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@athene I am very much enjoying your report. Beautiful pictures, as always. And very useful to read about the lodge and the conservancy, I may consider a lodge close to the river instead of that beautiful lodge you stayed in, to be closer to where the wildlife is.

Looking forward to the rest of the report.

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BRACQUENE

Better late than never @AtheneI missed the start of this fantastic TR until now with amazing pictures ( the Gerenuk amongst others  ! ) that made me long for the bush instantly ;) 

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Athene

Thank you  @Biko Apart from Saruni vehicles, we saw mostly visitors from Elephant Bedroom camp. The dutch lady we met at our lodge had also stayed at Elephant Bedroom and preferred it due to the location at the river.

 

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Athene

Just a couple of pictures from yesterday afternoon in the conservancy:

 

warthog mum with piglets

 

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and big-eyed Dik-Dik

 

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Athene

Second and last full day

 

We very much enjoyed our morning game drive with a Cheetah sighting which we were not expecting in Samburu

 

But first from our drive down towards the river

 

Grant's gazelle and Zebra in the beautiful morning light

 

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Beisa Oryx

 

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Be prepared for a cheetah cub overload :)

 

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It was a mother cheetah with four cubs.

 

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We couldn't tell them apart, but they showed their different characters in their play.

 

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They were very active and very fast. Play time:

 

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Mum affection time

 

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On the move

 

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They disappeared into the bush and we drove around on the track to see if we could pick up on them again at the other side.

 

On the way we stopped for a Martial Eagle

 

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We found them again close to the road under a bush after a nap

 

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Mum always watchful

 

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Laying low

 

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Looking rather frail

 

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Fly versus Cheetah cub:

 

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Quality time with mum

 

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They left into the bushes again and we moved on

 

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Our first sighting of the Somali ostrich

 

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Red-billed hornbill

 

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This was the end of our morning drive; the encounter with the cheetahs was so unexpected and beautiful

 

The afternoon game drive was quiet again - the two morning drives were more productive

 

Gerenuk very elegant

 

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Reticulated Giraffe up close

 

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Elephant bulls crossing the Ewaso Ng'iro river

 

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Impala

 

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Giraffes in the evening light

 

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Driving back through the Kalama conservancy we saw this Ostrich family in the fading light

 

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Summary of my thoughts about our visit to Samburu:

 

Our 3 nights stay was better than I had hoped. We didn't see any lions but had exceptional sightings with leopard and cheetah. The elephants seemed to be very relaxed even with lots of calves.  We saw all of the special 5. The landscape is spectacular and the light for photography in the morning and evening was very good. Our guide Lepayon was good, knowledgeable but perhaps a bit reserved. 

I would like to visit Samburu again, but maybe after the rains when the land is greener. Next time I would choose a lodge closer to the river and stay maybe 4 nights.

 

The next day we left after breakfast for the Kalama airstrip to fly to Mara North.

 

As my husband is very busy and hasn't finished editing all the Mara photos yet, I hope to continue in a couple of days time.

Two more cute cheetah photos :)

 

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You were very fortunate indeed to spend time with the cheetah family. Four cubs is a lot, am I wrong or are they a bit skinny? I have not seen any cheetah cubs in real life yet, but I hope that will change soon in the Mara.

 

The first series of photos of the ostriches with the light shining through their neck feathers is very inspiring, please tell your husband I learn a lot from looking at his pictures.

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Athene

 

@Biko  Thank you for your kind words.

Yes, I agree the cheetah cubs looked very thin to me as well. I noticed that two of them seemed to be more lively than the others. I was a bit worried about their survival chances, because I thought that there wasn't much small prey to be seen in the reserve. Lepayon told us that Dik-Diks prefer to stay in the conservancy due to the lack of predators.

 

I am pretty sure that you will see cheetahs in the Mara. May I ask you which camps you plan to visit?

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Atravelynn

Samburu was very kind to you and the 5 Specials all showed!  You can see lions elsewhere.  I was thinking that Martial Eagle could be a threat to the cheetah cubs.  Were they close or far apart?  I thought the cheetah cubs also looked slight.  But in looking at the cubs and the mother, they all seem to have a more delicate structure and facial features.  I really thought I could see some family resemblance, if that is possible!

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madaboutcheetah

@Athene- Thanks for writing up this report ........ Kalama conservancy is in my plans which is, Saruni?  Did you think 3 nights were enough, or would you have ideally preferred 4?  I would combine this with other places in Northern Kenya most likely Lewa and possibly one more area maybe even LWC.

 

Thanks in advance.  

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Robjwilli
On 1/16/2022 at 11:17 AM, Athene said:

 

@Biko  Thank you for your kind words.

Yes, I agree the cheetah cubs looked very thin to me as well. I noticed that two of them seemed to be more lively than the others. I was a bit worried about their survival chances, because I thought that there wasn't much small prey to be seen in the reserve.

 

So the bad news is that one of the cubs has since died, however the remaining 3 are looking healthy and were feeding well when I was there at the end of December.  I'll add my TR soon and show some photos...

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Athene

@Atravelynn

It was quite close, the martial eagle was maybe 500 m away. I don't know for sure and we didn't ask but I can quite imagine an eagle of this size can kill a cub, as they were still small.

The mother is certainly a beauty.

 

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@AtheneI will be staying in Tangulia Mara Camp, located between Mara North Conservancy and the Mara Triangle. I decided to stay 11 nights in one camp, slow safari, as I want to take the time to explore this part of the Mara and to learn about the Masai culture.

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Athene

@madaboutcheetah

Yes, we stayed at Saruni Samburu in the Kalama conservancy. I thought 3 nights there were enough as there was not much to be seen in the conservancy, probably due to the drought.

Saruni Samburu is beautiful with stunning views. At the beginning of my trip report you can find some photos.

 

If I would go again, I would prefer a lodge closer to the Ewaso Ng‘iro river and probably stay one more night. You will find most of the wildlife close to the river. The area there is very scenic with lots of palm trees.

 

If you stay at Saruni, you will have to get up very early in the morning as it takes about an hour to reach the area around the river. We started our game drive 5.30 in the morning.

Our guide Lepayon suggested to come again after the rains in May. He said this is the best time, the animals look healthy and well fed.

 

I haven't been to the other areas you mentioned but our flight's first stop after we had left Wilson airport was Lewa conservancy.

 

Edited by Athene
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Athene

@Robjwilli

This is sad news. Do you how the cub died?

But it's good to hear that the remaining 3 cubs look healthy and well fed.

 

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Sounds good  @biko 

I hadn't heard of Tangulia Mara Camp before, but I just read about it and saw that it is Masai owned and focuses also on Masai culture. Have a good time and a great safari with lots of cheetahs:)

 

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