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A Thousand Hills, A Million Smiles & Gentle Giants - a Rwanda and Kenya Safari


michael-ibk

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@@michael-ibk , thanks for yet another fantastic trip report, one of many that are wanting me to travel more! I think I know who will be the author of the words in 2018 ...

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This was a special safari for three reasons:   It was my tenth (if I can count India and the Pantanal). It was the way I had decided to celebrate my 40th birthday. And my mother ha

The most endearing member of the family was - of course - the BABY!     The little one was very shy at first, but after a while he/she(?) became curious about us and checked us out. Cuteness ens

Our first animal - a Brown Snake-Eagle. I will not post every bird we saw on this trip, promise (at least not here, that´s what the Big Year thread is for), but this was one of our most photogenic rap

penolva

Brilliant and you finished just in time for me to read the last instalment before we leave tomorrow And where are you going in three weeks? You should get a job in Africa and move there! We all would if we could I suspect. Have a great trip. Pen

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Zim Girl

@@michael-ibk

 

Great finish to another brilliant trip report. That is a really impressive mammal list and such good pictures of them all.

Have enjoyed reading this enormously, shame it has come to an end but looking forward to the next one.

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Alexander33

@@michael-ibk

 

Thank you for yet another wonderful trip report. You are a true ambassador for Kenyan (oh, and Rwandan) tourism.

 

I think the best part of your journey is that you were able to share part of it with your mother. That is a milestone in life that I am sure neither of you will ever forget. @@screentraveller, I'm delighted that you finally took the plunge and went on safari. Here's hoping you take your son up on his offer for a return someday!

 

And Happy Belated Birthday, Michael.

 

It's going to be hard to top this adventure, but give it your best shot 3 weeks from now. I will await your response to Pen as to where you are going, but I am sure it will be special and that we once again will be the beneficiaries of your experience.

Edited by Alexander33
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michael-ibk

Thanks a lot, @@pomkiwi , @@xyz99 , @@penolva , @@Patty , @@dlo , @@pault , @@xelas , @@Zim Girl and @@Alexander33 ! :)

 

 

 

Just missung the unicorn (sorry, bongo), melanistic serval, zorilla, naked mole rat, honey badger and wild dogl that I am going to get for you in June.

 

I hope you do, Paul! :-)

 

Pen, Peter, it´s Ethiopia - hoping for Wolves, Geladas, Mountain Nyalas, and other good stuff (and lots of birds of course).

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SafariChick

@@michael-ibk just got a chance to finish reading the report. Wonderful as always! So many great moments - the gorillas of course I've already commented on, the mongoose and hare was amazing, the Bush Baby was incredible to see and during the day and full body and all, I loved the baby Not-So-Giant Forest Hogs, the tree-climbing lions were cool, and so much more! When we drove from Nairobi to Laikipia, we passed signs for the Aberdares and I thought of you! Now I have a question that may be hard to answer in a written trip report but I know you will find a way: how does one pronounce "Aberdares"? I have a couple of ideas but really not sure. I tried Googling as sometimes there are pronunciation guides to names online, but was not successful. Thanks for another terrific report and bravo that you'll be back in Africa in a few weeks! I will try to complete at least the Ethiopia portion of my TR before you leave!

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michael-ibk

@@SafariChick

Pronounced like at the beginning of this video:

 



Edited by michael-ibk
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SafariChick

@@michael-ibk ah ok, thanks. That is how I thought I'd pronounce it but then I thought maybe that is too simple! You mentioned the Ark being kind of old - it must be as that video sure seems old!

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Caracal

Thanks for this great report @@michael-ibk

 

Akagera, Kakamega Forest, Lakes Baringo and Bogoria are places I’ve read about in old books –places that seemed remote and wild – and it’s been fascinating to follow your travels to them with your wonderful photos and engaging commentary.

 

I’ve never been a fan of plunge/infinity pools in remote and wild locations but I have to admit the vista from that pool in #199 is stunning- maybe enough to provoke a change of mind!

 

Love the landscapes, street scenes and of course all the varied and spectacular wildlife including the rarer ones such as suni, giant forest hogs and black-fronted duiker.

 

The Ark triggered memories of my visit there in 1996. Didn’t see giant forest hog but saw rhino as well as elephant, buffalo, lion etc. You were lucky with only a few visitors – quite a lot on my visit and the night time buzzing followed by people clattering, chattering and clamouring down corridors all seemed rather frenetic. Particularly so when on arrival at the viewing area the leopard had sensibly retreated into the forest!

 

I did however have a great time chatting to Ian Hardy about bongos and the local wildlife. He had joined The Ark in 1972 and was the resident naturalist with amazing knowledge and experiences to share.

 

Wishing you another great trip.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Atravelynn

Great story about how Isabukuru formed. Births of gorilla twons are rare and I know their survival is even rarer. I am glad one of the twins survived. We tend to think of these gorillas as such gentle giants, but to lose a baby in a skirmish is anything but gentle.

 

Glad the rain held off for you. Conditions were excellent for photogrpahy! Even without the big lens, you got a nice turacao. I was noticing your bird shots while gorilla trekking because I recall being surprised at the lack of seeing any other living creatures (besides insects) on the treks.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

The zebra tussling sequence, baby ele wrestling shots, and buffet of bugs are excellent shots.

I am finally up to the grand entrance of your mother. I am glad she missed the bonfire in the road. The giraffe comment is very funny. I can see how she'd say that.

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michael-ibk

@@Atravelynn

 

Unfortunately the surviving twin died very shortly after I posted the Rwanda part. I was very sad about that and did not find it in my heart to mention it then. Similar circumstances, there was a confrontation with a second Gorilla familiy, the mother switched, and her baby paid the highest price for that decision - killed by another Gorilla. Apparently Isabukuru could not be visited at least for a while after that, the familiy was too stressed. Not sure if they are getting "visits" again.

 

Very true about the lack of other animals. I saw very few birds, and most of those still very close to the village.

 

My mother will be delighted at least somebody gets her view on Giraffes. :)

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SafariChick

Actually the mother did not switch over right away. She stayed with Isabukuru and was sort of sad and staying to herself for about a week but then resumed acting more normal. And just before we were in Rwanda, she did apparently switch over to the male who had caused her baby's death. Isabukuru was one of the groups I visited but the mother was not there - we heard all this while we were visiting them from the guide and trackers. In fact, the guide didn't even know the mother had left, the trackers told him while we were visiting the group as it had just happened recently! Strange that she would go with the gorilla responsible for her baby's death (and I think if I'm not mistaken it was the same one responsible for the first baby's death) but when you think about it, not so dissimilar from male lions who come to take over a pride and kill the existing cubs, then the female lions go on to mate with them. Nature is a strange and fascinating thing.

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amybatt

I remember reading about this on the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund facebook page before I went away. This is what they said at the time. I too think the dynamics in these families is very interesting, although can have tragic consequences.

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Atravelynn

Those wild dogs are everywhere. At least you saw evidence of them. That bouquet of red flowers is a truly enchanting shot.

 

Good thing you composed yourself enough after yelling rhino to get those great shots of the exit. You really show the strength and power in the hindquarters of that beast.

 

Dining with bushbuck! Really impressive, given how shy they are naturally. One more reason to love Aberdare!

 

The mongoose-hare chase scene is unbelievable! My first thought upon seeing the leopard was, "That looks dark." I think a darker fur is typical, all the way to that elusive black leopard. Did you discuss that it looked a little dark?

 

The thrilling conclusion along with insights from Mum will have to wait until later in April.

Edited by Atravelynn
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screentraveller

The arboreal lions, as you put it, were pure bliss. Their different ways of climbing, finding their most suitable positions to relax were simply fascinating.

 

This is what I prefer to the monumental posturing of giraffes, I didn't call them silly, by the way. INstead of watching a giraffe standing motionless in the landscape I prefer admiring one of these ancient trees. They do not stand motionless, but are moving in the wind, and you see how they became what they are in the course of time.Awesome.

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screentraveller

Even without seeing the king of animals at 5.30 just before leaving Solio, the week in Kenia would have been the experience of a life time for me.

 

The photos of the lions in the grass seem more natural to me than the impressive portraits of males roaring. I found their nonchalant way irrestible.

 

I am happy to have been good company for seasoned safari travellers and happy you would take me again.

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Atravelynn

Those wild dogs are everywhere. At least you saw evidence of them. That bouquet of red flowers is a truly enchanting shot.

 

Good thing you composed yourself enough after yelling rhino to get those great shots of the exit. You really show the strength and power in the hindquarters of that beast.

 

Dining with bushbuck! Really impressive, given how shy they are naturally. One more reason to love Aberdare!

 

The mongoose-hare chase scene is unbelievable! My first thought upon seeing the leopard was, "That looks dark." I think a darker fur is typical, all the way to that elusive black leopard. Did you discuss that it looked a little dark?

 

The thrilling conclusion along with insights from Mum will have to wait until later in April.

It is later in April, being April 30. To p. 15 Nice shot of Mum soaking in rays at Fishing Lodge. You need all the warmth you can get at that location. Even those with no fondness for hyenas those fluffball youngsters were appealing.

 

@@screentraveller is a screen traveller no more when it comes to Africa. How wonderful you could experience it all first hand in such good company.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

"Green, green, green as far one can see." I was thinking exactly that when I read the comment.

 

Rhinos in all sizes and environments! I hope they stay safe.

 

Thanks for the bongo basics. I admire you for trying.

 

Not only did @@screentraveller Mum see lions, but tree climbing lions. Not only she see the big male, but a black-maned male. And you got your hoopoe. Lots of toasting at the conclusion of this trip I am sure.

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Marks

I'm only up to page 5, but this report is a marvel (as yours always are!). The country is spectacularly green; just breathtaking. I enjoyed seeing the gorillas so far, as well as the crowned crane in flight and the bee eater (my favorite).

 

Your reflections on the genocide memorial are poignant. The people seem inspiring.

 

The "wicker man" gorilla is quite a sight!

Edited by Marks
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michael-ibk

@@Marks !!!!

 

 

Good to see you here again, you have been absent for far too long. Welcome back, and thanks for the nice comments.

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Marks

@@Marks !!!!

 

 

Good to see you here again, you have been absent for far too long. Welcome back, and thanks for the nice comments.

 

Thank you! The pleasure is all mine; it has definitely been a while, but I couldn't ask for a more pleasant way to reacquaint myself.

 

Now that I'm all caught up, I see that I don't have too much to say that hasn't been said - but many things deserve repetition: your silhouetted giraffes upon arriving in the Mara, wet hyenas (even if you rarely stopped for them!), nose-horned viper, a fantastic fish eagle series, a very nice leopard, the forest hogs, and many birds that are new to me.

 

Being situated just outside the reserve, how was the in-camp experience at Aruba Mara?

 

Very glad your airport incident was resolved quickly.

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  • 2 months later...

@michael-ibk, Just getting around to reading a whole bunch of Rwanda trip reports now that my trip is less than 3 weeks away. 

 

I really enjoyed your report and photos.

 

i had a question about the lens.  You mentioned you used a 400 lens.  Mine is a 100 to 400 and I find at 100 you have to be a reasonable distance away to get anything.  Did you find it absolutely necessary to use this?

 

Also you mentioned a 2.8 lens.  I have a wide-angle 12-40 2.8.  Would this be enough reach?

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xelas
20 hours ago, Tulips said:

i had a question about the lens.  You mentioned you used a 400 lens.  Mine is a 100 to 400 and I find at 100 you have to be a reasonable distance away to get anything.  Did you find it absolutely necessary to use this?

 

Also you mentioned a 2.8 lens.  I have a wide-angle 12-40 2.8.  Would this be enough reach?

 @Tulips

Just in case that Michael is away:

- his is 100-400 zoom like yours. Used on a crop body (7D). 

- your 12-40 f/2.8 is wide enough even on crop body for anything landscape related. Of course, there will not be enough reach if not a close-up portrait :D.

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michael-ibk

Thanks, @Tulips, I´m sure you will have a fantastic time, Gorilla trekking is about as magical as wildlife can get.

 

And what Alex said, I used a 100-400 mm mainly. Check out post #104 in this report, there I described the focal length used of most shots of the first trek. A 2.8 lens will be very useful when it´s terrain with little light, but if you want to go for portrait shots 40 will be too short. You could go through the pictures in my album, if you click on them you see the focal length used for each.

 

And thank you and very sorry, @Marks, I somehow totally overlooked your post. In-camp experience at Aruba was good, especially since we were almost the only guests. I think it could be very crowded in high season. The location was very good, it´s basically one minute into the reserve, that´s not an issue.  A minor issue, however, is the proximity to Tala village, because one night they had some party over there, and that was pretty audible.

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