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A Kenyan Adventure - November 2021


Toxic

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Thank you @BRACQUENE, @michael-ibk, @Atravelynnand everyone else who is silently following along. I will post the next update which I think was my final day in Mugie before flying to the Mara after Christmas as fully planning on indulging in all the treats and food we have lying around tomorrow.

 

Michael I was in Porini Rhino Camp also at the end of my trip, Dec 5-8.  I think that location was definitely one of the trip highlights. Have you posted a trip report I've missed? :o

 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! 

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michael-ibk
8 minutes ago, Toxic said:

Have you posted a trip report I've missed? :o

 No, we'll see if I get around to do one. 

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Atravelynn

How exciting to be visited by Tala.  That's quite a photo of the two of you.  Great cheetah and thanks for pointing out the bit of blood from its meal.  I remember the first cheetah I saw too--Nairobi National Park in 1994.  As you can tell cheetahs are a favorite.  Hope you enjoyed your labor-intensive bush breakfast.  You can view at as providing secure employment for those 8 staff members.  Beautiful light on the elephants.

Enjoy your Christmas break.

 

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Trying to squeeze out another couple of daily reports before the year is over!

 

Day 7 - Mugie Conservancy, Laikipia 

 

During breakfast I enjoyed watching David, one of the people who was looking after me, tempt over some Go-Away Birds to tight rope walk in exchange for some treats.  We had 4 lining up at one stage, and I quite enjoy the second photo where one has decided to sun bathe whilst on the sun lounger. :lol:

 

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Also enjoyed watching this emerald-spotted wood dove through the window in my room (photo is a bit rubbish, he wasn't still for very long!)

 

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On to our drive, and following the success the previous two days, we went searching for whatever we could find! I took this picture of the buffalo skull resting on the branch because I found it so eerie considering we were heading into this territory with no one else around.

 

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In heavy bush, we found a large herd of elephants. We tried to get a little closer but they indicated some displeasure at our presence so, never being one to tempt fate, we turned around and got out of there quickly!

 

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A small tower of reticulated giraffe, a large group of oryxes and a very shy steenbok.

 

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And what I'm pretty sure was the same family unit of (calm) eles as the previous day's drive

 

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A lazy hippo pod

 

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As I was driven to the airstrip to depart for the Mara, we had a poser kudu.

 

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My bush flight with AirKenya was late by 25 minutes, after they had changed the arrival time to be an hour earlier than what was originally scheduled. It was also no longer going to the airstrip I was booked on for, and instead would land somewhere else for a transfer to a much bigger plane, that would then take me to another different airstrip.

 

On the bright side, for 40 minutes until we got to the larger plane, I was the only person in this one.

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Day 8 - Mara National Park, my first Serval 

 

I made it to Little Governor's Camp without any drama. This would be my first time staying in tented accommodation on safari. As I'm sure many first-timers staying in camps experience, my biggest concern was eight-legged nasties lurking around any canvas corners.  I was very surprised and impressed - aside from a few tiny flies and a baby gecko and its parent, there was nothing in here but me.  

 

I arrived just before lunch so there was enough time to freshen up from the early morning (delayed) flights and enjoy the verandah. For those that don't know, Little Governor's Camp overlooks some marshland and is unfenced, so is frequented by many animals.

 

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Lunch was great, and it was then time for my first game drive in the Mara!  I was very excited. 

 

The first thing we saw was a serval - another first - looking for some food. It was a very exciting experience watching his giant ears working overtime at every little sound, to witness him jumping around in search for something delectable.

 

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In a weird second-first at the same sighting, this was also my first "kill".  He had found a rodent. I have a video of him devouring it, so the following photo is a screengrab from that video - I appreciate the quality is therefore shocking but will see if I can upload the video and link it here!

 

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We also saw a large family unit of baboons. I know many don't like them but I enjoy watching them.

 

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Beautiful crowned crane - loved watching these birds!

 

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And the Marsh Pride. We sat with them for a while, as the cubs we very playful. They even came over to our car and began playing with the tire. 

 

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Other sightings on my first drive in the Mara:

 

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Atravelynn

A serval kill is fitting after a private flight to the Mara!

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I know exactly where you are now, having self-driven there in September. It’s a beautiful and very game-rich area.  Fancy tent! And Little Governor’s is only one of the two lodges inside the Mara Conservancy, the other being the Mara Serena Lodge. I’m sure you enjoyed some exclusivity. Great start in the Mara with a serval and its kill. 

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Toxic

Happy new year to everyone following along!

 

@KaliCAyes your TR was one I was following with great interest as you mentioned where you were so I was using it as a little taster of what could be!

 

 

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Toxic
Posted (edited)

Day 9 - More Mara

 

This morning started with a short ride to where we saw the Marsh Pride. This is the current ruler, named Half Tail (hopefully for obvious reasons :lol:)

 

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My guide, Oliver, was intent on finding a leopard today, so we went in search for one.  We went towards a Masai village where one is known to linger, but on the journey we saw tons of Wildebeest all walking in a single line and some Topi.

 

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Also some mongooses, some warthogs and this hippo crossing the road

 

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We were unsuccessful in our search for a leopard, but we did come across my second ever cheetah!  She was heading towards some heavy grass, so it was only a short sighting, but it was nice seeing her - and she was pregnant. 

 

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As she went to rest, we decided it was time to move on. Not too far down the road, we came across these hyenas who were being very photogenic. 

 

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Onwards we go, and we came across two male ostriches trying to court a single female. I have a video of the courting dance which I found very funny which I will upload and post here in a later update.

 

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On the way back to the lodge we saw some giraffe, and then it was time for lunch.

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To get back to camp (and to get to the vehicles to go on game drives), we have to cross the river on this small boat. We often started with views of some crocodiles or hippos, which was fun.

 

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Little Governor's has some resident warthogs (and actually a few days before I arrived a baby elephant was born in camp!) which I enjoyed watching while eating (those with excellent eyesight will also see a lovely herd of elephants grazing in the distance).

 

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After lunch, time for some rest and relaxation before it was time for my next afternoon drive.

 

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BRACQUENE

Happy new year to you as well  @Toxic and continuing to appreciate your trip report and of course that serval kill  ;  I hope to have another good sighting next July (at night most likely ) in the Luangwa Valley of those beautiful creatures !

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Toxic

Day 9 - More Mara and a Leopard (Part 2) 

 

The first sighting was this twerking giraffe, followed by the female ostrich who had clearly run a mile after seeing the courting dance!

 

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I enjoyed this Hamerkop standing on his own version of pride rock.

 

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Storm clouds gathering.

 

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And a croc!

 

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think this is a kite of some sort standing not too far from the sunbathing crocodile. 

 

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Doctor Jackal and Mr Giraffe

 

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And then boom! We found our leopard. I will say this is the only negative experience I had in Kenya. There are rules posted all over the place about "No off-roading", "only 5 vehicles to a sighting", "keep a good distance from the animals" - no one was following these rules.


The leopard didn't seem to mind, but there was only one of her and I counted *15* vehicles towards the end of the sighting. I took the photo of all the cars to remind myself of this.

 

Again, those with good eyes will see she too has an injury on her thigh. This was apparently a few weeks old and was healing well, and was caused by an aggressive male who came across her in his territory. 

 

I don't know what happened in the photo where she was walking towards our car where everything but her coat is blurred, but I'm including it because I love the colours of her coat.

 

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At this point, the first rain of my trip occurred - the heavens opened and Zeus began to hurl down some bolts of lightning. It was time to go back to camp, and cross that river in a tiny boat while torrential rain was going on - fun! :lol:

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Toxic
10 minutes ago, BRACQUENE said:

 I hope to have another good sighting next July (at night most likely ) in the Luangwa Valley of those beautiful creatures !

 

Thank you @BRACQUENE- I hope you do too! I really love them, and I love the photos you manage to take of all the animals that you then kindly share with us all here. 

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Atravelynn

Glad you found a leopard or maybe it found you.  I too witnessed some unacceptable driving behavior in the Mara.  Sad.

 

I believe the kite is the black shouldered. 

 

The pic above this comment "After lunch, time for some rest and relaxation before it was time for my next afternoon drive." looks exactly like one I took 28 years ago at Little Governor's and I can only wonder if that warthog is a child or grandchild of the one near my lunch table.  Same old routine for the warthogs, it seems.

 

Beautiful skies.  What day did it rain?  Do you remember?  It rained briefly Nov 13 in the Mara, the first and only rain we experienced.

 

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Toxic
On 1/6/2022 at 1:19 AM, Atravelynn said:

Same old routine for the warthogs, it seems.

It was quite something watching them come so close without a care in the world, and then jumping into the marsh to get wet to then start the process again! Plenty of little ones running around too. 

 

On 1/6/2022 at 1:19 AM, Atravelynn said:

What day did it rain?  Do you remember?  It rained briefly Nov 13 in the Mara, the first and only rain we experienced.

 

According to my phone it was the 28th November. It was fantastic - I saw the previous day a lightning storm in the distance but it and the rain never reached us. Going to sleep with rain hitting the tent was a very soothing experience. It rained one more time on my trip, but not in the Mara, and only for a short time in the night.

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Toxic

Day 10 - The Serval is back

 

An early start had us crossing the river as usual, and the ground very wet from some much needed rain.  Our first sighting of the morning was a serval. My guide was pretty sure it was the same one I saw a few days previously; it was relatively close to our first sighting (and for those that know the area, is the Musiara airstrip).

 

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A good start! As he made his way over the fresh water ditch, he disappeared into the grass to look for some breakfast, and we continued our journey.

 

Our second sighting of the morning was this male cheetah.

 

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He proceeded over to a mound, and in the distance was a male impala. They had seen each other.

 

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Of course he couldn't be bothered to go catch some breakfast, so he continued relaxing. 

 

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At this point another 3 cars had pulled up, so it was time for us to move on.  Some other sightings during this morning's drive:

 

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It was time to head back to the camp. I think I mentioned earlier in the thread that a baby elephant was born in camp a few days prior to my arrival. The mum would bring the baby in occasionally to show her off. Here she is in the distance while I was enjoying lunch:

 

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Toxic

Day 10 - Afternoon Drive: The Olololo Males

 

The afternoon drive took us to the other side of the river (I didn't have to cross it to get to the car, this time I just went behind the camp). It started off immediately, with a huge group of giraffe. I counted 18!  These 5 were posing near this dead tree, so I won't share all the photos of all the giraffe :lol:

 

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A little landscape - I called this the Mara Canyon but I have no idea what its real name is!  Some waterbuck and my first secretary bird followed.

 

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I was in awe at the landscape. It really is stunning, so peaceful and compared to London is like heaven on Earth!

 

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We approached two slumbering male lions. They are two Olololo (I hope that is the correct spelling) pride males, and they were very impressive. 

 

The best part is that this side of the park seemed deserted. We had this entire sighting to ourselves, so we spent a good 20 minutes watching them (as you'll see there were some watchful zebra in the distance)

 

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As they went back to snooze, we heard some ele's in the distance so we went in that direction.

 

We found a beautiful herd of 15+ eles, so we parked the car and remained quiet as they approached to cross the road. A magical experience, and as I think I've said earlier, I don't consider any time with any elephants wasted. They are beautiful, majestic and I just love them so much.

 

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I have a video of the elephants crossing the road, and also making it to a smaller herd and making a great deal of noise! Fun to watch and listen to.

 

The sun began to set, and so it was time to head back to camp.

 

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Toxic

My last drive in the Mara: huge elephant herd

 

It was time to head back to Nairobi for a night's rest before heading to Porini Amboseli Camp, but time for my final game drive in the Mara, still on the other side of the river. 

 

I took a picture of this plane shell. It is from a collision with a wildebeest a few years back. The plane has been stripped of any interiors or parts, and is seemingly there for all eternity now.

 

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Big Hippo, Small Stream

 

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Now, I think this would be one of my favourite sightings in the Mara. I counted an incredible 60 elephants (and I'm sure there were some I couldn't see). We parked the car and just watched them go about their business. Magical.

 

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Again, I have videos of them crossing the road. Governor's uploaded this video I captured on their YouTube:

 

 

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Toxic

And then a Mara photo drop for some photos that didn't make it into the above posts:

 

Mother and her sweet baby

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Black Rhino

 

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AKR1

@Toxic

you have some evocative pictures of the Mara. The size of elephant herd is amazing for the Mara and very encouraging in terms of the authorities success in overcoming poaching.  

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@ToxicVery happy to read this report, the more so because I hope to be in the same area for 11 days this February, if everything goes well.

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Toxic

Thank you @AKR1! Yes I was very happy with how populated the area was with elephants, and with so many babies and youngsters around.  Absolutely beautiful and as you say very encouraging!

 

@Bikooh that is very exciting! Not too long to go now for you and I bet it's very lovely and green right now!

 

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Toxic

Day 12 - Selenkay Conservancy (Porini Amboseli Camp)

 

Animal carcass photo ahead for those that don't want to view 

 

I was met at my hotel (I stayed at Eka Hotel for my overnight in Nairobi.) at 7am by Nicholas from Gamewatchers. A lovely man - his stories are fascinating!  I anticipated the drive from Nairobi to Selenkay to take 5 hours but we got there in just over two.  My guides, Julius and John, met me and after a short vehicle swap, we were on the way. I was told I brought the rain with me as there was a small shower on our drive.  The land here really needed it - as you'll see from the photos, this area was very, very dry.

 

On the way in 

 

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Evening game drive

 

My first gerenuk! I only knew of their existence from ST, never have I seen anything like it. Watching them was fascinating!

 

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Then we came across this young giraffe carcass. A lion had brought it down and eaten what it wanted and this is what was left.

 

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We continued driving when something caught my eye - I foolishly yelled "hyena!" 😳  As we turned around to investigate my sighting, it turned out not to be a hyena, but actually part of the Selenkay Pride. This male had apparently only recently overthrown the previous dominant male, and was now reaping the rewards with the ladies.  One of the females is called Noldupai and the male is called Olngejuk (I'm sure I've misspelt those).

 

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Time for a sundowner

 

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Whoooo (sorry) is that?

 

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Time to sleep.  It did rain again in the night, but for maybe 10 minutes. The land really needed it!

 

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Atravelynn

The rollers with the balloon in back is a clever shot.  Lots of great wildlife and the Mara Canyon in full greenery!  Nice going with the rhino, that had to be exciting.  Lots of young ones in that ele herd!

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Neeners815

Thanks so much for the report - really enjoyed reading it and the photos :)

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