Jump to content

My Nat-Geo-Moments Safari


Recommended Posts

By now it was mid-day and we decided to make a detour to check our lazy leopard before heading back to camp.


Heavens above, there he was prowling around in the grass. Checking down burrows and in clumps of grass in case anything was alive and just waiting to become leopard food.




He sniffed around the trunk of a large tree and we thought that he was going to head on up and sprawl across a branch … again!




But no, he kept on going down into the bush.




We were sharing this sighting with one other car, the occupants deciding that they had seen enough they moved away and we were left alone with our leopard. Remember that we had spent quite some time visiting this boy up in his tree over the previous 30 hours or so.


We lost sight of him then and we were just wondering which way he had gone when Daniel noticed him climbing a large fig tree. We drove closer to it so that I could get some climbing photos but the tree was quite thick. As he climbed two vultures suddenly flew out of the top of the tree in a great flurry, they had a huge nest sitting right on top of the tree. You can see the leopard right near the top on the left hand side.




Steadily the leopard climbed and climbed until he stood right at the top looking around him as if he was truly the king of this valley.


Then he carefully stepped into the nest and started to sniff around.




We waited with baited breath not knowing if there were hatchlings in the nest or not. Fortunately for the vultures but not the hungry leopard, the nest was still empty.




By this time we had attracted another vehicle and we all watched the disappointed leopard slowly descend the tree,




gracefully turning at the last minute to come down the last bit of trunk.




He slinked off into the heavy scrub and we didn’t see him again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I came back into camp bursting with my exciting news. Surely no one else in could have seen such a thing that morning. I was met by Isaac who was running the mobile camp and whilst he was amazed he had some pretty exciting news as well. The lionness we had heard pre dawn that morning had come through camp after a warthog. She was somewhere in the bushes on the ridge above the camp. We decided that as soon as we had lunched and re-organised ourselves we would head out to see if we could find her.


This is my idea of heaven in the bush … my tent on the edge of the river.




My bush sink and water bucket … I didn't use the mirror! :lol:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dik dik, indeed you must do another safari in the East, so accessible for you … I'm quite envious.



Dont tempt me. What people here don't realize is that if I left home early in the morning, I could land in the Mara on the same day.


BUT; we have just bought a new house and I guess that I will be safari-talking more than doing for 2010. Lets see how the funds pan out.


But don't let me distract you. Keep focused now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love the leopard sequence. And the rest.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alex The Lion

Great trip report and photos.........


Keep them coming!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that's a proper tent, Twaffle.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

That stunning ground hornbill is my ending point today. Wonderful cheetah shots and I'm glad they were not tormented by vehicles. You got the serval in action!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After lunch we roamed around the camp looking for the lionness and it didn’t take long to find her having a siesta in the grass.




There was thunder in the air and she soon roused herself and set off for who knows where.




We skirted the thick bush she had moved into and came around on the far side and waited. It wasn’t long before she emerged into the light and with the approaching storm moving towards us in the background, we had a great photo opportunity.






Daniel had spent many long hours with professional photographers from around the world and was very skilled at finding some great angles and locations, although in the cases where off roading wasn’t allowed, or where the animals were in difficult terrain, we just made the best of what we had.


Leaving the lionness to go about her business we headed off … strangely enough we were the only vehicle to be seen. Mmmm, the others weren’t very adventurous.


We didn’t get too far before we were hit by the storm and I have to say that it was totally exhilirating. Daniel and Kimansi rushed about trying to get the canvas roof on (we had changed vehicles and this was open top and sides) and the sides down. I pulled out my waterproof camera bag cover and huddled in one of the blankets as the heavy rain swept over us. The wind rocked the Landcruiser from side to side and we just laughed and laughed. It really was so much fun. Looking across towards the Serena we saw it slowly disappear in a swirl of mist and rain, flashes of lightning lighting up the sky above the escarpment.




I wouldn’t have missed it if I had been given the chance. Every now and then I carefully poked my camera out through a gap in the canvas and took a photo of the storm.


Soon enough the rain cleared and we went on our way but naturally enough the animals had taken cover so viewing wasn’t as productive as before. This hippo had taken advantage of the lack of sun and the moisture to get an early start on the night’s grazing



and the black-bellied bustard was have a great time telling the world about his survival of the storm.




Wet and bedraggled but quite happy we returned to camp where the staff were busily cleaning up the remains of the water which had flowed through the camp site.


Not much of a sunset this night but we had a pleasant and restful evening by the camp fire sharing more stories before heading off to a, thankfully, quiet and peaceful night’s sleep.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The rainstorm tree the following morning.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had spent two nights at the mobile camp and I would have stayed longer if it had been possible … it just felt right. Needless to say, we had an early breakfast in camp before heading back to Serian camp.


Naturally we took the long and slow route back looking out for any interesting happenings along the way.


I had to include some topis for our resident one here, especially the one with the hyaena! Danger lies everywhere.






The marabou stork was one of three just catching the early morning sun as was the red winged lark.





I've often regretted not taking more photos of impala, when you look at the males they really are magnificent.




We stopped to watch a small family of banded mongoose, not noticing at first the small head appearing and then disappearing from the trunk of the tree. Eventually the animal braved the environment and they all went off into the grass.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Daniel decided to take me down to the Paradise crossing point on the Mara river to see the place where so much action takes place during the migration. We were specifically looking for crocodiles. As we approached we found two lionesses, obviously still lactating, but no sign of the cubs.




We decided to watch them for a while along with one other vehicle.






Eventually, one lioness moved across some very stony ground towards a small amount of dense bush. Daniel thought it likely that the cubs were there and shortly afterwards the other vehicle followed the lioness up the slope.


We decided to go down to the river’s edge first to check for those crocs, having been distracted by the lions. Thank goodness we did.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a not very good photograph of these weavers nesting on the banks of the river




and then noticed a wildebeest and her calf walking in earnest down the far side of the river bank. My goodness, I was going to get my own mini wildebeest crossing out of season! I think Daniel and Kimansi thought I was quite ridiculous getting excited by this, but they entered the spirit of the occasion. Some people spend days during the migration and never see a wildebeest swim across the river … that was in my thoughts anyway.






As they crossed Daniel started to get excited, “look the crocodiles are after the calf”.




So I quickly refocussed my attention on the calf and crocs





whilst the mother scrambled to safety when Daniel fairly hissed in my ear “quick, a lion here in the grass, quick over here”.


I swung my camera around to the other side of our vehicle where a third lioness had obviously been hiding in the long grass (we never saw her) and now she had her eyes on the wildebeest.




It all happened so quickly. I’ve looked at my time stamps. 4 minutes from when I photographed the wildebeest the first time to when the lioness emerged from hiding.


What happened next was a bit of a blur, and I don’t know how I managed to get it on camera but I did as the following series of photos shows.








It was Daniel’s first lion kill in 2 years, Kimansi’s first ever and definitely mine as an adult.


I try not to think of the calf, but it was well grown so may have survived or may have fed another hungry youngster.


We were the only vehicle at this sighting but soon afterwards the car which had followed the other lioness returned, and boy were those tourists peeved.


We all miss things, fortunately we usually never know what it is that we have missed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shortly afterwards a second lioness came down to the kill leaving the third with the cubs up on the ridge.






We had been privileged to see these hunt from start to finish but now the 2 lionesses had their prize under some bushes and it was quite hard to see. Another vehicle turned up so we left as we had our photos and by moving it let the other 2 cars get in a better position.


We went off to the river to look for birds which seemed to be a calming thing to do after what we had just experienced.


And I was only on my third full day … 2 cheetah hunts, serval hunting, leopard hunting, lion hunt (albeit the only successful one), mini river crossing … my cup runneth over!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Twaffle, this just gets more and more exciting!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great, enthralling story Twaffle, with some great opportunistic images, ................hanging on for more.

Can't wait for my Mara/Rekero experience in Sept.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Jan. I feel very humbled but what I was privileged to experience on my trip. I never thought I'd see a fraction of the action and I was happy even when observing the little interactions going on. I never thought the off season would be so rich in activity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Marc, Rekero is in such a wonderful location that I expect you would have the most wonderful sightings. Rekero was in a neck and neck race for my $ but the Serian vehicle policy won me over.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What an absorbing report,Twaffle. Looks like Kenya was giving you a special welcome back and its all captured in your words and photos......... and there's more to anticipate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This continues to be an amazing adventure, very well told!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well spotted Nyama. I think it was a heron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope the battery problems are short lived for you. Those bat earred foxes are a perfect portrait! You sure had lots of cheetah action and the cheetah seemed to have a lot of action as well, keeping all the antelope on their toes.


The lovely photo of the balloon is better than hearing that loud noise, as you mention. The agamas are as bright as they get!


Daniel may have pointed out the landscapes, but you took the photos. Very dramatic!


I was impressed with the big impala horns when along comes the lion kill. Great job of getting all that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rekero was in a neck and neck race for my $ but the Serian vehicle policy won me over.


Tell me more about this policy?

Even though I'm not a fan of the enclosed vehicle/pop tops that seem to dominate Kenya/Tanz, we had a private vehicle thrown in for booking an extra long stay @ Rekero. ( normal rate of $300 day)

I notice the vehicle in your recent posting was an open one and the type I really favor, but when I was doing my research for booking in the Mara/Tanz, all the vehicles seemed to be enclosed ones. I wasn't really left much of a choice, and the best thing was to go private in Tanz/Nomads as well.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Marc,

All the vehicles at Serian are open sided, some have open tops (i.e. you can put the canvas top and sides on if it starts to rain, as happened to us) or there is the first one we used which had the canopy over the top (quite high) all the time which gave nice shade. We changed vehicle after a couple of days because the first one with the canopy had an extra row of seats which was needed for a larger group travelling together.


All visitors to Serian get their own private vehicle plus driver plus guide/spotter who are yours for the duration of your stay. So I had Daniel and Kimansi for all my activities which included a long walk as well as the all day drives. The private vehicle doesn't cost anything extra, it is just one of the things Serian offers.


Rekero vehicles looked very nice but they were the closed Landcruisers with the open roof.


I really liked the open vehicles which I gather are more like the ones used in Botswana, they certainly made all round photography easier.


I hope that answers your question. PM me if you want more details.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy