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We arrived to the camp and it was similar in all the right ways and different in a few small ways that made it unique. As we had hoped we had the place to ourselves which was great. Our guide dined with us for each meal and he was a really nice guy. We enjoyed getting to know him and we had similar interests in music and it was fun to play music during dinner on our iPad and not have to worry about annoying anyone else. It was a really nice relaxed atmosphere which we loved. A real highlight was asking if we could have local food for dinner one night and we loved it. And i think they were pleased that we were interested as the back of the house staff all came out to check and see if we liked it.

 

 

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The migration was all around camp day and night

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We were treated to an amazing sunrise on the morning of our first drive in tanz

We headed to the crossing point near camp and were treated to a small relatively tame crossing as they found a pretty shallow spot

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Still no bags after a few days! Supposedly they have been located and wheels are in motion but we were making due with the help of the great staff and having a great time   After such a great end t

The Mara North conservancy really is a special place, and each drive there are just so many unique things to see, shared with so few vehicles. it was really hard to choose which camp given the unbeli

After the leopard layed down for what appeared to be a good rest we continued on. We found a baby ele playing in the mud   a lioness found a nice spot for a snooze     some baby piglets  

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Later that day we saw a second, larger crossing. We realize we were very lucky as some people wait hours and hours as they mass by the river and then something spooks them and they run the other way. we also enjoyed the small crossing with not many vehicles but other crossings we saw had as many as 20 vehicles.

The first crossing was going away from us, the second they came towards us

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love the blades of grass flying in this pic

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this wildebeast was swept away by the tide but managed to avoid any crocs and found a shallow area to pull itself out

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The stunning mara river

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A first time sighting for us

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On a drive on the southern side of the mara river as it was getting darker. We were a ways from the bridge to get back camp but our guide wanted us to see a leopard

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Unfortunately it started raining and our guide got worried so we sped towards camp.

 

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when we got back to the bridge this was the scene. the huge rainstorm came from the north and cause the river to swell and the bridge became unpassable. It was getting dark and we had no way to get back to camp. We decided it was best to go to the main camp and after making it through some fairly dicey deep water situations and it being dark and torrentially raining we made it to the camp. we even passed a vehicle that had been abandoned after it got stuck in the mud. we were VERY lucky and they happened to have an extra room for us and even lent some dry clothes to change into. we enjoyed a nice dinner with the rest of the camp

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Is this the bridge just below the airstrip and ranger station at Kogatende?

If yes, even in dry season on Aug 11, the water level was only about two feet below the bridge and some carcasses got washed up against it.

Not to be able to cross must have been a scary experience. I'm glad the driver did not fight it, but took you to safety.

How nice of the Serian staff to help you out in such a hairy situation and let you stay the night. Well done!

 

It looks to me that when comparing yours and mine crossing pics it may have been the same crossing spot. The crossings we observed had no zebras at all and were "vegetarian". Same same, but different as they say in Thailand.

You are so right, it's pure coincidence to see crossings happening. We met a lady who had spent three nights and never saw one. Other friends waited a full day and the wildebeests turned around at the last minute. We were there for 20 hours and saw three crossings, one of 10'000 animals one guide estimated.

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Oh, happy times. Looks and sounds like you had a great time in Kenya and Tanzania looks a great start too - although I will catch up with that later.

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That tree in silhouette is striking; I can see why it's your favorite.

Great job following the action with the lions' kill. Your crowned crane photo is also especially vibrant.

What kind of local food were you served?

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We woke up refreshed and in the AM the bridge still had water running over it but it was way lower and safe to pass

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We stopped back at camp and changed and then headed back out

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we found this big male lion who was rubbing himself against a plant believed to be a natural bug spray of sorts.

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we got out for the requisite photo at the border

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And then we came upon someone else who had the most trouble during the storm the night before. This was the same company who had another car stuck in the mud in the storm. I won't say their names but their camps are one of the most popular in the area (initials A.A.) Our guide confirmed no one was hurt

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From there we were able to track down the cheetah brothers. We caught up to them clearly interested in maybe hunting as they were on lookout and moving about occasionally.

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off in the distance we could see another large storm screaming down the escarpment and it hit us as we were spending time with the cheetahs. the serian vehicles were able to seal up and stay mostly dry while still being able to unzip and view the cheetah. The brothers clearly didn't love the rain but they continued to stalk from afar and we followed them for a while until it got darker and close to the time we needed to return. the other 2 vehicles with us had to leave a lot earlier b/c they are on the other side of the river for camp.

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we finally had to leave them to head back and ran into the lions again on the way home who were on the move. We found them every Am with full bellies so they clearly were night hunters

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For our final drive in the Serengeti we decided to cross back over to the south side and look for lions and leopard at "lion rock" where the lions are often found in the AM, warming up for the day. We were successful in finding them there.

 

Our best klipspringer sighting on the way, amazing their agility on the rocks

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Lion rock

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Can you see what they are looking at?

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A beautiful owl

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i believe martial eagle in the treetops

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sleeping just around the bend on the same set of rocks was this leopard. neither of them knew the other was there

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while watching the leopard my wife spotted this elephant shrew (one of the little 5)

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We left the lions as we heard the wildebeests were massing on the other side of the river. on the way to the crossing point

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We have been extremely lucky to have seen a few crossings, first on our honeymoon and several on this trip. but what was to come next topped them all. We ended up waiting about an hour with numerous vehicles from all of the camps positioned high on the hill ready to race down once they went (this seems to be the protocol). There were numerous false starts but once they went it lasted almost an hour. what a spectacle

 

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@@sek07,

Loving your report, great itinerary and pictures. Being almost stranded due to the river overflowing the bridge is scary. Serian really came through here and, as you note, you were very lucky. The Lamai wedge area in TZ looks very good.

 

The fact that the border crossing between the Mara and the Serengeti are closed, turning, as you noted, a 1-2 hour simple game drive into a multi- flight ordeal is a big downside to travelers doing both parks. How did you get to the Serian camps in TZ. All the way back to Nairobi or did you do some other border crossing by road before taking a flight from Arusha. There have been some reports of Serian having some " special arrangements " for guests staying at their Mara and Serengeti camps.

 

Thanks again for sharing your trip report.

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What a trip, A+ camps in A+ locations with terrific guiding, food, and people.

 

After the crossing we stopped to pick up our bags and take the 45 min or so drive to the airport. we were sad to go, but excited for Rwanda and a bucket list adventure!

 

a few last pics from the trip to the airport. The cheetah below was a pregnant mother who was hunting but we didn't have time to watch and see if she was successful.

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I hope you enjoyed, thanks for the kind words. separate trip report in the rwanda section to come

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Fantastic report. Those of us not on safari at the moment live for other people's reports and pictures. I really enjoyed your story and the many excellent sightings. You seem to have taken all the problems in stride and did not worry too much about anything. Thanks for sharing and I may use your report as a resource for a future safari.

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I enjoyed the hyenas (great color) and the waterlogged cheetahs on the previous page. The wildebeest river crossing was also impressive; you have captured a sense of the overwhelming number of animals. You must have been bummed to have no time to watch the hunting cheetah, but then you'd already seen quite a lot!

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Alexander33

That last crossing was certainly a memorable way to close out your safari. Incredible! Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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@@sek07

 

 

What a fantastic trip...so many great shots from leopards and crossings to zebra and even klipspringer. When we were in that area in 2007 we also saw a range rover that had been washed away by high water while trying to cross the Mara. It seems that this happens a one or two times a year – I don’t know why the guides risk it!

 

 

If I can ask a couple of questions about the logistics of crossing into TZ - did you cross the border at Isebania? If so how long did the crossing take and how long did it take to get to Lamai? Also, did you land at Kogatenge? I've been in the southern Mara standing at the TZ border and could see a camp in TZ that I could have walked to - It's so frustrating that there isn't an easier, faster, less expensive way to cross.

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@@PT123

i went back and looked at my notes. we flew from the mara to a border town i can't remember right now (very short flight) and they had someone there to pick us and a few other people up and walk us through the border crossing. he didn't speak great english but was good enough to get the job done. it was fairly hectic little town and the crossing was a little stressful but not terrible. it took about an hour all in i believe and then they drove us to a grass airport on the other side where we flew to the lamai airstrip. if you are staying at any of the camps to the south of the rivrer (serial serengeti main camp or the bulk of the others in the area) then you can fly to kogatende airstrip. since we were in the satellite camp to the north we had to fly to lamai and drive an hour but it was mostly a game drive because of the possibility the bridge wouldn't be open. this drive is, however, where we saw the pregnant cheetah on our way to the airstrip.

  • -­‐ 9km from Kogatende Airstrip (20-­‐30 min drive) - can't land here though as possibility you may not be able to cross river

  • -­‐ 21km from Lamai Airstrip (60 min drive)

i found this picture they sent me on an email to give an idea

 

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Perfect, thank you very much...this opens up some more possibilities for our next trip.

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  • 1 month later...
Game Warden

@@sek07 I have started a lazy Sunday morning at the HQ with a mug of coffee and your report. Great sightings and experiences and nice to be hosted by Alex I'm sure. Many of those sightings would have been my "favourite".

 

Matt

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  • 4 weeks later...

@@sek07

 

I had the pleasure of re-reading the TZ portion of your report. Just superb, even better the second time around. Your lion chasing warthog capture is amazing. I know how difficult that is to execute with a still camera.

 

Did you get to do the Rwanda portion of your trip report?

Edited by AKR1
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