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Cruel paradise and its spotted angels (8 days in Masai Mara)


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NatGeo guys were hypnotizing bushes with cheetahs. 

I was making myself busy by getting stressed about lions being so close to cheetahs. After I witnessed a wild dog been killed by lions I always get nervous when lions are close to other my favorite carnivores. But this time everything was smooth. Lions moved to open space and as soon as cheetahs woke up they saw lions:   



They did not seem to care at all except they were stopping and turning back from time to time to check that lions did not follow:




And then my last day rule was broken completely. One of girls started to chase herds again and again and again. She was galloping around making Thompson gazelles to run. I could not understand the logic as she was fully exposed and she was never a surprise to them. But she ran close to a kilometer without giving up. Meshack explained that she was trying to make babies (if any) run. Naturally babies stay quiet on the ground, but when the whole herd moves back and forth they can lose patience, stand up and run. And they will be hunted. This was exactly what happened next. One of babies started to run and was caught by another sister. And cats being cats they played with poor thing:







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Fortunately, girls were pretty hungry so they did not play that long:



We decided that it is time for us to have lunch too. But cheetahs had no intention to make it easy. Obviously we did no leave them and were having lunch in the car, but even them we had to eat fast as cheetahs looked unsettled. They were still scanning herds around:








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Lol, maybe 5 minutes or so we were thinking that we would make it:


And then one of them jumped up and ran, disappearing near the horizon. We threw everything on the floor and followed. Guess what: it was another successful hunt in less then half an hour. I guess I will never be able to say again that I always have quiet last drives:




Second sister was arriving to the scene:


No, I don't want to share!




I said: it is MINE!!!!


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They settled after a few minutes:


But with some short debates:




The rain was getting stronger and I tried to take some last photos:





And then it was time to drive to the airstrip. And OMG what drive it was. The sky got opened and the rain was HEAVY, I never had seen anything like this before. Roads converted into rivers. Plains were flooded. The vehicle was floating rather than going :). I was 100% sure that the flight would be canceled even if we were extremely lucky to somehow get to Olkiombo. The river cross turned into rafting as water was running down the cross like a mountain stream: on our way down we just floated with the stream but on our way up we were fighting the stream and I still don't know how the car made it. But it all lasted like an hour, as soon as the sky cleaned little bit the plane arrived. Good bye, Mara! I am missing you already!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wowee cat central. What an amazing trip you had @bettel.

Even a lizard/skink making a kill!!

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Wonderful trip report, @bettel.  You captured some amazing and intimate photos of cheetahs on your trip.  I totally agree with you on this part of the Mara, on the advantages of Lion Camp, and on Meshack's skills as a guide.  Now I have to get Part 3 of my trip done - I was at Lion Camp soon after you were, though unfortunately for a much shorter time than you.

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What amazing cat sightings (and sightings and sightings) you had! I loved getting to know the musketeers — they are just stunning. Thanks for introducing me to them, and to to many of the cats of the Mara.

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All I can say is "Wow!", and "Wow!" again. There are some cracking photo's in there.AJ

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  • 1 month later...

Wow! Fantastic trip report. Did you arrange for a private vehicle/guide? I always wanted to do that but the costs are generally prohibitive.

How was at Porini?

Thanks for sharing this. Makes me want to go back to mara.



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