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a clip of the stomping secretary bird. 



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Alex Walker's Serian has added a new luxury camp just a 15-minute walk along the Mara River from the Serian Original and the Ngare. Called Kimya Kimya, it is targeted at families or groups as the camp is to be rented out in its entirety which at the moment consists of a separate double room and the main house with a dining and sitting area on the ground floor and a double on the second floor. It is strategically located. when the river is low, this stretch is a popular crossing point for elephants, giraffes and zebras. they are attracted also to a small salt lake/spring and every morning the animals would stop to sip at the spring. Serian is starting to market this camp, but meanwhile, it offered everyone staying at the serian camp a night's stay at Kimya Kimya. It has its own staff, and I must say the staff is brilliant and very competent. at the moment the kitchen is not fully functional so meals are brought over from Serian camp. I wasn't sure about staying a night there, but James was going to bring us there for lunch and we could decide thereafter. 

So after breakfast, we slowly made our way there with a quick stop to check if a leopard seen stashing a kill up a tree close to camp would be home (it wasn't).


Emblem of Africa



Grey-backed fiscal




We finally sighted the Malachite Kngfisher - herman's lifer. we'd been searching for one. KYB23-60.jpg.183aee52dac87e74d729c488126ba6b4.jpg


Red-billed oxpecker - DSC07421.jpg.f4e07e0670e6a8e8753ec6b422a2b3fb.jpg



great to see Waterbucks againDSC07428.jpg.5ecd78e068abc3869102125cd7755b50.jpgKYM23-55.jpg.b8460cc81c187e00d8362cbc9686ab15.jpgDSC07460.jpg.909939ed8284ab811f2cdf15ecafcb05.jpg




a very newly born fawn 







an augur Buzzard posed nicely for us. KYB23-33.jpg.9eb4353f6d0609f218772ca21b134cc8.jpg2023906157_DSC07536augurbuzzard.jpg.58bfdd76d9e19d8d865b9eb968302556.jpg




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We arrived at Kimya Kimya, probably only a 5-minute drive from the main Serian camp. One look at it, and I knew we were going to do an overnight stay. it was delightful and very charming. It felt very private, although across the river towards the left of the camp was another camp, i think it is Nyota Mara Lodge, which does walking safaris on that side of the Mara river.


The separate ensuite bedroom had a terrace that was linked to a deck that reminded me of the deck at the Nest, a hideaway located a shortwalk away from Ngare. But there was no massive branch lying across the deck, in wait of whacking some unwary visitor's head ( @pault - like me, you're safe from that wicked branch!). That night, we wanted to sit on the deck after dinner to enjoy the night skies, and the elephants that almost nightly would browse around the tent and in the area. But those dreams were washed away with a particularly heavy storm that sent us at 10pm+ scuttling outside the tent to close up the flaps as the winds were sending rain into the bedroom. the next morning, the staff found prints of a lion in the garden outside the dining area. darn the rains!


The place is lovely. if you can afford it, and have a large group, take the Kimya Kimya. cosy, intimate, private. we loved it. 


The separate bedroom and its deck - we chose to sleep in this. 




The main house - dining and sitting rooms are below and the bedroom is upstairs. DSC07556.jpg.447d857c9a3bdf73ba5f86ab9337ce2e.jpgDSC07562.jpg.d42f62aa7a0ccc1e5fd332e22e62192f.jpgDSC07592.jpg.9bbfb7857b271d388a1fb96e506f55d9.jpg


The views from the main house - impalas and giraffes drinking from the salts pond


and you get spectacular sightings too! our lunch was delayed as they had to drive to the main camp to get it, but it was just as well as the giraffes had gathered at the bank, gazing at the river and then across to the foothills  of the Oloololo escarpment.


Giraffes waiting to cross



the tide was low so all the rocks and stones in the river were exposed. you would think crossing a low river is so easy, but watching the giraffes do the crossing, we realised that it was anything but for these tall giants. Stepping gingerly around the rocks, one adult started forward. Its young juvenile followed its lead and gave me mini heart panics as it stumbled a couple of times. the other giraffes waited on the banks, waiting for the brave leader to test the waters - literally. 

Only when the leader and its juvenile were about halfway through the river did the other adults step slowly into the river.





I've put in the clip to watch the entire crossing - it's about 5 minutes long but it was just so fascinating to watch how giraffes cross. One false step, if they fall or have their foot trapped in between rocks, and they are not likely to survive. A few times, the leader would stop as if it was assessing its next steps and footfalls. 







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Eventually, all the giraffes gathered across the river but was faced with another problem. They had crowded onto a small sandy patch and would need to cross a very rocky slope to the inviting green bushes beyond. eventually, one of them crossed the rocks and made it to the bushes but the juvenile and the others hesitated taking on the rocks. A smarter giraffe turned to its left via more sandy patch and less rocky area to move up the banks, and that was a signal for the others to move forward - walking across the rocks or using the less rocky path. 







Other more hesitant giraffes preferred to watch on the safe banks 



I loved the views from the house. there was so much going on that I felt that I could see the entire afternoon. More animals including zebras came to the salt licks, and birds were flitting around the gardens and agamas were scampering around the rocks in the garden. Across the river, a troop of vervet monkeys came to the banks and one cheeky one bounced on the rocks to land in the  middle of the river. No one followed him and he reluctantly turned back, not without making a massive leap between the rocks to reach safety. 

Charles the manager for the camp said the Ngare camp had alerted him that a family of elephants were moving towards the crossing point, and given their regular crossings, Charles was sure they'd come here. We waited for quite a while, then we saw an adult female with a young one. But we had to move on. We were going back to the Serian camp to pack an overnight bag so we could go on the evening drive and returned to Kimya Kimya for the night. I reluctantly got into the vehicle and then we were off. 










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It was a sleepy affair during the afternoon drive. I think it was this afternoon on the way for a second try at the leopard in the groves that we came across the cheetah family of mum and her three cubs. they were lying on the mound and a handful of vehicles were sitting and waiting for some action. As we had spent so much time with them, we decided to try the leopard instead. we passed a Kicheche vehicle and for some reason, James Kipetu stopped about a couple of 100m away. i noticed the Kicheche guide turned around to look at us, using a bino. then i noticed his wide grin, and I was surprised - it was James Nampaso from Kicheche Bush Camp in OMC! He had guided us on our last stay at the bush camp five years ago, but he had guided Herman twice, so he would recognise him. We went forward and exchanged greetings. it was very good to see him. 


The search for the leopard turned up no cat. This leopard remained elusive for the rest of the trip. Birds once again came to the rescue and entertained us. 


Purple grenadier - a very common bird in the Masai Mara conservancies!



Common Bulbul



Grey-backed fiscal shrike



Wattled Lapwing - first and only time we saw this lapwing




Pectoral Patch cisticola



A juvenile Batelur flew by - we were searching desparately for the beautiful adult but the adults resolutely refused to show for us or were high in the skies. we saw quite a few juveniles so they must be doing well in both conservancies.



The juve landed. a group of zebras under the bare tree didn't faze the bird at all. James inched us closer as we took as many shots as possible. 





A tawny adult decided that that tree was a good landing point, and pushed out the juvenile batelur as it landed. 



crossing the arterial road, we saw the lines of zebra heading towards the human communities. It was a predictable pattern, as James explained. The zebras and all the antelopes have learned it was safer to be close to the human settlements in the night, so every late afternoon, rows and rows of zebras and the larger antelopes like topis would start moving towards the settlements. When dawn came, the animals began their walk back to the open spaces to feed. Really fascinating how animals have learned where some security can be found and where fresh grasses can be had. 


Taking a dust roll before the night. 



Another brilliant sunset that gave no clue of the storm that would land on us in the night. 


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Grey clouds hung over the skies - a leftover from the overnight storm. our original plan was to have breakfast in camp, then take a walk along the river back to the main Serian camp. From there, we would meet up with James and Joseph to cross the bridge to Ngare and do a morning walk to the escapment. The rains put paid to those plans. James was worried that the climb up paths would be too wet and slippery, and would aggravate my sore back. the grey skies didn't lift our confidence that it would be a sunny morning. So, we had a leisurely and hot breakfast and watched the animals which had returned to the river. James would come to pick us up for a late morning drive instead. 




The giraffes once more gathered at the banks, but the river was swollen with last night's heavy rains, and the flow was rapid and the waters were swirling with the large volumes of rains. One giraffe tried to cross but after a few steps in the fast currents, decided it was foolhardy and turned back. Instead, the animals kept to the banks, drank from the salt licks and waited for the waters to recede.  






Across the river, a creche of cute big baby hippos had taken shelter at the banks to avoid fighting the strong undercurrents in the river. DSC07792.jpg.02e7258985f152e810970d0853835448.jpg  

a little clip of the baby hippos munching as they wait for the waters to recede




Soon James and Joseph came along, and off we went in search of hyenas.


We love hyenas. having them grouped in the ugly five is a travesty! it doesn't do hyenas justice at all. whoever came up with that have never seen a Striped hyena or a brown hyena, or enjoyed the baby spotted hyenas. 

And there they were - cute, black, chubby babies stumbling at the den we arrived at. 











Then off we went to the famous Leopard Gorge. My first visit to the gorge was incredibly memorable and James still can recall it so well - that a Kicheche vehicle had come out of the gorge and said there was no cat, but James found it - a juvenile fast asleep on top of a cliff and well camouflaged by tree leaves. I still recall vividly how on the way out, a tyre punctured so James - then alone - brought out the drinks and we had an impromptu drinks session while he fixed the tyres. 

the two lovely Lipault ladies - fond memories - and the lovely leopard cub James found - in 2015 . 







No such luck of the cat back in the present. it was quite empty in fact. no sign of lions too. 

But lots of rock hyraxes, including one that fell off a rock. 







Northern wheatear female 





northern white-crowned shrikeDSC07979.jpg.63c6e265333a3255ba2bc9b9e4e3d11a.jpg



Common KestrelDSC08014.jpg.95ce7925f6a92877af10a81c798760d4.jpgKYB23-122.jpg.09ff2b299523ccd7b9065702db2b47cf.jpg


other stuff we saw along the way to find a lioness and cubs: 

but where was the action that we were so used to? will be around the corner soon? 


Martial eagle




A cute zebra foal - there were loads of babies



The familiar tree that marks the entry and exit into and out  of the gorge



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Really enjoying your report, thanks for sharing.


The mauve sky in the first photo in this post is very special.

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Thanks much @Treepol for following still!  I too love that mauve sky - it was taken at 6,30am when the skies were still so overcast.  

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Very enjoyable, love the baby Hyenas. I´m very fond of them too - always have. Lots of great photos but I think you know which one is my favourite.

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55 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

. Lots of great photos but I think you know which one is my favourite.



@michael-ibk I believe i do. 

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Some amazing photographs. Loved the video of Giraffes gingerly crossing the Mara river. Thanks. 

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Thank you @AKR1 we thoroughly enjoyed the giraffe crossing. 



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Leaving the gorge, James decided we would try our luck with a lioness and her four cubs hidden away in a huge brush a distance from the camp. The previous day, I thought I had seen the tawny coat among the bushes but two vehicles went round and inside the thick brush but no joy. 

Now, as the truck moved down a hill to the valley where the brush was, James stopped to look at a vehicle parked on the opposite slope. Using his binos, James said the zebras were all looking in one direction but couldn't make out what they were looking at.so we decided to forego the lioness and go look-see what was happening there.

as we cross over a small bridge and headed towards the spot, the zebras moved towards the direction they were looking at. finally, James could make out two cheetahs. 

The lonely male cheetah had finally found his lovelorn brother. I read up about  Mbili and Milele's background. They are the sons of a well known female cheetah in Naboisho called Kiraposhe which was killed by lions in 2021. Now I take you back to our trip in January 2018 in Olare Motorogi Conservancy when we saw seven cheetahs in a single day. among the seven were three very young adults - 2 males and a female that James Nampaso our Kicheche guide didn't recognise. Now having read about the background, I do believe those three were Mbili and Milele and their sister Maisha who were newly independent and had moved into the OMC. I felt so happy knowing that the two boys have flourished - and the sister is still in OMC and had a second litter. 

here are a few photos I had taken of the three in Jan 2018: 








Back to the present!

The lovelorn brother had a full belly while the poor lonely male was very lean. The two cheetahs were walking and James thought the lean male was very hungry and  keen to use his brother to help snare a good meal. The vehicle that was there suddenly started its engine and left the area even before we reached it. It was 11.30am, close to lunch time. But following James advice, we decided to wait and follow, and see what the cheetahs would do.


These were experts in taking down topis, and there were a few around, plus plenty of zebras and their foals. James did an excellent job putting us ahead of them as they walked. 


Potential prey across the stream 



 Watching their every move:







Pausing to assess which direction to go next, the well fed bro was catching his breath. 



His starving brother walked ahead but stopped at a bush to sniff and marked its territory while the fat bro was glad of some shade. 











a nearby zebra was too thirsty to pass a chance at a quick slurp at a small waterpool. 



The brothers came up against the stream and easily flew across them. we couldn't follow them so James had to find a place to safely cross over as the bridge was too far now. We quickly took the chance to check the tyres as we didn't how long this would take. anything can happen, and nothing can happen too. but best get checking tyre-thingey out of the way. 







Brothers bonding - you will hear the lean one make a call




Cheetahs jumping across stream


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we finally found a way to cross the gulley  - a steep bank but James got us over it with me holding my breath throughout!


the brothers had walked quickly up the slope now with all the attention of the zebras. We quickly caught up with them as they split up - one taking the lower slope and other walking on higher ground. The families of zebras would stop, watch, follow then run off. as we came to a stop for the cheetahs to catch up, we saw a mother and a foal in front of us right in the cheetahs' way. the mother trotted off with the foal while another adult zebra kept still and watched. the mom and foal stopped not too far away while the cheetahs came even closer. I thought this was it, but at the last minute, the mother zebra raced away followed closely by the foal, to live another day. 

and still the cats walked ahead, always pausing to assess the situation and looking for potential prey.






James went ahead again, trying to guess which direction they were going. A handful of elephants were walking toward the cheetahs, still calm and slow in their steps. James stopped to let the cheetahs catch up with us, staying on the high ground. the lean brother stayed low on the slope while the fat brother walked towards our right to a tree to sit under the shade. The lean brother who was in front of us in a distance, walked into the high grass, and to the zebras, any sight of him was lost. Joseph whispered there's a foal, but I couldn't see it. it was right behind our vehicle. 




The lean one sat down, turning to look for its brother who was still resting under the tree a little way to its right. 

Suddenly, the lean one shot off towards our left. The hunt had begun. As I filmed the chase, the camera panned to my left - and darn it! the back of the vehicle totally blocked our view. I swiftly moved past the back, and caught up with a cheetah that just streaked past to the adult zebras while Joseph shouted - he's got it! 











The Hunt - well at least part of it. :( 




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Great stuff ! We saw a single Cheetah hunt and kill a reedbuck in the Kafue in 2019 but this is more spectacular and of course we hope we will have the same experience again in the Mara in the summer ! 

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Awesome! A Zebra? Now that's impressive. 

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Looks like cheetah are back in OMC @Kitsafari- I've read reports that Naboisho was surprisingly slow atm ...... anyways, the ebb and flow i suppose

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On 3/21/2023 at 12:47 PM, madaboutcheetah said:

Looks like cheetah are back in OMC @Kitsafari- I've read reports that Naboisho was surprisingly slow atm ...... anyways, the ebb and flow i suppose


My guide in Porini Lion Camp told me the two brothers Mbili and Milele were back in OMC in recent weeks. apparently they do switch between these two conservancies a fair bit. great for the guests in OMC now!

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On 1/27/2023 at 9:20 AM, janzin said:



I've had that experience too with some (almost every!) guides...they think they are moving into a better position for you but in fact they make you miss a shot you were just about to take, or its actually worse for the way you envisioned it. Even the best photographic guides don't always get it 100% right in terms of what I want. But hopefully the best of them do really anticipate where the action is going to occur.



A little late to the party here but wow!  what a trip so far!   As far as the guides sometimes jumping the gun, I learned by my last safari after I measure the guide's tendencies to sometimes, just yell (not toooo loud) "Stop, engine off!"  They get used to me after awhile - lol. I had a couple of instances where they were getting too close, I wanted something in the background, or other views.  I show them the shots using playback on the camera and they start to get an indication of my shooting style too.  I know they are all trying to give us their best =)

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Really enjoying your report. Lots of wonderful sightings.

Giraffe crossing water are fascinating.

The photo of the Lipault ladies from 2015 is very poignant 

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@TravelMore absolutely - a lot of guides try to give us the best views they can. quite a few have guided photographers or are photographers themselves so they know how to position the vehicle and most of the time, they get it right. 


I've been really tied up at work and found little time to move this TR along, but thanks to all those following so patiently!



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After I put the camera down, I learned that the lean one had brought down quite a large foal - a feat considering that the foal was in the middle of a herd of adult zebras thundering away from the cat. The cheetah that streaked by at the end was the fat brother, finally joining the hunt but going straight at the adults to keep them far away from his other brother and the prey. We could hear the heartbreaking cries from the mother for a  long time, but the zebras kept their distance, watching as the hungry brother immediately started eating. Herman said the zebra was still alive while the cheetah was eating. I didn't want to watch. 


What was interesting to me though, was that the fat brother sat up and looked around the vicinity - presumably to check that the hunt had not attracted unwanted attention. The lioness and her pride weren't that far away. But the fat brother was also looking around for shade and a bush to hide the kill since they were out in the open and under a hot sky. he found a suitable bush near by and dragged the carcass. Tucked under the bush, he at last can relax while his hungry brother continued eating. Tucked under the bushes, there was  little chance those sharp-eyed vultures will see the carcass too. 


We had this sighting all to ourselves. but finally a vehicle saw us parked and came towards us, and we left for the camp for a much delayed lunch.  A good hunt. 














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On the way back to camp, we stopped for some calming influence from a family of elephants. Somehow, these elephants exude such soothing calmness and it's always a joy to stop and just sit and watch the adults chew the grasses while the young ones entertain us. It was such a contrast to the action and drama that had just unfolded and the frantic calls of the zebras. 















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In camp the paradise flycatchers - a few of them! - danced around us making us run around the place looking like crazed people, and a female Klass cuckoo posed a moment for me. 





Out for the pm drive, and a handsome Giraffe was doing its gardening duties, keeping the tree neatly trimmed. A zebra oversaw its work. 




we started the PM drive with the target to look for the leopard that was seen stashing a kill a short distance from the camp. The female leopard is a very shy very young one, that hides from vehicles. As it was very young, no ID had been given yet to her. I decided to call her NoName, as she just wanted to stay anonymous and hidden from humans. 

Before we could reach the leopardess' stashed goodies, a male lion was seen. It was the well-known Half-Tail. Half-Tail was one of two males (the other male was Logol) that presided over the Marsh pride. Some rather sad news about the Marsh pride - they have been pushing inwards into Mara North COnservancy because of the persecution from the cattle herders in the national park, and the Marsh pride has dislodged the Serian pride from their territory. 

Logol was killed in late October by the Engoyanai males who are in control of the Offbeat pride leaving Half-Tail struggling to control the Marsh pride on his own. James and Joseph told us that Half-Tail had ran to the place where Logol was attacked by the rival males but ran off instead of going to his partner's help. 


We found him all alone, rather forlorn and lost, and panting away in the hot afternoon. He looked around clearly seeking his females and cubs.
















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Leaving Half-Tale alone again, we circled around the grove of trees, where some families of elephants were scattered around browsing on the bushes. The elephants would cross over from the escarpment at the Kimya Kimya camp site and sometimes cross back over. 




Entering the grove, James could see a shadow on the tree where the kill was. we stopped very far away, not wanting to make NoName too skittish, to take some quick early shots. she kept a close eye on us, but even though we moved no further, she was still too nervous and very soon, she got up and clambered down, melting into the thick bush once again. 










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