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second family safari in kenya-this time all kicheche camps in the mara


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first time trip report so go easy on me please! you have all been so helpful so a shout out to you for answering so many questions. Sangeeta, thanks for helping us plan yet another wonderful safari. I know you wanted me to see another country but Kenya had gotten under my skin and I felt like I had to return. Amybatt, you were one of the first folks i reached out to and you were so helpful. 


we went on a 2 week family safari last year in kenya and decided to return again this year. my husband was so apprehensive about going to kenya last year and he was the one who suggested we return! we chose kicheche camps since were so happy with the kicheche camps last year (lakiipia and mara)-their high standard of guiding, the communal and delicious meals, a pv for a party of 4 or more, the open and comfy vehicles and the small intimate tented environment. Sammy was our teen's askari last year and this year he was ours as well. it was wonderful to see Sammy and Hudson and the rest of the staff. wonderful service with a smile. P1060286.JPG.21d90f10c2ac81f64f6d52fe5bd377c9.JPG


kicheche mara 4 nights (we stayed here last year too), kicheche valley 4 nights and bush camp 3 nights. we had separate tents from our teens, 14 and 16, bc my daughter said it was already too much family togetherness time!

we returned to mara camp and were welcomed by the new managers, ray and tony. they were fabulous-funny, super friendly, welcoming. tony played a mean game of scrabble with my daughter. Raymond kept the communal dinner table conversations going. both made sure my teens were included in conversations. we shared many laughs! we asked for curry for lunch as we loved it last year, and even though it wasn't sunday, the chef served a mean curry with chapatti. 8 tents. we said we didn't mind walking to the dining tent so they gave my husband and me the honeymoon tent! it was the farthest away-like a 9 minute walk! happy 25th to us!

George was our silver guide this time.  he was very friendly and informative about all the animals. my kids really liked him and we all learned so much. we told him we never saw a leopard last year on our 2 week safari and he found one the first day-high in a tree with its prey.

conditions were very different this year than last. due to all the rain, the grasses were much higher and George had to work much harder to find the predators, but he sure did. we saw a lot of babies this year-lion cubs, adorable fuzzy cheetah cubs, many elephant babies (our favorites.) his eagle eyes found a family of hyenas munching on a baby zebra. we heard their laughs-so creepy. we watched with fascination when we were sure we were going to see 4 lionesses kill a pumba in the tall grasses-but it was foiled when the 2 lions in the front didn't get the message that the lions in the back were ready to attack. makes you realize how hard a kill can be. we were glad to see hugo is still safe - he is a big bull elephant with huge tusks so he is collared for his protection. great viewings, even with the long grasses. 


weather was also colder in the mornings and at times cloudy and rainy. last time we had pure blue skies. 

George also took us to see the controlled grazing done by the cows and the masia. fascinating. on our final day, he gave each of my children a masai plaid blanket. so thoughtful.

we had hippos, elephants and zebras outside our tents at night. 2 giraffe were 10 feet away one afternoon after lunch. the view from our lunch table under the shade tree was amazing-varied animals every day and bush babies calling when we sat around the camp fire before dinner. we slept so well hearing the animals and the running stream. 






















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13 minutes ago, plambers said:

Kenya had gotten under my skin and I felt like I had to return.


I know the feeling exactly!


Great start @plambers, I am looking forward to following this trip report.

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can someone tell me how to divide my pics so i can narrate under them?


@offshorebirder, thanks! i would return tomorrow if i had more $$ and more vacation time! we now live in charlotte, nc so not too far away from you.P1060900.JPG.cb7149448b16add923a44d1a792d1094.JPGP1070022.JPG.fb1593d992460c54e2d038eaa1ba3b67.JPG


it was a very good day, but our guide had to work harder to find the predators, since they can take cover in the long grasses. herbivores will only stay in the shorter grassy areas since lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyena and easily hide and pounce on a poor impala or gazelle. 


the most exciting thing we saw today was an almost certain kill. a warthog was walking all alone some very tall grass. unbeknownst to him, 4 female lions were stalkling him. the grass totally covered them so all you could see were shadows, and when they crouched low, you could not see anything. 2 flanked him and went behind, and 2 in front. we watched this unravel for over an hour. we were holding our breath, not sure who we were rooting for. well, the 2 lions in front did not get the message that the 2 in the back were charging the pumba so he escaped!! it made us realize how hard a kill actually is.


the next morning, we had breakfast above the mara river where we saw tons of hippos and crocs. the hippos were really loud. P1070012.JPG.83619a9a3fe8216abe2e5eada154119c.JPG










Edited by plambers
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Great start to your report and excellent photos.  I'm so glad your first safari inspired the second and that everyone enjoyed it even more the second time!  You're making long to go back!

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P1070685.JPG.cdb028ebe2cfb79be49cf992b8e40b35.JPGP1070696.JPG.8f757d7cd8201f06cd871167edf8fe22.JPGP1070773.JPG.388234ca20cafddf38c5670b8d6789d0.JPGP1070774.JPG.7187e908667d2039d8e37b528552f72b.JPGP1070946.JPG.bf2c6bb52e6e28b395e7c84cfbeafed5.JPGP1080016.JPG.9c13ccf63a5e41100cb8dcb54c12a66c.JPGP1070843.JPG.420c17dcb68aa13aee4111bf043d3ef3.JPGP1070811.JPG.f27bdd10851dd6d2f6394bf21aa0f67b.JPGP1080081.JPG.260ff376f4ba5c9922db45c111e436f9.JPGP1080079.JPG.bc19669ba42c5d2106de8df58b2bd4c7.JPGP1080038.JPG.6ed3386e3617fdef6fe3b41746413705.JPGP1080034.JPG.c1d0a0c91c3cce1867b2d75ef425925e.JPGP1070932.JPG.ded1a6d3b23bdb41c7258b5387e495e0.JPGlast night everyone heard lions and hyenas about our camp so we knew a kill had been made. we weren't sure if any of the kill would be left, but we wanted to find some lions, and they are most active in the early morning. 


on the way, we saw a giraffe couple. the male was trying to get lucky and the female was not interested. still a great silhouette shot!


we came upon 2 male and 1 female lion who had recently fed.


 there was some competition for the female. she was definitely more interested in one of them, but she was still not ready to mate. 


i also mentioned the controlled grazing used by the masai and their cattle. we encountered a young masai and his heard of cattle and he happily posed for a picture. this controlled grazing helps keep the grasses shorter and the cows fed.


we also found some cape buffalo. last year, a lone male charged our vehicle which terrified jack. jack nicknamed them "spawn of satan." take a look at the oxpecker bird eating the nits and tics off him. they have a symbiotic relationship. 

thanks all for the kind words of encouragement and thanks for following along! i still haven't figured out how to assemble the photos so i can write under them.P1070959.JPG.1f521a8d0ac5aebd4820f03742089f94.JPG

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@plambers - First I click the "choose files" link to upload photos.   This stacks them up in the bottom left of the window. 


Then I start typing the test of my post and when it's time for a photo, I click the button to center-justify, then click one of the photos in the bottom left.   That inserts the photo into the text of your post. 


Then you can click back in the text editor, under the photo.  You can also click anywhere and use the arrow keys, "Page Down", etc. to get under the first photo to type in more text.   After typing more text, you can click on the next photo (in the staging area in the bottom left) you want to insert in your post.

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