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Ol Pejeta and Samburu, 5th - 12th March 2016


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@@Gregor - love the black rhino bathing elephant. Nice close upon the stork as well.


kind regards



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Game Warden

Soon we had once more a good sighting, in the glowing morning light, of a couple of black rhinos heading for one of Ol Pejetas many water dams.


I wonder if one of them was our rhino @@Gregor?

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What a zebra shot! And a Tusker hiding behind your food in the first post.

Cool to see Ol Pejeta in two threads at once right now.

Appreciate the details about carrying on an extra camera. As a carry on-only traveler, I've always wondered how I might be able to upgrade to a better camera without running out of space. This seems like an elegant solution.

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Wonderful trip report as usual @@Gregor. Such vibrant colors and landscapes, as well as great wildlife shots. The closeup of the Saddle-billed Stork is choice!

I am especially looking forward to the Samburu portion of your TR.

In post #20 - the bird ID you requested looks to be a very young Wattled Starling.

Also in post #20 the "Common Kestrel" actually looks to be a harrier - a female Montague's Harrier I should think.

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Nice work. Some excellent pics. Agree with @@offshorebirder about the bird in post #20 ~ definitely not a kestrel and it shows a harrier's facial disc

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Day 4, 8th March


Sunrise in Ol Pejeta marsh with Mount Kenya in the background, and a couple of cranes.




A vigialant Impala in the marsh. I do like this marsh area (I think the nature is beautiful and it is a photogenic place) and we passed it several times every day. But to our surprise there were seldom any animals. Our hypothesis is that because of the many dams in Ol Pejeta, the animals can stay in the plains and don´t need to go to places like this marsh area (or along the river).




Out in the plains we had a wonderful encounter with this jackal. She moved her two (from what we observed) cubs from one den to the other. She was really careful. We saw what she was doing from a distance. Then we had to wait some time until she accepted our cars proximity, and she was very careful looking around before moving them from one den to the other. This was a first for me :)






A bird on some stones. I don´t know the id, but my guess would be a Rufous-naped Lark.




A buffalo, seeking shade from the sun.




A jumping Thompson gazelle




There is lots of impalas in Ol Pejeta.




In the evening on our way back to the lodge I saw a Striped Hyena. Unfortunately he was even faster than the Leopard from the day before. I only got a very blurry picture. I guess the Striped Hyena is not recognizable, but I know what the blur is :) This was my first time to see one.



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Day 5, 9th March, morning drive


We start of with this nice couple of Lilac-breasted Rollers.




Time for breakfast. I love having breakfast like this.




Back out in the plain we met this warthog.




During our days in Ol Pejeta there was few sightings of predators. Yesterday we gave one of the rangers a lift, and today he helped us. He took us off-road to a mating couple of lions. They actually didn´t mate during the 15 minutes he allowed us to spend with then. But that don´t matter for me. I got some good pictures.




Between the plains of Ol Pejeta in several places there is areas with a longer grass and some bush/small trees. I like this setting/background for photography.






At this moment I changed from 300mm to 70-200 mm, and unfortunately the aperture mechanism broke. Here I dialed in f/8 on my camera but the lens was stuck in f/2,8, hence overexposing the picture and blowing out the highlights. It took me a while until I checked some exposures and to my surprise saw the seriously blown pictures. Picture beloved is recovered quite a bit in post, but highlights is blown as you can see. When there is a nice sighting I trust my equipment and my photographic skill, and just think about what I am doing. Not wasting the moment checking pictures in the cameras screen. Anyway, first time ever for me to have a failure in my photographic equipment. The rest of the trip I could still use my 70-200 mm, but had to adjust to only have f/2,8.




We finish of the visit at Ol Pejeta with sightings of what it is most famous for, it´s rhinos. First a black one.




And some white ones.




Ol Pejeta and Sweetwaters (a Serena Hotel) was a very good experience. From what I understand the main game and where most game drives go, is actually quite small area and the habitat is mainly the plain and the bush areas in between. From what we found I think Ol Pejeta have much more to offer. There is some very lovely areas and roads along the river, that I would like to recommend visitors to explore. Ol Pejeta is definitely the place to go for rhinos in Kenya. Otherwise I think it is not so different in habitat or fauna from other places with plains and plains game. Sweetwaters is very nice and well organized lodge, with a well visited water dam where you can see a lot of animals.


Then we turned the car north, driving to Samburu.

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Wouldn't the AutoISO helped in such situation? Nevertheless, the lion couple photo has a special "vibe" in it, with its almost metallic colour of the lions' skin ... it really stands out !

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Ben mosquito

I'm very fond of the special atmosphere of "ol pejeta" with Mount Kenya in the background. It's look like a place not so far in the Laikipia "El Karama ecolodge" where we spend four unforgettable stays.

You really made great photos ............ the first one with the the mother chacal is just amazing!

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Wouldn't the AutoISO helped in such situation? Nevertheless, the lion couple photo has a special "vibe" in it, with its almost metallic colour of the lions' skin ... it really stands out !


Hi @@xelas


Well, auto-iso did not help. The camera "thought" the aperture was f/8 and exposed according. Interestingly enough the lens gave a false value.


I´m glad you liked the picture anyway.

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Page 1

Like an art exhibit. Your stats may help others get similar results. How helpful!


"Fighting zebras and loveable jackals are my favs.


Your promptness in reporting and processing your great photos is impressive!


Page 2

Most interesting perspective on the pronking.

Jackal pups, wow. You got to see her move them?

Edited by Atravelynn
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Day 5th, 9th March, late afternoon


The drive to Samburu took more time than expected and we arrived late. On the drive from the gate to the lodge we had a puncture and change to the (worn out) spare tire. Basically we just had time to take som pictures on the way. I was very happy to be abel to photograph the beautiful Vulturine guineafowl. It was one of the reasons for me to go to Samburu. Other species I hoped to see was the Gerenuk, Gravy´s Zebra and the Beisa Oryx.




And then it started raining, quite a lot. Samburu only gets about 350 mm rain/year and a good part of that fell this afternoon and night. Here is a wet Vulturine guineafowl :)




I finish this evening off with a picture of Impala, Grant´s Gazelle and Beisa Oryx.




More from Samburu to come...

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Anyone who can make a wet Vulturine guineafowl look good, is good.

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Lovely pictures from Ol Pejeta - the jackal moving the pups is amazing. I really like your rhino photos and the lions in the long grass.

The Vulturine Guineafowl is beautiful - wet or dry!

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That Vulturine Guineafowl looks great!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 6, 10th March


This was to be a very productive day. It really showed Samburu to me, and made me fall in love. I will for sure come back to Samburu :wub:


First a Beisa Oryx, one of the reasons for my choice to go to Samburu. I think it is a very beautiful animal and photogenic.




There was many Grant´s Gazelles around. Here a big buck doing his needs, actually looked a bit like when a dog does his. We laughed at him :lol:




And a cautious female.




It seems very reasonable to be cautious if you live in this area, as you never know what might be around next bush.




I won´t be restrictive with the pictures for this day and here is some more of this lioness. I think she might have had some cubs somewhere, as here nipples seems to me a bit larger than usual (or maybe not, I´m not an expert)






When I´m new to an area I usually want to have a good look around. To experience the new habitat, the new landscapes, animals and get a picture of what animals is around and where they might be moving. So we left her after a short while. Samburu also showed to be an excellent bird area, and I did spend more time and energy than usual for me on birds. A immature Tawny Eagle.




A superb starling. The Tawny eagle and the Superb starling is among the most common birds to see at a Safari in eastern Africa. But they are so magnificent and beautiful that they are well worth another picture.




I´m a sucker for the colorful birds like starlings and bee-eaters. The White-throated Bee-eater was new to me, and they are very common in Samburu. I got plenty of opportunities to photograph it, you just have to stand all the pictures of it.












Well enough of the White-throated Bee-eater. Now a Augur Buzzard. It is distinctive with it´s all white chest and red tail (not visible in this photo).




d´Arnaud´s Barbet




A Black-capped Social-Weaver




A Kori Bustard




A Gerenuk Family




Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, a female with it´s pink throat-patch.




A few pictures of what I think is Steppe Eagle. Distinctive should be that the yellowe gape extends to the back of the eye.




Take off






A what I think immature Eastern Chanting-Goshawk






Dik-dik. I like this in Samburu very common small antelope. In Samburu easy to photograph, but in other places mor difficult as they tend to stay close to bush and is quick to disappear in to the bush.




Little Bee-eater




Von der Decken´s Hornbil




And the female (Von der Decken´s Hornbil)




The day was coming to an end we were thinking of heading back to the lodge. We then saw two cars a bit up on the mountain side, and we decided to check out what they were doing first.

In the other cars the turists pointed into the bush. I didn´t see anything at first and then a head pops up :)






It was two leopards, a mother and her sub-adult cub. The cub turned back to the mother in the bush, and instantly they started a fight (not a serious one). I didn´t get a good shot of this, as they were in the bush. Then one of them started walking, and out on the road in front of us. And the other followed. What can I say, cats :wub:


















This was fun :D (Maybe not tack sharp, but with high iso and not time to adjust shutter times according to action, to me good enough. Pictures though look sharper in LR, than in jpg.) After play, some cooling drinks,




Light was setting very fast. It was really getting dark.




The leopards really did the full show. A dream picture of mine: leopard silhouette on a cliff. I have seen pictures of this from others and always hoped to get it my self.






This was a good and long day :)

Edited by Gregor
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Game Warden

@@Gregor Here I am at the HQ feeling down and suddenly bam: you've slapped me hard with this amazing series. Cracking images - oh my that leopard interaction!

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On the last set of pictures I offer a balanced and erudite comment:

Wow, I mean Wow, I say Wow.

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If you had not mentioned the camera malfunction, we would have thought you were going for a special effect. Lions look good. You made adjustments or put the other camera to good use on the remaining shots. While your birds in flight are very impressive, the leopards in flight are even more so. You outdid yourself on the evening leopard you had always tried to get.

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Lovely selection of bird images in post #42 and then the magnificent leopard interaction. Pity about the high ISO required for the leopards but they look OK from where I'm sitting.


...and lovely jackal with pups earlier in the thread.

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@@Gregor I love your photos especially of the two leopards fighting. It makes me recall my fabulous trip to Samburu.

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Wow about those Leopards "dancing". Looks like they were auditioning for the next Tiger Leopard & Dragon movie. :)

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I was about to praise the birds shots ... until the leopard sequence! We surely are one happy bunch of readers that has such talented photographers "on assignment" :) !

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How on earth did I miss all of this???? ............ Simply stunning images!

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