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Appointment with a Leopard - Masai Mara one year on


penolva

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penolva

@Birdie Thank you we were very lucky. I am glad to report that the following day had cats all the way. The Mara is heaving with animals, migration or not. I don’t think there is another place like it. Pen

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You may have read my trip report from 2017 when we stayed at Brian Freeman's camp in the Masai Mara? During that trip, we spent a lot of time with a leopard called Bahati and she had two cubs, a male

Thanks for following along! A short distance away and sitting under a tree was Imani and her three beautiful cubs. They were quite young and had their 'honey badger' fur clearly visible. They fol

We planned a very early start as George was taking us to the edge of the border between the reserve and the conservancy to try to find the 'Five Musketeers', cheetah coalition, we had seen several tim

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What a dramatic day you’ve had in the Mara. Such fantastic lion sightings. George must be a really nice guy to look out for the lioness and her cubs and keep the sectret a while longer. 

It’s so strange to think how you saw the predator as a loving mother and the prey in its lovely environment just hours before and then to realize that the same lion was on that very waterbuck tearing it apart. 

Real life drama in the Mara, plus add to that the amazing sky and you get a big theater experience. 

 

Can’t wait to be there one day. The LP travel Guide came in the mail today. Keep your fingers crossed!

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penolva

@KaliCA it’s always wonderful to see lions but I am glad I missed the actual kill. I am sure you and your DH will make it to the Masai Mara soon. You would both love self driving there. Pen 

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penolva

It was our last day in the Mara. We heard lions roaring in the night and hoped we could find them this morning. George had been telling us about a pride of 13 lions that were in the area so we set off to find them. We came to a small ravine with a stream running through it and spread out in the grass either side of the ravine were 11 lions that we could see. They were a mixture of young 'teenagers' with some older lions with them. They were very beautiful. Almost like brand new lions. The markings on them showed they were still young. I do not know the name of the pride. I don't think George mentioned it. There was no point when all 11 were in shot together.

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Lions on the other side of the ravine.

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With luck six of them decided to go down to the stream for a drink. The light was perfect and they gave us a great opportunity to photograph them drinking and socialising. 

 

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Once they finished they climbed out our side and walked off to join the others. Looking as if they might hunt we started to follow them. George then asked if we would prefer to see Amani and the cheetah cubs again. Decision time but we had spent a long time with lions the day before and these were quickly disappearing in the grass. Cheetah cubs it was!

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I love this one with all them 'all ears'.

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I also love the “all ears” pic as well as the ones by the water with the greenery. Lovely!

what a hard decision to choose between lions and cheetah! 

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Tom Kellie

~ @penolva

 

Your last day in the Mara was a lion extravaganza.

 

Splendid images!

 

As @KaliCA said above, the “all ears” photo is a winner!

 

Tom K.

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penolva
2 hours ago, KaliCA said:

I also love the “all ears” pic as well as the ones by the water with the greenery. Lovely!

what a hard decision to choose between lions and cheetah! 

@KaliCA thank you. I was reluctant to leave them but they were obviously on a mission away from us. Meanwhile the cheetah were ready to give us one of the best experience of our many trips to Africa  ?

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penolva
2 hours ago, Tom Kellie said:

~ @penolva

 

Your last day in the Mara was a lion extravaganza.

 

Splendid images!

 

As @KaliCA said above, the “all ears” photo is a winner!

 

Tom K.

@Tom Kellie welcome from China! I really love the ‘all ears’ so alert and healthy. Pen 

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penolva

Prepare for cheetah overload @madaboutcheetah We drove to the same area we saw the cheetah family last time. Just outside the concession. There were only two or three other vehicles. The cubs were in a very playful mood and began by chasing each other up a tree.

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Next up was chase each other around the tree. They were so fast it was difficult to keep up with them. It was fascinating watching them use play to practice and hone their hunting skills.1X1A4100.jpg.f84d6f6ed575c4fc7fd5debb5b7452c7.jpg1X1A4101.jpg.89fb1c68f77aa1bc8d48181f78bd6e8b.jpg

 

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Next up it was go and find Mum. The way this cub is looking at Amani with such adoration belies the fact it was preparing to attack! Maybe the teeth give it away?

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They all decided it was great fun to jump all over her and ride on her back. She was so patient with them.

 

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Of course her tail could not be resisted and got a good biting.

 

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We were so excited to see such great interaction and the energy those little cubs had. They then decided it was time to run, really fast. I have many blurred photographs as I quite a slow lens!

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Luckily one or two were OK.

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They finally settled down to rest and it was time for us to have breakfast. Amani sat on her own and we took the opportunity of photographing her alone. Such a beautiful cheetah and such a great mother. I heard that recently she still has all three with her so we hope they survive.

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blindbumpy

There is no such thing as cheetah overload.  :)  Not that there was a wrong decision to make, but I think you definitely made the right call to go find the cheetah as opposed to staying longer with the lions.  It must have been very hard to leave such a place with the cat (and all) sightings you have had over the past week!

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penolva
7 hours ago, blindbumpy said:

There is no such thing as cheetah overload.  :)  Not that there was a wrong decision to make, but I think you definitely made the right call to go find the cheetah as opposed to staying longer with the lions.  It must have been very hard to leave such a place with the cat (and all) sightings you have had over the past week!

@blindbumpy very hard to leave the MM. It’s absolutely amazing. We will definitely return and hopefully for longer next time. If only the park fees were not so high. It really adds a big cost to the trip compared to Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Pen 

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penolva

Our last afternoon and we decided to see if we could see some wildebeest. George heard a large group were migrating to Tanzania. He found them straight away. We felt as if we had really caught up with the migration as they behaved just the same way they do at the Mara river. They seemed frightened of the spoonbills!

Walking in a line to the water.

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They all turned away and headed south. Even with just a couple of hundred, it was still an amazing sight to see.

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As we left them we saw some lions in the bushes. That was the reason they panicked! George said one of the females was pregnant. She turns almost white when pregnant so the guides recognise her.

 

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The next morning we had time for a game drive. By leaving Nairobi on the first flight out and the last one back its possible to have extra game drives. I am not sure if all the camps allow this but Brian Freeman did and so did Malika. We paid 6 nights park fees and paid Malika Camp for 6 nights.

 

They are offering a private vehicle, full board, tent with bucket shower etc for USD500 for a single and USD650 for a couple. It has to be one of the best bargains in the Mara and being right on the river its a wonderful location. Anyone booking should mention me to Johan or John as I have agreed on the price with them (Christine). We will be returning to Malika Camp.

 

First up a lovely breeding herd of elephants. Its great to see the babies with their mothers in the wild instead of orphans in the DSWT orphanage. Poachers kill the mothers and then leave the babies to starve. DSWT also de snare animals in the national parks and provide anti-poaching patrols on foot and by air in most of Kenya. They are well worth supporting. 

 

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Everyone came out to say goodbye. 

 

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The flight back to Nairobi was a little bumpy but I managed some photographs including some of the huge impressive houses being built outside Nairobi. In the background of the last one its possible to see the Kibera slum. We are returning to Kenya later this year with some friends to spend more time with the orphans. After our first trip there it seems we have Kenya under our skin and will be returning as often as possible. The Masai Mara and baby elephants. What could be better? :) That's all folks. Pen

 

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Alexander33

So many great sightings to remember, but the lions on the hunt for the buffalo has to be especially memorable. What an amazing experience.

 

I’m missing the Mara — time to go back!  Thank you for sharing your trip with us. 

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penolva

@Alexander33 thank you and I will look out for your trip report when you return.  The lions and the buffalo were definitely memorable. I still can't believe they came so close and that I was able to snatch that one photograph. Pen

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@penolvathanks dear friend for sharing your fantastic trip with us. You have certainly made me hungry to go see the Mara very soon. 

What beautiful ever-lasting  Mara memories. 

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Thank you for a wonderful report with great photos

A great trip!

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penolva
11 hours ago, KaliCA said:

@penolvathanks dear friend for sharing your fantastic trip with us. You have certainly made me hungry to go see the Mara very soon. 

What beautiful ever-lasting  Mara memories. 

@KaliCA So glad you enjoyed my TR thanks for reading. I hope you two special people get the opportunity to drive through the Masai Mara one day. 

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Wow! What sightings! Cheetahs with cubs, lions with cubs, elephants chasing cheetahs, rhinos - how are you ever going to top those sightings!

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I love the cheetahs playing - what a treat! Those are quite the (enormous) houses in Karen - I wouldn't want to have to clean them. 

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penolva
21 minutes ago, Birdie said:

I love the cheetahs playing - what a treat! Those are quite the (enormous) houses in Karen - I wouldn't want to have to clean them. 

Thanks @Birdie I loved those cubs and the whole trip. We will be going back one day. Those houses are enormous and when you compare them to the slum which is so close by you wonder who can afford to buy them. Pen

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  • 2 weeks later...

Really interesting to see the waterbuck's stomach contents--so identifiably green. Love the little cheetahs and the battle-scarred old hippo out of the water!

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penolva

@Marks thanks for reading once again. We had some great sightings. The Mara never fails to deliver. Pen

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  • 2 months later...
monalisa

@penolva I am just starting to read your TR now and am absolutely loving it so far!!

 

I gasped when I saw this picture. It is just so gorgeous with the 3 little babies. Would you be so kind as to let me have a copy of it please?  :wub:

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penolva
20 minutes ago, monalisa said:

@penolva I am just starting to read your TR now and am absolutely loving it so far!!

 

I gasped when I saw this picture. It is just so gorgeous with the 3 little babies. Would you be so kind as to let me have a copy of it please?  :wub:

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Hi glad you are enjoying the TR. Of course, I can send you the photograph. Just let me have your email address, in a private message. Pen

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  • 5 months later...

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