

attachicon.gifSidelong.JPG

Sidelong

attachicon.gifFemale Panthera pardus in Samburu.JPG

Female Panthera pardus in Samburu

attachicon.gifLike a Beacon.JPG

Like a Beacon

attachicon.gifConsidering Her Options.JPG

Considering Her Options

attachicon.gifLess Than Three Meters Away.JPG

Less Than Three Meters Away

attachicon.gifWhither Goest Thou.JPG

Whither Goest Thou?

attachicon.gifProfil d'un Leopard.JPG

Profil d'un Leopard

attachicon.gifWhite-tipped Tail.JPG

White-tipped Tail

attachicon.gifA Long Night's Work Commences.JPG

A Long Night's Work Commences

attachicon.gifCharacteristic Walking Stance.JPG

Characteristic Walking Stance

That is an awesome sequence of shots. Loving this trip report!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

~ @@phil_b, @@Marks, and @@Atravelynn

 

Many thanks to each of you for taking time to read the most recent posts in this trip report.

I'm so pleased that you've found images which were meaningful to you.

As it happened, despite the onset of dusk, the game drive and thus the safari, were not over yet, as a few more posts will show.

Tom K.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Quo Vadis?



When it seemed that the leopard had sauntered away, Anthony had an idea that it might circle back, so he rapidly repositioned the safari vehicle


to a seemingly undisturbed location. Sure enough, within 15 seconds who should emerge from the grass and walk up beside us, but the leopard!


It paused to reconnoiter the environs, as my finger repeatedly pushed the shutter button. I claim no sophistication as a wildlife photographer


or safari guest, thus there was joyous frenzy where I stood, in contrast to the effortless cool of the elegant predator nearby.




post-49296-0-57927600-1446015087_thumb.jpg



I'm Back!



post-49296-0-06889700-1446015133_thumb.jpg



Evening Walkabout



post-49296-0-35354000-1446015167_thumb.jpg



At Your Service



post-49296-0-30722600-1446015214_thumb.jpg



Paso Doble



post-49296-0-92502200-1446015252_thumb.jpg



Ainsi, Soirée Commence



post-49296-0-76635800-1446015289_thumb.jpg



Counterstriker



post-49296-0-59660700-1446015327_thumb.jpg



Les Yeux d'un Prédateur



post-49296-0-85237200-1446015364_thumb.jpg



The Tale is in the Tail



post-49296-0-33598100-1446015414_thumb.jpg



In the Know



post-49296-0-08472800-1446015465_thumb.jpg



Mother Nature's Child



post-49296-0-72487000-1446015661_thumb.jpg



Imago Pardus



post-49296-0-52835600-1446015701_thumb.jpg



Betwixt and Between



post-49296-0-10584600-1446015739_thumb.jpg



Long and Slender



post-49296-0-68730000-1446015779_thumb.jpg



Extensive Coverage



post-49296-0-71326400-1446015815_thumb.jpg



Non-Negotiable



post-49296-0-13248000-1446015858_thumb.jpg



Quo Vadis?





Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Sunset Interlude



When the end-of-the-safari leopard once again walked off into thick brush, Anthony repositioned the vehicle such that we faced the sole limited


clearing within it, as he reasoned that the leopard might go there to rest. While we waited for the leopard's appearance, I took these photographs


of the sunset sky colors to the west of us. Doum palm silhouettes were a pleasing contrast to the amber tones of dusk, almost as if gazing into


swirling armagnac in a snifter. The overall luminosity was low, requiring a shift to high ISO settings in order to capture the fading hues.




post-49296-0-06485800-1446020042_thumb.jpg



Amber Skies



post-49296-0-19284300-1446020092_thumb.jpg



Doum Palm Silhouette



post-49296-0-57145700-1446020140_thumb.jpg



End of the Safari Vista



post-49296-0-30283400-1446020192_thumb.jpg



Lingering Daylight





Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Leopard Bolthole



Standing on the rear seat of the safari van — usually prohibited — I spotted a familiar pattern moving through the bushes. After Anthony heard where


it was, he slightly moved the van. The leopard walked into its bolthole, a small clearing in the midst of otherwise solid botanical growth. It rested for a


spell before sitting up, moving around the compact clearing to a position which suited its requirements. I supposed that it might be the final leopard


for a long time, but it would be three months later when I'd photograph a leopard in Masai Mara. A thrilling conclusion to the safari, we thought.




post-49296-0-29172900-1446030567_thumb.jpg



Secluded from the Paparazzi



post-49296-0-37211200-1446030609_thumb.jpg



Feline Shut-eye



post-49296-0-82268600-1446030800_thumb.jpg



Thinking It Over



post-49296-0-23066700-1446030866_thumb.jpg



No Pillows, No Slippers, No Tea



post-49296-0-68097100-1446030975_thumb.jpg



Vigilant Repose



post-49296-0-82232400-1446031036_thumb.jpg



Pardus Ocultus



post-49296-0-07181300-1446031100_thumb.jpg



In its Bolthole



post-49296-0-61361600-1446031146_thumb.jpg



Time for a New Direction



post-49296-0-43038600-1446031198_thumb.jpg



Perhaps a Better Spot



post-49296-0-73591100-1446031246_thumb.jpg



Recognized Wherever It Goes



post-49296-0-35950200-1446031280_thumb.jpg



Snug, At Last





Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

And Yet...



Thus ended the final game drive and the many day safari. An extended close range leopard sighting exceeded anything which we might have hoped for.


The Sun had set, it had been a long day and a long safari, there was nothing left for us to observe or photograph. We'd almost done it all.



And yet...



Anthony reacted to a radio report by once again driving at breakneck speeds, bouncing us along the rough track in the faint light of dusk.


What could it be? At this penultimate hour, why would he abruptly take off in the direction away from the track leading back to the lodge?




Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Affectionate Cheetahs



In the lowest light where moderate visibility remains, we pulled up to a flat grassy area in the midst of which was not one, but two cheetahs!


Extraordinary! The one major species we hadn't encountered throughout the safari was before us, in the waning moments of the final game


drive. It seemed like an improbable event in a novel, yet there they lay, grooming one another, their pink tongues discernible in the camera


viewfinder. The camera's high ISO setting was indispensable under such conditions. Anthony and I were delighted that XU Ni would


leave Kenya having observed and photographed all of the major species about which he'd read.




post-49296-0-46810700-1446037073_thumb.jpg



Not One, But Two!



post-49296-0-67820000-1446037130_thumb.jpg



Early Evening Grooming



post-49296-0-94264700-1446037166_thumb.jpg



Photographed in Semi-Darkness



post-49296-0-40231400-1446037220_thumb.jpg



Cheek-to-Cheek



post-49296-0-49890900-1446037256_thumb.jpg



Affection





Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom Kellie

Separation and Reunion



The cheetah pair consisted of an adult female and a younger male. The female scanned the area, which triggered an affectionate response from


the male. She walked away as the male watched. After waiting a short time, he followed her trail in search of her, as we moved so as to facilitate


observation and photography in the decidedly low light conditions. The young male's pace picked up as he neared where she was in repose. His


elegant motion was enthralling to watch, as he had the measured, energetic gait of a thoroughbred racehorse. Despite


the limited visibility, it was a pleasure to watch the reunion of the two.




post-49296-0-93278900-1446043993_thumb.jpg



Life Together in Samburu



post-49296-0-35355000-1446044039_thumb.jpg



Are We Moving?



post-49296-0-59238100-1446044078_thumb.jpg



Questioning Glance



post-49296-0-56420500-1446044126_thumb.jpg



Plotting Course Without a Sextant



post-49296-0-11621100-1446044199_thumb.jpg



Where to Next?



post-49296-0-03609300-1446044258_thumb.jpg



Similar Stance



post-49296-0-12927500-1446044313_thumb.jpg



Joint Vigil



post-49296-0-98420600-1446044481_thumb.jpg



Twosome



post-49296-0-89250300-1446044550_thumb.jpg



Reluctance



post-49296-0-06522700-1446044633_thumb.jpg



Two Samburu Cheetahs



post-49296-0-06814800-1446044694_thumb.jpg



Nuzzling



post-49296-0-65465700-1446044759_thumb.jpg



She Walks Away



post-49296-0-09199600-1446044826_thumb.jpg



Going Where?



post-49296-0-17585600-1446044885_thumb.jpg



Slow Retreat



post-49296-0-21264500-1446044936_thumb.jpg



Where Did She Go?



post-49296-0-05605500-1446044995_thumb.jpg



Young Male Cheetah Quietly Moving Along



post-49296-0-68734800-1446045071_thumb.jpg



Lonely Task



post-49296-0-76912800-1446045115_thumb.jpg



Very Special Sighting



post-49296-0-07102700-1446045163_thumb.jpg



There She Is!



post-49296-0-15163700-1446045207_thumb.jpg



Reunion





Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

Wow @@Tom Kellie, what a drive! Stunning images under very trying conditions that, just a few years ago, would have been completely impossible for imagery!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow @@Tom Kellie, what a drive! Stunning images under very trying conditions that, just a few years ago, would have been completely impossible for imagery!

Agree completely with Peter, great images under very tricky connditions. Very well done Tom.

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