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Kenya - 3 different habitats (Mara, Tsavo, Sokoke)

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Kenya - 3 different habitats

3 - 20 Oct 2021



This is a story about three different habitats in Kenya. 

As always when I go to Kenya I use the great service of Gamewatchers safaris: https://www.porini.com/

This time was no exception and as always I was very happy with the service!

So..., what areas did I visit?
As I already have been in Naboisho, Olare Motorogi and Ol Kinyei in the Mara ecosystem and that I always go to the private reserves (for many reasons), I turned my head to Mara North.
Then onto Tsavo east in search for the rarest antelope on earth - Hirola. 

Finally I ended up at the coast in Watamu to visit the only Indian ocean coastal forest left in Africa of this size . Arabuko-Sokoke reserve.


Mara North 4 nights.

Tsavo east 3 nights.

Arabuko-Sokoke forest 3 nights. 


I used the service of Gamewatchers safaris for the first two parts, Mara North and Tsavo east and booked everything as a package with transport (by car) in between and they finally drove me to Watamu where I had arranged my own stay for the forest visit. 

Everything went very well as usual with Gamewatchers. 





I stayed 4 nights att Offbeat Mara camp: https://www.offbeatsafaris.com/offbeatmara

I really loved the place! Extraordinary good guiding and great food! Overall a peaceful and lovely camp.

Because of Covid-19 I was alone in the camp the first night (then more people came) and I got my own car the whole time which of course was a nice pandemic bonus :) 

To experience Mara ecosystem almost by yourself is a breathtaking experience that will probably not coming back. 

I got some short afternoon and night rains during my stay which spoiled a couple of nightdrives and I only did one.



Mara North in the early morning





Cheetah action was very good. A total of 7 Cheetahs was in Mara North during my stay. 4 adults and 3 cubs. 




Tsavo east


I stayed 3 nights in Ashnil aruba lodge: https://ashnilhotels.com/aruba/

It has a perfect location inside Tsavo east and also in the best area for Hirolas.

This is more of a lodge than a safari camp you find in the Mara private concessions. It lacks a bit of "personal feeling" because it´s a big place but the lodge is very nice and the food and service very good. 

What it lacks in personality, the location made up for it. 




Sunset in Tsavo east. Completely different habitat from Mara ecosystem. Very, very dry and with some different residents as well.





Young Lion from Tsavo east




Arabuko-Sokoke national reserve


I stayed 6 nights by the ocean at Ocean sports resort: https://www.oceansports.net/

A cheap but nice place with the best food! 

They also put me together with a guide in Arabuko-Sokoke forest who in turned had arranged a driver and a car for me. 

My guide was an old gentleman with the name David Ngala. He had spent all his life in this forest and he could find me everything! 
His in his late sixties but told me he could do another 2 or 3 years in the forest. A great man! 

There is some really cool endemics in here. Both mammals and birds.

I visited this forest for 3 days (3 mornings and 3 nightdrives) and rested at the resort in between. It´s around 15 minutes drive to the entrance from the resort. 

The last 3 days I did nothing. Just drank some beers and hang by the pool :) 




A patch of dry forest in Arabuko-sokoke. This is where the endemic Sokoke-Scoops owl lives...





Cool creatures in the forest. Northern greater galago



This was my introduction. Next posts will be about Mara North and then Tsavo east with the Arabuko-Sokoke forest as a grand finale.
Enjoy. Or...don´t if you prefer to :) 










Edited by Antee
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  • Antee changed the title to Kenya - 3 different habitats
Tom Kellie

~ @Antee: Thank you for preparing and posting these images.


The three habitats are a pleasingly effective way to present your trip report.


I like the photographs and the images.


I've never visited Tsavo East or the Arabuko-Sokoke forest, therefore this is especially interesting.


          Tom K.

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Mara North


Not only 7 Cheetahs in Mara North at the moment but also 3 prides of Lions and a couple of Nomads. First post from Mara north will include one of this pride but also a Spotted Hyena den and some other Mara north residents.
The migration didn´t reached Mara North this year because of the rains but there is always plenty of wildlife to be seen. There were some river crossings in the National reserve during my stay but I didn´t go there. Wanted to stay all my time in the private concession.




Mating group of Lions




He is a HUGE male




He seems not really "into it" when the females wanted to mate for the 20th time this day... tired? They had to push him...




But female charm gave some results at the end




Love story




Some sharp teeths right in the skull is perhaps not the way you want it... 




Okey, done! But not a love story anymore... 




He´s one of the biggest Lion I´ve seen









African buffalos abundant in Mara north

















Same pride of Lions again and still mating








The Hyena den had some small cubs




Little bit aware of the big big world outside...





There was so many Hyenas in this area that I counted them to at least 20 if I turned my head 360 degrees












When darkness came another pride of Lions took position for the nights hunt. They were very interested in those Zebras and waited for the darkness




Lonesome Topi in the fading light over Mara north



As usual I have to post some birds as well in the end of my posts and this time I turned the headlight on the Yellow billed oxpecker. 
They are so associated with safari for me and worth some seconds of your life :) 



Yellow-billed oxpecker



To be continued...

Edited by Antee
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Tom Kellie

~ @Antee: Several of the images are remarkable, showing the realities of life which are seldom observed.


The fading light portrait of the topi is especially appreciated as is the lion pride near the zebras.


Your Kenya visit was productive and fascinating.


Once again, thank you so much for sharing these images here.


       Tom K.

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Great shots @Antee.  Looking forward to reading about the rest of your stay.

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Mara North 


This post will include another pride of Lions with small cubs. This female Lion had withdrawn from the pride with her cubs and they were feasting on a Zebra kill. 

Also the first encounter with female Cheetah with her 3 cubs which we followed for a couple of days. 





Topi who survived the night





Kirk´s Dik-Dik is a common sight along the more lush areas





Male Impala enjoying the view over Mara North. Who can blame him... 





Two small cubs hidden away from the rest of the pride










Here is the mom. A very big and healthy looking female.






She had a Zebra kill. Not very much left of it as you can see





All full and satisfied






Some Elephants passed by on the Mara North plains






Just another Topi...





Female Cheetah 





She had 3 cubs and she was very active. Constantly looking for prey. she needs to hunt more or less every day






One of the naughty cubs





Looking for prey with mom...





We followed her and she constantly looked over every ridge





I guess it´s a bit hard to sneak with 3 cubs around





Looking... no, nothing





Every Impala and Gazelle were in Tanzania by now because of the playful cubs




Completely unable to sit still





Like I said, it can´t be easy to hunt with this dizzy weather in the heel... 





She didn´t find anything this time














In the heat of the day a Giraffe find it´s way back home...




Todays birds goes to a couple of safari classics.




Secretary bird




White-back vulture




To be continued...

Edited by Antee
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just fabulous. Thanks @Antee

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Beautiful shots @Antee! Especially love those beautiful lion and cheetah captures!

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Mara North


This part we follow the cheetah family to their sleep and my first encounter with the two nomadic young male Lions who has left their pride and still are in the same area but are expecting to go further away soon.

Also an Elephant SPA in the middle of the day. 


My only nightdrive as well. I had hoped for Zorilla and Serval which both are quite common during nightdrives in Mara north but neither showed up. Alot of Springhares, one Common genet and some other stuff you can see below. We also followed two Lions when they tried to attack some Zebras in the darkness. They failed. 



Cheetah in evening sun




They prepared for the night









Snuggle up...





...and went to sleep. Dreaming of a prey the next day instead






Giraffe in the last light






Another perspective





Rock hyrax from the camp. He was a resident. I saw him on this branch every night.





One of the Lions we followed who did an attempt to attack some Zebras in the night. They failed and went to the toilet... 





Alot of White-tailed mongooses in the night. They are everywhere





Crested porcupine - actually a lifer for me! I have only seen Cape porcupine before. The ones further south in Africa. They are very similar but can be distinguished by their distribution area





One of the now nomadic brothers who probably will take over a pride somewhere in the Mara in a couple of years

When they are this young, they are so undamaged unlike later when they look like a wreck





Elephants enjoyed a mud bath in the middle of the day






















I guess they were happy the rest of the day





Nile monitor lizard escape the Elephant madness in his home...




Todays birds will go to the beautiful family of kingfishers!




Woodland kingfisher





Grey-headed kingfisher





African pygmy kingfisher




To be continued...

Edited by Antee
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Mara North


Today the Cheetah family got a kill after a couple of miss. 

We also bumped into some Lions, big male brothers.

And some general game, even in my tent...

Phenomenal predator sightings in Mara North.




When Cheetah cubs see something to climb, they for sure do





They always climb. Meanwhile the female scan for prey. She was very hungry at this point. They hadn´t eat for a couple of days






First attempt failed. Very aggresive but way too impatient when she ran after some Gazelles´s





She didn´t ran for long and I was sure she would go again very soon...





...and she did. All went very fast. She spotted a Impala baby in the bushes and then it was game over



















Finally the family had a meal. Cubs got meal first





Then everyone dive into it













They ate the baby Impala very fast as Cheetahs always do before they risk being detected and the prey stolen from them





Impala ear, yummy













Bushbuck in a lush area




Thomson gazelle´s is not photographed as often. Well, here is one on three legs... 




Just another Topi





Two brother male Lions who looking to take over a pride
















Both of them









The light were fading out for all of us. Me heading back to camp and the Lions to the bush





The not so very sought after on safari - Hairy slit-faced bat hanging on my tent. Good with some company. There were also alot of Yellow-winged bats flying around camp at night




Today birds goes to a random couple often seen in Masai Mara.




Eastern grey woodpecker





Coqui francolin




To be continued...

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  • Antee changed the title to Kenya - 3 different habitats (Mara, Tsavo, Sokoke)

Mara North


The last post from my 4 days in Mara North before we going to Tsavo East.

Another lonesome female Cheetah appeared and she was as aggresive as the Cheetah family for finding prey. We followed her a bit but she went to an inaccessible area which we couldn´t follow.


There was also two big Cheetah males in Mara North. They used to hang around on the Serian plains towards Mara River and often hunt Topis. During my stay they didn´t do much. I encountered them twice and both time they were laying flat on the ground with no action. They looked very strong and healthy.


Also some more photos of the cheetah family and another Lion pride with cubs. 






Sunrise over Mara north. A new day begins





White-tailed mongoose is late for home. Strictly nocturnal he will now go back and have some sleep during the day






Lonesome female looking for prey. I only saw here once. 





Scanning the area





Just another elephant passing by





Pride of Lions with playful cubs





Let´s sneak on your brother/sister...





...got ya!





Once you got hold of your sibling, never let go!





But in the end they do liked each other









The father was in a bush close by and watched over the play





And so was the mother










Cheetah family again...





We stayed with her another 2 hours as she was again very aggresive





This time her strategy was to leave the cubs behind and then sit still and wait. Constantly watching the plain down below the ridge where it was some Thomson gazelles





The Gazelles didn´t come close enough though and there was no attack unfortunately. But a nice evening





Another family. Banded mongooses searching for food





Muddy face when you search for insects...





Male Cheetah. One of the two brothers who use to hunt Topis on the Serian plains. Not much action on them and this is the only photo I got of them






Mara river with some hippos





Topi in the last rays of the sun





Spotted hyena on the prowl at sunset








Todays birds will be some classics as well.




Mating pair of Ostriches





Yellow-billed stork in Mara River






D´arnauds barbet




This was my first time in Mara north and I loved it. It´s a great concession when it comes to Cheetah and Lions. 
I still think Olare Motorogi is the best Concession in Mara ecosystem but Mara north is a full-fledged challenger.


As I told you the migration didn´t reached Mara north this year but that´s doing nothing as it is plenty of wildlife all year round. 


Unfortunately no Leopard. There was 3 regular Leopards at the moment during my stay. One female and one female with a grown up cub. We searched alot for them and was very close to one (the Baboons went crazy) but didn´t succeed. 

I will end with my last picture from Mara north. The sunset my last evening. Holding a beer and enjoyed life.






To be continued.... 


In Tsavo East.

Edited by Antee
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Excellent pictures, the lion brother's sequence is particularly good as are your landscapes. Thanks for posting this report. 

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On 11/27/2021 at 8:52 PM, AKR1 said:


Excellent pictures, the lion brother's sequence is particularly good as are your landscapes. Thanks for posting this report. 

Thanx alot! 

But you are unfortunately the only one who liked this last post. Which make me consider not to finish this report. 
In the end everyone write reports not for their owns sake... but for others.

I appreciate it. Thanx.

Edited by Antee
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Hey @Anteekeep in mind it is a HUGE holiday weekend here in the USA, Thanksgiving…biggest of the year, more even than Christmas. So most people are with family or traveling. Even my Facebook page is very quiet. So that may explain some of it. Anyway I am enjoying the report although I am about to leave the country myself so won’t get back to it for awhile. 

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6 hours ago, janzin said:

Hey @Anteekeep in mind it is a HUGE holiday weekend here in the USA, Thanksgiving…biggest of the year, more even than Christmas. So most people are with family or traveling. Even my Facebook page is very quiet. So that may explain some of it. Anyway I am enjoying the report although I am about to leave the country myself so won’t get back to it for awhile. 

Thanx alot @janzin

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