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Fabulous Topi House; encore of Malaika and cubs and a super quiet green season in the Masai Mara


madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Dear All,

While I'm stuck trying to update the Serengeti trip report (sorry been very hectic around here) ...... I quickly edited 4 pictures from the Kenya segment so I thought I'd start a report here.....

First, a quick word about Asilia's "Topi House" - it's a 3 bed room house in the Mara. Phenomenal service that is obviously personalized to tailor your group and the food that would rank amongst Kenya's best. Nothing was too much trouble - Dixon was amazing!!! Big Thank you to Fred Ronko who is the main man - he is one of Mara's most experienced guides and he is also overall in charge of the house. We had two vehicles for our group - the second vehicle with the incredible Sammy Nchoe, usually based at Rekero (You will find his name in the end credits to the film "African Cats") ...... Between them they can tell you the history of all the predators in the Greater Mara. It was a great time to visit the Mara - short short green grass (almost like a golf course); bearly any vehicles - we'd go a full day seeing only maybe 2 or 3 other vehicles and phenomenal game viewing......

 

Highlights included, a visit to the house by the "late" Narasha after we had just had an outdoor lunch ...... Malaika and her cubs growing up (they were a little difficult to access because the crossing points to the other side of the reserve was tricky) - we did make a plan and swing around the long way via Talek gate (not ideal - but, no other alternate); Lions vs Buffalo; 4 Male Lions trying an attempt of a pride take over; Bahati the Leopard; An off-season Zebra crossing of the Mara river; Topi all over the Topi Plains where I spent two hours with just them ..........

What can I say???? The MARA ROCKS!!!!

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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michael-ibk

Lovely pictures Hari, always happy seeing Malaika and her cubs again. Quite big now! Not quite following the geographics here ... Where did you have to go to find them, South of the Talek river? Or dou you mean into the Triangle? Didn't you say somewhere that she's in the Musiara area now?

 

Looking forward to hopefully hundreds of pics here. ;)

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Tom Kellie

It was a great time to visit the Mara - short short green grass (almost like a golf course); bearly any vehicles - we'd go a full day seeing only maybe 2 or 3 other vehicles and phenomenal game viewing......

 

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~ @@madaboutcheetah

 

The pastel-like hues in the color layers of this fine image are so beautiful. They're as if a dyed textile background behind the sharply focussed subjects.

It's emotional for me to see this image as I saw those cubs in mid-August of last year. How they've grown!

What you've described so well above is identical to what I experienced in Masai Mara during the first week of this month.

I'm very pleased to know that your experience was as pleasant as mine — almost no other vehicles anywhere all day, game, game, game, predators galore, and that golf couyrse fairway-like green grass, transforming the Mara into the 19th hole at Pebble Beach.

I so like the shades of blue and green in your image above!

Tom K.

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Love that first cheetah photo, just beautiful.

 

Glad you had a great time in the Mara, it is without peer when the crowds have gone.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks so much for your kind words....

 

Michael,,

 

She was around Rongai plains ..,. On the way to lookout. Still in the reserve, but, you have to cross one of the river crossing points at either rekero or one of the other crossings .....

 

You are correct - recent updates has her in the marsh area.

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I like the way you framed the cheetahs in the corner in the first photo, and that's totally aside from the pleasant colors and clarity. The Mara is so beautiful; I think I'd especially like to see it sans crowds if I get the opportunity to revisit.

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Tom Kellie

I like the way you framed the cheetahs in the corner in the first photo, and that's totally aside from the pleasant colors and clarity. The Mara is so beautiful; I think I'd especially like to see it sans crowds if I get the opportunity to revisit.

 

~ @@Marks

 

If I may add my voice to that of @@madaboutcheetah, the Mara is indeed truly lovely sans flocks of overcrowded safari vans.

The visit earlier this month was a revelation. I'm indebted to my wise guide, Anthony Gitau, for his decision to visit the Mara.

The gloriously green expanses were a dreamy backdrop for the extensive wildlife.

‘Off-season’?

Phooey!

The birds and mammals know of no ‘off-season’, needing to eat year round.

If you ever return, please do consider an April or May visit. Your eyes and camera lens will thank you!

Tom K.

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Great start Hari and fantastic it was so quiet for you - and that you found another guide to suit. Look forward to seeing more. Love the zebras (cheetahs is a classic but everyone already said that).

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  • 2 weeks later...
madaboutcheetah

Lions are active for such a short window during a given day and if you are lucky ...... perhaps for even a brief while during day light hours?

We were very lucky - when 4 Males in their prime (the Musketeers) attempted a pride takeover (Double crossing pride) - they went from Yawning and sleeping to this ......... We were also fortunate that our two cars from the house were the only ones on the scene (Malaika being on the other side of the river was a trek to get to - so the others wanted to stay closer to the house this particular morning ...... boy was it a good choice!!!).

 

There could easily be a shift in pride dynamics in several of the prides in the immediate area (Moniko; Enkoyeni; Double Crossing; Rekero) ........

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michael-ibk

Great stuff, Hari - Madaboutlion, are you? :)

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks GW and Michael ....... Should i say, LazyLionsRus ?

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madaboutcheetah

A small sample of Mara's Magic ........

 

 

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You've got to come out of the closet on the whole lion thing, Hari :D

 

Fantastic pictures!

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Fabulous lion sequence. When they are active, they're quite a spectacle!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Quite a soap opera with the lions, very nicely documented! The "super quiet" could not refer to the wildlife, only the lack of other guests.

Fantastic outing!

Edited by Atravelynn
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Don't know how I missed this - superb imagery @@madaboutcheetah! More images of lions than cheetahs? What happened?? :-) Fantastic lion sequence and gorgeous photo of Malaika and co. Just came back from the Mara last Sunday - Malaika & the cubs doing very well and looking super healthy. Due to a previous post of yours you might be pleased to note that the rangers are following Malaika very often, reporting anyone caught with her or the cubs on or in their vehicle - making a show of taking photos and recording number plates. Not sure what the fines/punishments are though. She is getting super sneaky though - at one point I almost fell out of the vehicle as we had to move super fast to avoid her jumping on it as she came running after acting all non-chalant! She then proceeded to poop in protest on the same spot where the car was :)

 

I hope more photos are coming!

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks a lot for all the kind comments - very appreciative!!!

 

@@cheetah80 - Alison, you refer to my facebook post of the picture? If so, I'm glad it made a difference........ Yes, I've got a lot of editing left. I have been traveling and behind on the editing ..... shall get to it. Glad you had a super time in the Mara and thanks for the news on Malaika.

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  • 2 weeks later...
madaboutcheetah

Next few images from the Mara .......

 

The Leopard that's running away from the camera instead of posing ala Big Cat Diary ..... Well - the image is from the Mara River when we went to have a look at some Zebra that were coming back from the Mara Triangle. Well - some tourists chose to go to the Rest room in a "bush" - I find the story odd - as they all went together into thick bush. What happens next - the Leopard comes screaming out frightened in one direction and the guests and driver of the mini-van run the opposite direction!!! I wish I had my camera handy then! We quickly re-positioned and this was the only picture I could get ....... a big male. Apparently, he's normally well relaxed and photogenic. I shudder to think of the crowds at the river during the migration......... This was the only other vehicle that day - and this is what happened! Imagine 100 plus vehicles????

 

The other images are self-explanatory!

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yikes, poor leopard given a series of bums! glad it was okay, oh and glad the tourists were okay too. :P

 

spectacular capture of the Musketeers and the fightback by the pride. did they eventually take over the pride @@madaboutcheetah?

 

such lovely pics of Malaika and her cubs. she's a fantastic mother, and credits to her for bringing them up thus far. pray they continue to stay safe, despite their preference for vehicles. shudderr.....

 

Darn, you are making me want to go back to mara......

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks @@Kitsafari - Pride takeover not that particular day. Images to come when i edit - but, the males reunite and bond and just fall asleep .........

 

Recent reports have been confusing - but, I don't think they have as yet (to the best of my knowledge).

 

Malaika - 3 of the cubs are males and I'm hoping for a powerful male coalition.

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michael-ibk

Spectacular pics, love the one with Malaika and her kids. Three boys? They should become awesome hunters, hope to see them again.Glad you finally found time to proceed. :)

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Amazing pictures @madaboutcheetah! When looking to your TR form Masai Mara, it seems the big cats are just everywhere!!!

Do you think it would be easy to find them if going on self-drive?

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I've been looking forward to an update here. Great pics as usual!

 

I've never had to use the "bush bathroom" in quite that manner, but those odds must be one in a million. They'll certainly always have a story to tell!

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks a lot, folks .... You are too kind!

 

@@jeremie .... Yes, for sure. Cats are everywhere in the Mara. I still recommend off-season there.

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