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@plambers it'll be one crazy good trip I'm sure. and 3.5 months will quickly dissolve into 3.5 days in no time at all!


The next morning we went to check on the two sisters to see what they were up to. They were back to walking strolling, mounting mounds, checking out the plains for a potential meal. yesterday's fawn would have been insufficient to keep them sated for long. we found them on a mound, resting side by side. 

The light was low as it was still early dawn. 



and then the sun peeked out, and the golden light that all photographers wait for dropped a ray on them. and all was sunny. 



Today, James heard the Ntiaktiak River was crossable so we were going to try our luck to find Fig the famed leopard. Well, the river was still full! but the flow was far less strong than the day before. still I held my breath as the James took the plunge. 



the rains had probably washed all wildlife out. we found very little, other than a Porini vehicle on the same mission as us, but no sign of Fig. Fig and the five musketeers had been high our to-see list, so we were disappointed on both fronts. But we did not come away from the trip terribly disappointed because our sightings were just so incredible, Fig and the muskes would have been icing on a cake. 

so the only thing of worth of a fleeing mother impala and her fawn from a couple of hyenas hunting for fresh meat. 




and a pretty but angry looking bird that fled too fast for a picture. 








Edited by Kitsafari
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So no Fig, no point hanging around the Mara Plains and Kempinski playgounds. back to Porini's backyard and we went to check out a zebra crossing. There were so many zebras in OMC that I swear that all the zebras have migrated to the conservancies from the Masai Mara National Reserve which was totally devoid of wildlife, except for a bustard or two, and elephants and giraffes tall enough to see their way through those tall tall grasses. the zebras must be doing very well in OMC as there were many foals. 








and then because there were also many impalas, and they are so often overlooked despite their beautiful tan golden skins, we had to stop for some handsome stags and a curious dik dik. 




and then it was finally time for a proper sit-down breakfast in OMC (we had it in the vehicle while watching the cheetahs the previous day). we always enjoyed a bush breakfast - simple fruit with yoghurt, muesli, eggs, and muffins or cakes and a nice hot cup of filtered black coffee with a stunning view in front of you, and just chatting with the guide, learning all you can about him. That makes me wish I was having breakfast in the bush again right this minute. :)



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James heard from another guide that a lone cheetah was found along the way to the old airstrip in the conservancy. I've forgotten the name now but this was the airstrip we were supposed to take the flight back to Nairobi the next day. we searched pretty long but couldn't find the cat. instead we found a couple of ostriches and a flock of vultures on a zebra carcass. we didn't stop to check it out.




Eventually we saw a Mara Plains vehicle having breakfast. after speaking to their guide, James double backed and finally found the lone female cheetah, all stretched out but looking lean and hungry. The cheetah was about 4 years old but was unknown to the guides, so they don't know her background. KBC3-113.thumb.JPG.c7717aee803324892442d8c93f7782d2.JPGDSC03639.thumb.JPG.b2d40359ea28f1dd3950393757e82092.JPGDSC03651.thumb.JPG.cd56558a9f525c0b7e053a8fd216f93c.JPGDSC03656.thumb.JPG.2dc64e6151c60a9430ceeb6be49ca893.JPGKBC3-114.thumb.JPG.706a7525a7049ac34b6370d65be4027f.JPG


while watching her, I took the chance to snap some photos of birds including a pretty European roller.




As if three cheetahs was not enough for the morning, James informed us that there were more to be seen, just about 2-3km away. so why not? more cats? what a surprise in OMC. :)

and what can get better than 1 single female cheetah or 2 cheetah sisters? 




well - 3 adult cheetahs of course! the siblings - two males and one female - all just gone independent. The two males looked well fed and were clearly very bonded, while the female was lean and still hungry. The two boys obviously dominated a kill, leaving her with probably scraps. she was the one who kept initiating moves and was on the lookout for a meal. Hopefully she would leave them soon and start a life without them. 

I have to be honest - Herman and I took tonnes of photos. not often do we see 3 adult cheetahs so when opportunity calls, we just had to let the camera do the work. prepare for a cheetah overload, again. 







the cheetahs would walk a bit, stop, the males would then groom each other, then the female would start walking and the two boys would follow and we would tail them. i think there were about 4-5 vehicles at the peak. 






they came to a small pond and decided to look for shade. they had walked for an hour and it was getting to noon. James said they were unlikely to go any further and true enough, they laid under a tiny sparse acacia bush and stayed put. 







Edited by Kitsafari
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Simply fantastic cheetah photos and encounters. And that river crossing sure did look adventurous!

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Game Warden

One could never tire of seeing cheetahs on safari. A great series of photos @Kitsafari



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@Marks @Game Warden thank you! I'm pleased you enjoyed the cheetah photos. 


We were on our last afternoon drive. funny how the days simply flew by with the routines we were on and the sightings we had. once again, some herbivores were contentedly grazing or staying still in the hot afternoon on our way out.


DSC03959-2.thumb.JPG.38ae781105fa758ce60fe22dc3895b46.JPG a speckled pigeon



a crowned lapwing



a yellow-billed oxpecker trying to use the zebra crossing







we were returning to the lone female to see if she had gotten a meal but she was still in the same spot. it had been too hot to move. or she could be unwell, it was hard to tell. 



a plane flew overhead - we were scheduled to be on that plane this time tomorrow. 


across the plains was the group of the three cheetahs but they were still hiding under the bush. 

Unbelievably, James said a friend in a supply truck that had driven by had told him there was a single male cheetah on the hills diagonally across the 3 cheetahs. We had to go see to believe it. 

And sure enough, the single male was very relaxed lying on the rocky hill slope. From where he was, you could see on his left the bushes where the 3 cheetahs were in the distance, and on the right, just over the rise of the hill the single female cheetah was resting. Including the 2 sisters we saw earlier in the morning, OMC had presented 7 cheetahs to us in a single day. 


single male coming into view - can you make him out?




another vehicle came by so we left to keep a vigil on the 3 -cheetah group which was just starting to move. a third vehicle was with the solo female. But it was still too early in the afternoon, and none of the cheetahs looked like they were ready to hunt. so after a little while more with the 3-cheetah gang, we decided to move on given that it was our last afternoon drive. 





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From the cheetahs to the lions - it seemed it has been a pattern over the last few days in OMC. 

The dikdik pride was scattered on the plains. but the buzz was over the male lion which had rejoined his pride to make sure they were all behaving. He must have been satisfied because the male was fast asleep deep in the bushes, completely indifferent to our needs. there he slept the whole time we were there. we only managed one photo of him - and that was the best angle we had. :(



so we sought solace in the rest of the pride. a cub decided to put into practice what his mother and aunties had been trying to teach her. she stalked an adult warthog running into and then out of the woods, but even she knew the risks to her body if she attempted to take on a fully tasked warthog. 







 a cub stalks while the others watched



it was around 6.00pm and on cue, the skies started to darkenKBC3-145.thumb.JPG.10e9882c1358e8c4ae32eb1faffa3729.JPG



one of the cubs enjoyed a rainbow's endKBC3-148.thumb.JPG.5bb96cc86af479d51f2d03d7792e1495.JPGDSC04083.thumb.JPG.09fc54cd12f9e97bbf523efcb9cf65cb.JPG


we decided to start making our way back to camp as the storm brewed above our heads...





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It had been raining every evening and night we had been in the Mara concessions. We had not seen the brilliant and awesome sunsets or sunrises that we had on our previous separate visits or that the Mara landscape is famous for.  

Our last morning in the Mara dawned as it always had  - dull, slightly cloudy and quiet. we had also hoped to see the small cats - servals, AFCs and perhaps with luck caracals. but no such little blessings. but we did see a bat-eared fox in the low light of dawn  - a rather shy one that ran in the opposite direction whenever we tried to follow it. 

just to show we did see a slippery fox



just on the horizon, a hippo was dashing home, already late on the clock to get back into its river.




James' years of experience drove him past another Kicheche vehicle full of photography-crazy friends to position himself for what he said was going to be cool silhouettes against a glorious sunrise. and true to his word, it was indeed, and finally, a glorious sunrise.


if you think it this way, the following number of the sunrise shots will make up for the missing seven nights of awesome sunsets and six nights of awesome sunrises. and double that number for my husband and me. :)


It began gently....




then the pink layer started to expand into deep blues and purples, and the colours intensified into red and orange and blazed as the sun came closer and closer to the horizon.







 and the sun rose, trying its hardest to burn the clouds away but tucked behind the clouds it still blazed strongly. 







what an incredible light show Mara put on for us. 



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our thirst for an amazing sunrise satiated, we turned our attention to the big cats. First we had a look in on the dikdik pride which was still on the plains where we had left them the previous evening. the male was not where he was and the lions didn't look like they had eaten overnight. 





having had enough of the dikdik pride, James said there was another pride that had been seen. so we went in search of them, racing with another porini vehicle to see who reached there first. they took the high route and we took the low route but we were there after they arrived. I'll like to say we took the proper route. 


and there were two cubs! two adorable young cubs with their mum. we arrived a little later, but james nudged us into a prime spot, right in front of mum and the zebra kill and the two tubby cubs playing around the kill. Mum would eat, stop, look up, made soft calls to make sure the cubs hadn't roam far away, then returned to the kill. the young ones were completely mesmerising, till i forgot to ask about the background of the pride. this was the hammerkop pride. 









Then Dad and aunty came sauntering back, probably having quenched their thirst somewhere down the hill. Dad, heavy with food, plopped down to catch up with his sleep.





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Aunty went off in a huff into a bush to sleep after mum turned cold on her. Mum decided she wanted to sleep too but wanted to keep the kill away from the prying eyes of vultures and eagles and other scavengers. she called for help but the male was too lazy and aunty was sulking. so superMom used her lion power to drag the zebra from one bush to another, manipulated it such that it was well hidden into the bush. before she could do that, the cubs decided to do a bit more practice and to soften the zebra a little to make her task that lighter.


More cub-fest! 
















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while the cubs were having fun, a huge dazzle of zebras had gathered to pay their respects at a distance to their compatriot and watched mom hide the kill. the group grew as more and more zebras came and went. 




Mom paid no attention to the zebras. 



cubs lending a helping hand...




dad wasn't spared from the cubs either



keeping an eye on the zebras...DSC04405.thumb.JPG.d971565601088c3239139646d64dfd1d.JPG


all in all, a day's work well done. even the mongoose peeked out to applaud, altho it quickly went into the den when a cub came to investigate





and it was back to play.KBC3-186.thumb.JPG.45f1e04c6ce248a44862890047e30341.JPGKBC3-187.thumb.JPG.e0f8a8c688be439db96b5e183b52a4f9.JPGDSC04528.thumb.JPG.221a0ffd06b4be2dd6a906e69973bb55.JPG



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we spent a solid good hour with the pride and cubs. honestly I could have stayed on just to watch their antics, but we hadn't had breakfast and it was time to move on. 

just a couple of videos on the cubs. 






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I had asked James when we arrived in OMC if it we could go to the Motorogi side of the conservancy. In our last TR on Mara, someone - I can't recall who - had mentioned it would be worth a side trip to Motorogi, and so this time I was keen to check it out. James said it was close by and we could have our breakfast there. Motorogi is unlike the Olare section. it is hilly and very rocky, but so remote and so quiet and peaceful. we saw no vehicle. it was just tranquil. we set up breakfast at a gorge and at the end of the gorge was Mahali Mzuri, Richard Branson's lodge in OMC. It looked gorgeous, overlooking the Mara river and the gorge, but it is a long rocky way to the plains where the action was so one will sacrifice time and sightings for a remote plush accomodation. I had often wondered why the Mahali guests looked so glum when we would often see them in my last trip three years ago. Now I know why. 





There were lots of zebras on the way back to the plains. James mentioned these could be part of the Loita zebras which now are trapped as they can't go on their traditional migration routes to the east. Land beyond the Mara concessions had been divided and each owner had fenced up their property, halting the loita zebra migration in its tracks. 








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A lovely sequence with the lion cubs, and stunning sunrise photos. You guide was right!


We once met a film maker who said he often used sunrises in place of sunsets in films as it was easier to cope with light increasing rather than decreasing, and he thought the colours were often better. They are certainly great in your photos.

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we checked in on the hammerkop pride but all the two lionesses and the 2 cubs were huddled inside a bush, fast asleep. dad got up and looked at us, then went back to dreamland. 



so we went to look for the 3-sibling cheetahs who were tucked under bushes, also flat out although the female was still hopeful and watching out for opportunities. but the giraffes were too large for her. she did have a fantastic view of Mara though. 




it was almost time to return to camp for lunch, do the final packing and wash up for our flight back to nairobi. then the elephants came to say goodbye. 


as the vehicle veered towards the jumbos, one of them walked quickly to the calf and steered it away from us. the curious young elephant kept coming towards the vehicle but each time the adult would use her trunk and tusks to nudge it away. 







and then it was back in the camp for lunch. we were asked to move to another tent to make way for new guests. the day tent had a nest  - the wiretailed swallow was building it and it was cool to watch it fetch mud and pat it on. the photo isn't very clear though, but hopefully you get the idea. 





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@TonyQ that's a good tip! I never thought of it that way. thanks for the compliment and I'm sorry I drowned you in so many of our photos!


thanks everyone for your patience, your comments and your likes. I really dragged this one out, no thanks to work in the office. We had a great time in the Mara, and we had a feast of lions, cheetahs and even leopards. It's one place you can always be certain of to see big cats. I kinda regretted we didn't get a chance to see Malaika now that her situation is uncertain. I hope the very best for her survival. 




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Thanks for a great report. You really had excellent cheetah sightings, among so many others. The Mara is a special place, and there is much to recommend with respect to the Conservancies. We really enjoyed our time there. 


On 3/16/2018 at 4:46 AM, Kitsafari said:

thanks everyone for your patience, your comments and your likes. I really dragged this one out, no thanks to work in the office.


You are a lot faster than I’ve ever been. Speaking of work obligations, if I can ever find the time even to get through all our photos, then I can think about starting my report from our visit a few weeks after yours and keep the narrative running. Fingers crossed......

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@Alexander33 Thank you! mara conservancies are bouncing with the big cats. It was the thought that I still had an unfinished TR hanging over me that I wanted to complete as soon as I had time.


Just an update on the 3 cheetah siblings - I've since found out that these were the cubs of Kiraposhe, and they went independent back in October/November. Very interesting that they stuck together for about 5 months as I had thought the female would  split from the males as soon as they were independent but I guess she was not ready to mate yet, hence she stuck with them. the latest update from the Mara Cheetah project is that the female has separated from the 2 boys. 




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Thanks so much for the update on the 3 cheetah siblings. We did see them, and they were still together on our last day (10 February), just to provide a timeframe for when the split may have occurred. When we saw them, the lone female looked as well fed as her brothers, so, hopefully, she is ready to move on to the next stage. 


Spoiler alert: I will also say that we saw Malaika and her two (sub-adult) cubs the same day. Any news there?

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Pumping is right!  Such cute lion cubs and it was nice to hear your voice in the background along with the thunder.  The lions jumping into the water are some great shots.  My fav of page 1 is the crowned crane with wet feathers.  Looking forward to the rest!

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@Atravelynn Thanks Lynn! i keep forgetting to zip up my mouth when I'm taping. LOL. 


are you planning to do a TR for your trip? I hope so and very much looking forward to it. 

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@Alexander33 so far, sadly, still no sightings of Malaika. :(


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@Kitsafari - catching up with your updates ..... as awesome as those amazing sightings go, I love that section with those classic Mara skies/ silhouettes..... thanks for this!

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