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The life of famous cheetahs (Porini Mara and Porini Lion camps)


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Fantastic start. i´m eagerly waiting for more. Thanks for sharing. :)

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That is the last thing I would have expected a lion to pull out of a bush! Great shots.

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On 2/23/2016 at 6:48 PM, TonyQ said:

We saw Imani and cubs when we were in OMC a few weeks ago. I look forward to seeing her again in your report!


On 2/23/2016 at 11:19 PM, Tom Kellie said:

To make a trio of it, yours truly saw Imani and her cubs in OMC three weeks ago.


I am looking forward to see her again reading your reports lol


, @@Gregor and @@Marks, thank you for the support!!!




Day 3 (continuation)


After breakfast we went back to the lioness thinking that either the whole pride would appear or maybe mother giraffe would come (Jimmy thought that a giraffe hid her calf in bushes and the lioness found it there. Otherwise it would have been very hard for a single lioness to make this kill as mother would have protected the calf).But it was quiet and uneventful. The lioness was napping and lazily protecting her meal from jackals.


Closer to noon we got a message that another Porini car heading back to the camp came across our cheetah (she now crossed to Ol Kenyei). Obviously we immediately went there. Cheetahs were resting:




We decided to eat quickly as Naborr might not give us the second chance :). Cheetahs politely waited for us and continued walking as soon as we came back:



One hunting attempt failed (I did not make a note why, so I have no idea now :)). The next attempt was supposed to be unsuccessful too (well, based on my opinion, Naborr’s opinion was different). The cheetah noticed a herd of impalas but between her and potential food there were 250-300 meters of vast open space. I was pessimistic and was just lazily watching the scene rather than being prepared… I was an idiot. Naborr was amazing. She was moving quickly when antelopes were grazing and she was getting frozen as soon as at least one of them had its head raised. Her cubs were very disciplined and stayed at least 100 meters behind and they were coping mother’s behavior without even a second of delay. That was almost like a dance, quite deadly dance. I was still enjoying the show when Nabor was already running full speed. Bingo! (for cheetahs, not for impalas):




This time Naborr suffocated the prey (thanks God)







The cleaning team appeared in a few minutes:




Very soon there were only 4 legs left (one for each family member):














After cleaning there was a traditional jackal chasing game. One cheetah cub chose one jackal and chased it to the left. Another cheetah cub chose another jackal and chased it to the right. The mother and the third cub were watching.


And we decided to go and to investigate the Ol Kinyei conservancy. It is very beautiful and very diverse. It is a huge benefit that Porini camps have access to both Naboisho and Ol Kinyei. There was a LOT of different herbivores there I even made couple photos :)




And some small predators:




We were trying to find the Ol Kinyei female cheetah (she has one cub) but we did not get her (I guess you can’t have it all :) ) But we found a tawny eagle that was eating somebody’s eggs and not only but it was actually destroying the whole nest (a barbarian!):







And almost after the dark we came across foxes (you know, I have a soft spot for them):





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What lovely report with loads of wonderful images and huge variety of wildlife.

Found the lion and baby giraffe series fascinating.

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Stunning images and sightings: I wish I'd been along on this trip :)

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@@bettel - what are the traversing rights between Naboisho and Ol Kinyei? Thanks .......

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@@wilddog, @@Game Warden, Thank you! I appreciate your kind comments.


@@madaboutcheetah, traversing rights are very simple :): Porini vehicles can go to Naboisho any time they want. Nobody can go to Ol Kinyei. Only Porini Mara and Porini Adventure camps can have safari there. But Porini Adventure camp operates only during high season (I believe)

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@@bettel...what a great trip you have had! Thanks for passing on your great game drives and great photos with us. I agree...one can never have to much time with cheetahs!!

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@@bettel, wonderful report! i've just left the Mara (back in Nairobi now) and it looks just as I left it! :-)


I saw Imani and cubs deep in the Reserve on Saturday (20th) and saw Naborr/Nasura and her almost independent cubs in Ol Kinyei on Sunday.


@@madaboutcheetah, I was politely informed that when in Ol Kinyei, she is called Nasura, and elsewhere she is called Naborr. Maybe you know her "other" name? @@bettel, does that intelligence match what you know?


Rumor amongst the guides I had is that Amani has had three cubs somewhere near Mara North. No one has made a visual though.

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@@marg, thank you very much! I agree, cheetahs are always fun to watch :)


@@amybatt, welcome back to the reality. I hope you have had an awesome safari! I am looking forward to your trip report :)!


does that intelligence match what you know?


Jimmy was always calling her Naborr, so I have not heard Nasura name at all :(. But maybe he just used the name that was on my cheetah cheat sheet :) (yes, I showed my list to both guides. No, they did not throw me out of the car :) )


Day 4.


It was the last drive in Naboisho/Ol Kinyei. I did not expect anything special: we had seen a lot and I could not even say what else I wanted to see. Plus my last drive is often very quiet. Thus when we did not find Naborr, I was not upset at all. We were driving around, looking for cheetah or something else, I was almost napping when the cheetah family was found. They had just woken:




Cubs were posing for us:








Naborr was walking and looking for some young Thompson gazelles. Herds were alarming. There was no sign that something was going to happen any time soon. Suddenly one of cubs started to run towards one of herds. We laughed thinking that it was some type of morning exercise. Naborr sat comfortably and was also watching her kid.


We were commenting. “Look! He is quite stubborn. Wait a minute! He is getting close! Is he going?… No! No way!” The cub was getting tired and started to slow done. The intrigue was over when suddenly his sibling appeared on the scene and got the Tommy:








But as soon as we parked, Jimmy told “Hyena!” I will not write what I said as it was not quite literary language. I guess, there would be no breakfast for cheetahs:




The hyena did not wait too long and ran towards the carcass:




One of cubs stood his ground and HYENA RETREATED. We were speechless (sorry for bad pictures. Remember? I warned you!):




But then hyena remembered that it was only a cheetah and ran towards the kill again:




This time it was Naborr who was protecting the kill:




«You shall not pass!» (с)




And hyena retreated quite far away and was waiting there quietly and patiently:




Nearby there were some debates about potential future benefits:






The antelope was small and did not last long:








There was a traditional chasing game, but this time a jackal refused to participate:




BTW there was a very pretty vulture there. I had not seen it before. White headed vulture:




We spent with cheetahs little bit more time but we really had to go. The river flooded at night and water was still coming so we had to cross as soon as possible. When I saw a crossing point I was thinking that it would be more like submarining :) but it was little bit of floating with water coming over the hood but we made it. See you again, Naboisho!


P.S. I will give you some relief :). I promise there will be no cheetah photos in the next installment :)

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~ @@bettel


We'd be delighted if there were cheetahs in the next installment!


All splendid documentation of the lives of cheetahs!

Thank you so much!

Tom K.

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Thanks @@bettel and @@amybatt - I'm not too familiar with the cheetah in that part of the Mara as I've not been (hope to one day) ......... Looks amazing for sure.

Cross fingers for Amani - I had some great sightings when she was with her previous cubs in 2014.

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Wow! Amazing stuff. I think your hyena/cheetah interaction shots came out just fine. And what a thing to see!

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Great sighting after great sighting, wonderful! How cool that the Cheetahs chased the Hyena off. Love the Jackal-Vulture-conspiracy-chat!

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We'd be delighted if there were cheetahs in the next installment!

Oh, don't worry there will be lots of cheetah photos :), I am just giving you, guys, a short break :)


@@madaboutcheetah, @@Marks, @@michael-ibk, thank you for staying on these pages :). I was amazed that cheetahs actually were able to protect their kill.


Day 4 (Continuation)


On our way to OMC, I was quietly suffering :). First three days were so great that I could not even imagine how OMC would possibly meet it (I am not even talking about beat it). Plus when we entered the conservancy we could see very long grass. Jimmy told that OMC was late with grazing so a lot of plain games preferred to leave and some lion prides were struggling. Long story short, I was imagining skeletons in long grass. Thanks God, the reality was way too far from my imagination.


In the camp I met Meshack (my guide) and John (my spotter). Soon after lunch we started the drive. Our first stop was a female leopard Bahati with two cubs. They were on a kill. Mother was sleeping on a branch in deep shade, a male cub was hiding among leaves and we could hear him crunching bones and growling at his sister. And a female cub was a star :)












She had such a cute belly (please excuse my not scientific vocabulary :) )




We spent with leopards some time but as it was main reserve soon cars started to gather and I asked Meshack to leave. We went back to OMC and spent some time with a lioness from Enkuyeni pride (I saw a few different spellings) and with Mohican, a beautiful male lion. They were making sure that by the time I am back in September, Enkuyeni pride will have some young cubs:























I love faces that lions make when they are mating. You know, you should appreciate that I posted only 10 and not 150 :). And these lions were very cooperative, they were mating every 5 minutes and they did not change their position even a bit. We did not even have to repark :). After lions we went to meet the sunset with hyenas with a short stop for elephants. That was another great day:












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Ahhh, more leopards, fantastic!! And those close-ups of mating couple, so descriptive.

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Geese, action packed!! Your images captured all of the excitement. Some of the future and elles are excellent. Really good stuff, thank you for sharing.

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Thank you, @@Tom Kellie, for your continuous support!


@@PCNW, Thank you for leaving such a nice comment :)! It is greatly appreciated.



Day 5.
The morning was quiet. But at least I got to a bat eared fox close enough to have a photo where you can actually recognize an animal :)
We tried to find female leopard Pretty Girl (while cheetahs were still sleeping). Her Masai name is Nondari. Dari is Masai word for a sheep (or for a goat - I don't remember it 100%). Nondari obviously means "no sheep" (or "no goat") as this pretty girl likes to hunt them. BTW Meshack says that Masai don't like to use names like Rani, Nora, Pretty Girl and prefer to use Nolari, Musiara, Nondari. I agree with him I found that Masai names add some atmosphere. Well, back to Nondari... we did not find her :). But we found Blacky:
We thought he was looking for the Ridge pride and Lipstick. But we found them in opposite direction:
By this time it was light and we returned to our mission. Meshack told that Imani had hunted the day before so her family was full. Thus we were aiming for Musiara. We found her quickly. But she was gathering quite a few cars so I asked Meshack to leave. Poor guy, not only he had to look for specific animals but he had to count cars too :). We went to Imani with couple stops on our way:
As it was expected Imani's main mission for the day was digesting. But to be there alone was still better than to follow Musiara with 10 other cars:
We sat with her till lunch and then we got a message that Musiara was very close to OMC border (and that she might cross soon). We went back to Musiara. Surprisingly there were no cars there. Her cubs were enjoying some tree climbing:
Soon they rested under the bush:


to be continued...

Edited by bettel
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~ @@bettel


Your masterful wildlife images are taking me back to where I was three weeks ago.

Your photography is so vivid! The exceptional sightings you had have yielded one great image after another.

What a terrific time you had with Meshack!

Thank you for posting these.

Tom K.

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Fantastic continuation, and so many delightful cheetahs! The sequence with the lioness with the giraffe kill is quite something!

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Excellent sequence of the cheetah defending their kill - and I love the picture with the vulture and jackal.

We were in OMC probably just before you, so fascinating to see it through your eyes.

I love the hyena and the bat-eared fox.

Interesting that our guide used names for leopard and cheetah, but not for the lions (just referred to the pride name).

Beautiful photos all the way through and very enjoyable writing!

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Thank you @@Tom Kellie, @@cheetah80 and @@TonyQ. I just have to warn that the more you comment, the higher chances that I will continue to post lots of cheetah (and not only) photos :)




Day 5 (continuation).


After some rest, Musiara got up, looked at plains and started to think. On one hand, there were a few tommies there. On the other hand, there were two topis too. It was extremely interesting to watch different hunting approaches used by Naborr, Imani, Nolari and Musiara:

1) Naborr used every chance and always completed with a chase even if it was hopeless

2) Imani used every chance but if she saw that it was not doable she turned in the middle and left.

3) Nolari used every chance and patiently waited till unfavorable situation would turn into favorable

4) Musiara always gave a good thought. She evaluated everything and if she did not like it, she left immediately not even trying.

This time she decided to try. While she was thinking we found a blue headed agama and Meshack even allowed me to leave the car to make a better photo (I hope that it was not a try to feed me to cheetahs :). I am joking; we were pretty far from cats not to interfere with the possible hunt):




When it became obvious that Musiara was hunting we drove a huge circle to position the car the way we could see the chase, if it happened. On our way we met my horse’s twin soul. Kabir (my horse) normally has the same look:





Musiara was approaching gazelles quietly. Vehicles were gathering. I started to have a nervous twitch as I was afraid that somebody would break the hunt. But then rangers arrived and everybody had to go to roads. Good! I mean it was unlucky that after so many hours of waiting we would not see the close result, but I was glad that the cheetah would have her space as not everybody behaved the way Porini guides behaved. Musiara chased and got the prize:






Meshack watched me for a second and then drove towards rangers. I don’t know what he told them (“My guest can become very dangerous if you don’t allow her to go closer. Please save my life! “), but they immediately allowed us to go and to make couple photos :):






We did not test their patience and after we ensured that our cheetahs were happy we went to look for another victim. We found lions, lions were leading the life of sybarites:












Everything was nice and quiet, except we were arguing with Meshack :). I was saying that now he would have to continue this “one kill per day" rule. And he was saying that he should just show me 4 kills (one kill more than Jimmy). He was distracted by radio, then turned and asked “Do you want to see Fig?” Who would say “no”?! I answered that next time he could start driving towards a leopard even before asking :).


Fig was sitting on a tree in very uncomfortable pose and she was watching something:




Soon we understood what it was:




Fig was almost asking “How long will I have to sit here?”




We would have been glad to help her, but the lioness was not in hurry. The tree was very uncomfortable; there were no good branches at all. Poor Fig had to experiment with her poses. “Maybe, this one? “




“Nope, it does not work, I will put all my weight on one leg”:




“Still not what I want, I will move my leg forward” (the lioness laid flat in high grass. It is nice to be a lioness)




“I would not even look in that direction”




“GOSH! I am a leopard, I am a leopard, I love trees, I love trees”




“My butt hurts; maybe I should try another side”




“For the god sake, will you ever leave?! I love trees, I love trees!“






Poor Fig was changing her pose every minute. We were feeling for her. It was not obvious if the lioness could see the leopard. She did not show it in any way but she was staying nearby. She was also constantly calling for a pride. Fig was constantly thinking to escape (she was making this “I am going down” movement but then she was changing her mind). After it got dark the lioness roared for couple more times and left, I bet, Fig was happy :)

Edited by bettel
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~ @@bettel


As if a wealth of cheetahs and a lion wasn't blessing enough...Fig the Leopard, too!


Tom K.

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I just have to warn that the more you comment, the higher chances that I will continue to post lots of cheetah (and not only) photos :)


Please do! This is fabulous. You follow a cheetah kill with a pride of lions and then a leopard-lion face-off! For us cat-lovers (catwatchers? catters?) this is paradise.

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