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Masai Mara November 2015, 31st October - 7th November


Gregor
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Yes, Ashnil is close to Look-out hill. It seems to be a prime wildlife area.

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The photograph of the ostrich is lovely. What I wouldn't give to have that golden light available on demand!

 

You seem to have enjoyed taking some wider angle shots. They're very effective.

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Day 5, 4th November

 

From Ashnil we went to the area between Look-out hill and the Mara river. First a black and white picture of a couple of Zebras .

 

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In this area we found two of the Notch sons brothers, each mating with a female, just about 200 meters from each other. This trip is the first were I have seen mating lions, and this time 4 different couple. Funny how chance plays out sometime.

 

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The Notch sons brothers are so magnificent, largest lions I have seen.

 

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After spending a couple of hours with the mating lions, we left for a reported Leopard sighting. This sighting was very close to the rangers station at Keekorok. So it was a drive.

 

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This was the only sighting this week with some traffic around. The other drivers told us it was two Leopards in the area. Probably father and son, and that they had a territorial fight last night. But we didn´t see the other Leopard. We stayed and watch the Leopard move around in the three for the better part of the day.

 

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We then left for the "long" drive to the Mara triangle and The Mrara Serena lodge.

 

Just after passing the bridge, a small Leopard (young female?) crossed the main road in front of us. And then she started hunting, stalking something in the high grass.

 

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Now it was dark and after sunset. So we had to leave for Serena.

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~ @@Gregor

 

Thank you for your comments about the beauty of sightings in the Mara.

Like you, I've visited the Mara in the off-season, never finding it overcrowded.

Yet when there in late July and August, I've likewise enjoyed quiet, calm, uninterrupted game drives.

Very seldom have I spotted a scrum in progress — we avoid them and drive elsewhere.

The crocodile image at Keekorok is especially evocative of the Earth's distant past.

Is that a Helmeted Terrapin, Pelomedusa subrufa, or not?

The rhino images are prizes. The only rhino that I ever saw in Masai Mara was actually across the river in Tanzania.

That you observed and photographed the rhino is a highlight. It does indeed pay to be an early riser.

Your relaxed writing style is a pleasure to read.

Tom K.

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Wonderful photos. Love the B&W conversions especially. That D4 certainly can handle those high ISOs!

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Perfect conditions for the ostrich. The tail holding by the lion is charming and makes for a unique photo in your outstanding collection.

 

How did you pick that time of year?

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Thank you, Lynn

 

I try to go on safari twice a year, one in early winter and one in late winter (something like november and early march). It is a way to shorten our long winter. Right now we have lots of snow and -15 C. I have been before this trip once in Masai Mara in November and I did find it both that time and this time fantastic. Good weather (for photography), lots of animals (maybe not like migration) and few other turists. I have also been in March, and then I think animals was more dispersed. Anyway during that trip it was significantly less animals around.

 

/Gregor

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I try to go on safari twice a year, one in early winter and one in late winter (something like november and early march). It is a way to shorten our long winter. Right now we have lots of snow and -15 C. I have been before this trip once in Masai Mara in November and I did find it both that time and this time fantastic. Good weather (for photography), lots of animals (maybe not like migration) and few other turists. I have also been in March, and then I think animals was more dispersed. Anyway during that trip it was significantly less animals around.

 

~ @@Gregor

 

My only stay in lovely Stockholm was in July, 1988 so I never experienced a Scandinavian winter season.

Living where I do, I share your feelings about getting away to sunnier climes during the months of reduced daylight.

Having visited Kenya several times during the off-season, I agree with you that wildlife populations are more than ample, with relatively few other visitors.

That you had such fantastic sightings reflects the excellent game-viewing conditions during less-traveled seasons.

I hope that wherever you visit during Spring this year will similarly yield superb sightings.

Tom K.

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Day 6, 5th November

 

This morning we started off with a encounter with the famous lion Scar from the Marsh pride. The Marsh Pride territory is as you can se from the maps to the north. My guide David directly talked out lout, what is he doing here? But a short google search tells me he has been on safari on the south side of the Mara river before.

 

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I do think he looked old and and worn out. Maybe lion life is hard.

 

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Mara triangle is different to the reserve and the landscape in the southern part is more open savanna with insel-bergs. The impression on me is grand and magnificent. I love open space.

 

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Out on the open savanna, maybe 1-2 km from Scars position, we encountered a male lion coalition (a resident pride?). They were finishing up there breakfast.

 

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They left soon and we did continue. Some snapshots from the area.

 

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At one of the inselbergs, one lion pride climbed pretty high. I guess that was their Inselberg :)

 

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Actually we found three prides not very far from each other (maybe 2 km separated from each other). Here is another one.

 

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Let´s finish with some b/w pictures.

 

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I salute you - absolutely great pics and tripreport.

Thanks.

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I can deal with my Africa safari fever only with the help of reports like yours :). Beautiful pictures, please keep them coming :)

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And to me, reports like @@Gregor is posting just worsen the Africa fever :D ! And those lovely photos, with Nikon 300f4 E PF ED (??) makes the situation only worse. Not to mention the severe case of GAS :blink: .

Good that we have only 10 more days till next inoculation :) !

Edited by xelas
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Hi

 

I´m glad you like my pictures.

And yes, it is the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF ED. And I think it is a fantastic lens. It delivers in every way, and it is so incredible light.

GAS ?

Where are you going?

(I´m of to Samburu in March.)

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GAS = Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Or NAS for Nikonians. One disease that a guy with 300PF and 600 is immune to (or maybe not ... D500 maybe :o ).

 

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. 11 nights, of which 9 in Wilderness Camps. If having 1/3 of Morkel's recent sightings i will be a happy man :rolleyes: !

Edited by xelas
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Aha. Yes. D500 of course.

 

KTP. I can´t wait for that trip report. Morkel, is a man who knows what he is doing, and he knows KTP. I do hope you get a fantastic trip. For inspiration, I also would like to recommend Hannes Lochners IPAD app, The darker side of the Kalahari.

 

Sorry for going OT.

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@@Gregor

 

Thanks for the tip! The book looks amazing ... but as a printed book is also quite costly. I will look for the iPad version.

 

I do have The Photographers Guide to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park by Jenny & Mario Fazekas. Was very useful last time we were in KTP. I also have their guide for Etosha, equally useful.

 

OT = over time or out of topic? In both cases, it is your thread so you are allowed to discuss whatever pleases you!

 

To be honest, I am also looking forward to do the trip report! I hope we have learned some photography secrets, both on our previous 2 trips, and by following several excellent photographers posting their work on Safaritalk.

Edited by xelas
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Yes, I do agree. It is an inspiration to read trip reports on safari talk, and as well great fun to write yourself.

 

Photography, I think I have learned more from birdphotographers.net, where Morkel is (one of three) administrator. But I do enjoy more to read and write here.

 

But I see both you and me have posted here 5 trip reports.. So maybe we are on some levels on equal terms. I shall read up on yours trip reports. KTP and Namibia is very interesting.

 

OT= out of topic

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Scar sure is looking weathered. Saw him in 2012; still an awesome (in the proper sense of the word) cat.

Edited by Marks
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Dag 7, 6th November.

 

Another day in the Mara Triangle. We started off to the south and there we found one of the prides working on their tan in the morning light. Cozy..

 

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And study of different expressions.

 

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But as almost always, lions are lazy, so we decided to go on. Here is a few pictures of the very beautiful savannas in the Triangle. And in the background you can see the escarpment.

 

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I guess grass and nutrients is different on different patches here. Because in some places it is crowded with animals and in some places empty. Or maybe is it because the ungulates move around, stick together and try to avoid the carnivores.

 

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Sun shines through in places and make for interesting views.

 

Later, during midday we cruised around the Triangle. This elephant group is in the marsh area in the northern part. On top of the escarpment you can see a lodge.

 

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This was a rather "slow" day. We did see a couple of cheetahs, but in a distance, and with day heat, it was impossible to take any reasonable good picture. I´m finishing off this day, with sunset over the southern part of the Triangle.

 

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And then back to lovely Serena lodge. Or as my Facebook friends say "the smurf-housees".

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Lovely view of the escarpment.

The centered tusker in the ele group photo really draws the eye.

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such beautiful shots. i love your wide angled shots - particularly those with the wildlife providing perspective to the frames. that picture of the crocodile among the reeds make him look quite good.

 

i share your admiration for African sunsets. it always warms my heart and gladdens my soul.

 

Scarface looks tired but still magnificent.

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Beautiful report @Gregor I really like these pictures very much.

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