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Close Encounters of the Dog Kind

Zim Girl

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Well that isn’t the title I was expecting to give to this Trip Report, but more on that later :) .


In September, we finally made our first visit to Kenya. The country had never been very high on our list to visit in the past, but after reading countless reports on Safaritalk we decided to take the plunge.


So what did we want from the trip? We wanted vast savannah, big sunsets, large herds of zebra and wildebeest and if we were lucky, good sightings of cheetah and leopard, the two cats we have never seen much of, despite 12 years of going on safari.


How did we do? Well 5 out of 6 wasn’t bad!


Our itinerary was as follows.


09/09 - Fly into Nairobi and transfer to Wilson Airport

Safarilink flight to Nanyuki, road tfr to Laikipia Wilderness Camp

1 nt in camp then 3 nts private mobile camping with Steve Carey

13/09 - Safarilink flight from Nanyuki to Mara Ol Kiombo airstrip

3 nts Rekero Camp, Maasai Mara Reserve

16/09 - Transfer to Naboisho Camp, Naboisho Mara Conservancy

6 nts Naboisho Camp inc 2 nts private fly-camping with Roelof Schutte

22/09 - Transfer to Ol Seki airstrip for Safarilink flight to Wilson

Day tent at Nairobi Tented Camp and visit to Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Transfer to JKI airport for flight home


We flew KLM/Kenya Airways from Manchester via Amsterdam to Nairobi.


The trip was booked as ever through Expert Africa.


Just for info, the transfer from JKI to Wilson took around 2 hrs, we landed at 6am.

All our bags inc hand luggage was weighed at Wilson.

The flight from Wilson to Nanyuki took 35 mins.


And a few pics just to be going on with.




Grevy's Zebra - Laikipia




Wild Dog - Laikipia




Wildebeeste - Maasai Mara reserve




Lion - Maasai Mara reserve

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@@Zim Girl I too am looking forward to this as Laikipia Wilderness is on my shortlist for next year :)

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We had a road transfer from Nanyuki airport to a designated pick-up point on the way to Laikipia Wilderness Camp. This took around an hour and a half. Then Steve Carey picked us up in a game vehicle for the final drive into camp. I think this took about 40 mins but doubled up as a game drive so we were stopping and starting, especially taking a while to watch these lovely Grevy’s Zebra.








At camp we had lunch with Steve and Jasper who was helping at camp for the season and was due to go back home to the UK in a day or two.


We spent the afternoon playing with the many resident dogs and taking a walk up to the viewpoint above camp.


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Our tent


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The main dining/lounge tent


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The decks



View of the river above camp


There was only one other couple in camp that night and dinner was very much a family affair with Steve, Annabelle and their two young boys.


We were only in the main camp for one night as we were off on our mobile the next day, but it was a very relaxed and friendly place to be.


Sunrise from camp the next morning.









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This morning was the start of our 3 day mobile camping trip with Steve. We were dropped off on the road a few kms from camp and then walked cross country until the early afternoon when we reached the Nduru lugga dam. Along the way we saw Beisa Oryx, Hartebeeste, Grants Gazelle, Grevy’s Zebra and this nice Secretary bird.





Steve checking out the scenery


Camp had been set up near the dam but we had to wait a while before we could carry on down to it as a group of elephants were blocking our route into camp.




Camp was very simple and very much in the style that we were used to in Mana Pools.


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Lunch was extremely good as was all the food that we had in the camps, special mention going to the fillet steak that was cooked over the camp fire one night and was probably the best we had ever had.


Late that afternoon we walked from camp and up high to an outcrop of rocks above the dam which gave us fantastic long distance views of the area.



Steep climb to get to the top



But worth it for the views


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I had been looking forward to your report, and it seems we're in for a treat. Really like the title, so we do not need to worry about your dog luck. :-)

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Today was going to be a long walk of around 18km to the next camp down by the Ewaso Narok river.

The scenery was lovely, and on this walk we came across several herds of elephants and plenty of zebra and giraffe.







We climbed a rock here to watch a group of elephants walking towards us on the other side















Camels grazing while the herdsmen rested in the shade







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These two were having a friendly tussle.


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Eventually we reached camp which was in a pretty spot on the river bank.





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After a late lunch, Steve asked us if we wanted to try and find the dogs seeing as we had already done quite a lot of walking today. Well, you can never turn down a chance to see Wild Dogs so of course we said yes.


We set out with the tracker and after climbing up a pile of rocks eventually found a signal.




A short drive in the right direction and we found a pack of 11 dogs.


Now this is where it gets interesting. Those of you have been to LWC will know that Steve has quite a nice trick for getting you close to the dogs. He stops the vehicle near the pack, you get out on the other side so the dogs cannot see you and sit on the ground. Steve then drives the vehicle slowly away and hey presto you are sat in front of a pack of wild dogs. The question is then, how close will they come or will they just walk away.


The first time we tried this they did come fairly close but then just wandered off.


However, the second time we did it a bit further along, we were in for a bit of a treat.


We got out and straightaway they came over to us, most of them walked right past us on either side but one or two of the younger ones were a bit curious.


They were so close I struggled to get many photos, these were my best effort.












Then, this happened!!


But you are going to have to wait until I can work out how to upload a video. :)

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Magic! He really loved Adrian's shoes. :-):-)

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@@Zim Girl amazing!! I'm going to be there with my husband in about 3.5 months so this is making me very excited! What was the big interest in the shoes, did Steve say what he thought? Has he seen the dogs do that before? I was afraid the dog might try to drag the shoe off and run away with it!

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Holy....you know.....shoe!!!!!! ....I'd be....you know....shoeing......myself.... Wow......just loving this video!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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@@Zim Girl amazing!! I'm going to be there with my husband in about 3.5 months so this is making me very excited! What was the big interest in the shoes, did Steve say what he thought? Has he seen the dogs do that before? I was afraid the dog might try to drag the shoe off and run away with it!



I don't know why the particular interest, but Steve said he had never seen a dog try to do that before. In the video you see the dogs suddenly look to one side, that is when Steve got out of the vehicle and sat down a little way off just to make sure they didn't try anything bolder. He also told Adrian to just kick back gently each time the dog tried to bite his shoe.


You will have a great time when you go.

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personally, I don't find the dogs' behaviour that much unusual, it reminds of hyenas who I have more than once observed biting and chewing on gum / rubber

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@@Zim Girl... I just had my hubby watch the video. Interesting and fun to be so close to the curious dogs.

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Well for us that rated high on our list of great safari moments. Just to sit and have a wild animal approach you to touching point was very special.


After that we watched the group settle a bit.








Then half of them got up and looked ready to go hunting.






Just then an Impala came running past out of nowhere and they were off chasing it. We followed them and when we finally caught up we realised that only the alpha female had continued the chase and made the kill on her own. We found her tucking into the impala.




We stopped and watched and after a few minutes she left the kill and ran off. Steve said she was going to get the rest of the pack and we should wait. It took about half an hour but he was right. The whole pack came back and devoured the rest of the kill. Sadly by this time the light was going and my pictures are really too blurry to post.

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I forgot to say, but on the night drive back to camp from being with the dogs we found a Zorilla. It was a first for us and we had a really good sighting of it running from bush to bush.


Today we were walking a circuit that would take us up onto the escarpment and our final camp site.

We followed the river for a while and then started climbing upwards.






This was a very scenic spot for a break.





A Verreaux's Eagle Owl on her nest.



After a very enjoyable walk we eventually made camp.





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The camp team had perched our tent on the edge of the hill so we could make the most of the view, and they just managed to squeeze in the shower tent nearby.





Back at the main tent Steve was trying to improve the view from there.



There you go!



Later we went for a lovely afternoon walk and watched the sun go down from a rocky outcrop.




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We left camp at 6.15am for the road transfer back to Nanyuki. Just like the way in, Steve took us in the game vehicle to a pre-arranged pick up point and there we were picked up by the transfer company and taken to Nanyuki airport. Our Safarilink flight left at 8.45am and took approx one and quarter hours to get to Ol Kiombo airstrip in the Mara.


Next stop Rekero Camp.

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@@Zim Girl

What a great start to your trip report. Wonderful photos (the camels were a surprise!). The video is amazing - what an experience. It certainly looks like your trip to LWC paid off.

I look forward to the next section.

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We were picked up from the airstrip by the lovely Mohammad from Rekero. He took us on a very pleasant game drive on the way into camp.

As many of you will know, Rekero is situated right on the bank of the river and we were impressed at just how well it blends in with the surroundings with the tents all hidden amongst the trees and bushes. We had requested the furthest away room which we got, I think no 9.






Views of the river from the camp.







We had booked a private vehicle for the 3 days and requested Onesmus as our guide. He met us at tea time and we discussed what we wanted to do and see while we were here.


Literally after around a 20min drive from camp we had an encounter with request number one.


2 year old female cheetah finishing off a scrub hare.











We spent a long time with her all on our own. This was the best sighting of a cheetah we had ever had and we wanted to make the most of it. (We needn't have worried as it turned out).




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So with a packed breakfast we headed out this morning to a glorious sunrise - and lots more animals!


























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@@Zim Girl


All photos are stunningly beautiful, yet the sunrise with zebras and wildebeest stands out for me!

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