Jump to content

Kicheche Mara and Valley


stokeygirl
 Share

Recommended Posts

After pault's report on Kicheche Laikipia and Bush Camps, here's my report on the other 2 camps in the Kicheche group- Kicheche Mara in the Mara North conservancy, and Kicheche Valley in the newly formed Naboisho conservancy.

 

This was a bit of a bonus trip for me- I had been planning a second Botswana trip in March, but this got pushed into April due to camp availability and so that my parents could join me. I then realised my company's rules on carrying over holiday meant I had to use a few days of carried over holiday by the end of March. So, it was the ideal excuse to fit in a quick week's safari in early February.

 

I had been considering a trip to the Mara for some time, but had been somewhat put off by the prospect of crowds. However, reading various advice on travel forums made me decide to give it a go, but stick to the conservancies. Being out of season was also good for avoiding the crowds and I had read some good feedback about trips outside the migration season.

 

I considered a number of camps that looked like my kind of style- small, not too built up, comfortable but not over the top. The thing that swung it for me to choose Kicheche was their lack of single supplements. They don't charge SS outside of peak time (mid July to end Oct). Their new camp, Valley, was doing a "4 for 3" special, so I picked that and combined it with 3 nights at Mara rather than Bush on the advice of their reservations people. As my trip was simple, I booked it directly with Kicheche, including flights from Nairobi. I booked my own international flights from London- deciding on Kenya Airways due to their timings which meant I could avoid any overnights in Nairobi.

 

So, now on to the detail. I've got a lot of photos so bear with me, I will post this in stages and it might take a while.............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s always interesting to look around on planes and speculate who might be going to the same destination as you, and looking around me in the lounge at Wilson airport, the young group talking loudly about their hangovers, with way too much luggage, were the one group I hoped would not be joining me. They got on the same small plane to the Mara and as I looked over a shoulder I saw Kicheche Mara on an itinerary and had a bit of a sinking feeling. There were seven of them and one was already being sick in a bag.

 

I found myself in a vehicle on my own for the transfer, with all of the luggage. The others were in another 2 vehicles. On arrival we were briefed and one by one shown to our rooms and I chatted to them and they seemed pretty friendly and fun, and we had a beer whilst waiting. They were all in Kenya for a wedding, and it turned out that the other 2 guests in camp were also in Kenya for the same wedding although the two groups had barely met.

 

As instructed I went to tea at 3:30 (drive at 4pm I was told), to be joined by the guides and no one else for 20 minutes until one couple turned up. Perhaps the others had fallen asleep and someone should go and wake them, I suggested.

 

Then George, who had already introduced himself as my guide, came over and said “are you ready, shall we go?”. Yes, it was just me. For all 3 days. As it turned out, the couple, who left the next day, had their own vehicle, the group of 7 had 2 vehicles and I was all by myself. Another couple arrived the next day but they were given their own vehicle. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. It would have been easy to stick me with half of the group (as I’d assumed would happen) but the managers had already twigged that we probably wouldn’t quite share the same interests on safari.

 

As it happened, the group turned out to be very good fun and great companions for meal times and drinks. A change from the usual safari guest staples of newly weds and nearly deads. However, I was glad in the end that I didn’t share drives with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So George and I headed out for the first drive. It was still very hot but there was lots of game around as we drove out of camp- eland, buffalo and zebras, then some nice elephants including a couple of big males.

IMG_1393.JPGIMG_1420.JPGIMG_1438.JPGIMG_1448.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then we came across our first great sighting- a giraffe with a new born calf (foal?).

IMG_1475.JPGIMG_1541.JPGIMG_1571.JPG

 

The baby was being licked by mum and we watched for a long time as it struggled to get up. Mum kept walking away, trying to encourage it to its feet. It kept getting up and immediately tanking forward on its face, but eventually it managed it.

IMG_1573.JPGIMG_1582.JPGIMG_1611.JPGIMG_1612.JPGIMG_1615.JPGIMG_1624.JPG

 

Mum then nuzzled it underneath her until it finally suckled.

 

IMG_1641.JPGIMG_1678.JPGIMG_1694.JPGIMG_1702.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By this stage I thought it was too late to continue with our plan of heading to leopard gorge to try to find a leopard (Zawadi) with her cub, who had been seen that morning. However, George thought there was still time so we headed off. On the way we passed one sleeping lioness.

 

IMG_1721.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we got to leopard gorge we soon found a group of 5 or 6 vehicles watching Zawadi who was relaxing amongst the boulders.

IMG_1774.JPG

 

Soon the cub appeared and joined mum.

 

IMG_1746.JPGIMG_1753.JPGIMG_1764.JPGIMG_1847.JPGIMG_1856.JPGIMG_1861.JPG

 

At one point the cub climbed up onto a rock, couldn't decide if he wanted to be king of the castle, or have a snooze.

 

IMG_1866.JPGIMG_1868.JPG

 

Then he entertained us by chasing his tail round in circles on top of the boulder.

IMG_1884.JPG

 

Then the cub came back to mum to suckle.

IMG_1916.JPG

 

I had my sundowner in the vehicle, and at this point the two vehicles with the group joined us and parked next to each other where they enjoyed a couple of raucous drinks.

 

We had seen a lot of hyenas on the way, and at one point one popped its head over the boulders.

IMG_1821.JPG

 

Zawadi was still snoozing and the cub was out of sight and away from her which was a bit of a concern but the hyena eventually ambled off.

 

When light faded to the point where photography was pointless and the cub had disappeared out of sight once more, we headed back to camp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great start. I love the giraffe calf, what a fantastic thing to see and it looks like you managed some great photos of the two together. You had some nice time with Zawadi, just a bit jealous!! Looking forward to more. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I felt like I was right along with that little giraffe taking its first steps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking forward to more.

 

So glad you were able to have a vehicle all to yourself.

 

The same happened to me at Kichwa Tembo last June. Kinda spoils you for the times you have to share tho doesn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I felt your dread at the large group, and your relief at how management handled it. Lovely sequence of the newborn giraffe - what a fantastic sighting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, love your sightings of the giraffe calf and leopard cub!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Newly weds and nearly deads!!! Hilarious SG! Great line.

 

Leopard cub equally awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SG,

 

You are making me "home sick"..I need to book a trip back to the Mara. Great sightings on the first dive and very cool that you saw the new born take its first steps. That must have been a wonderful experience - I can't wait to see/read more!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad news from Kicheche- they haven't seen Zawadi with her cub since early Feb (our sighting could have been the last) and she has recently been seen without cub. Hope isn't entirely lost, but it doesn't look good.

 

To continue my report, the next day we left at 6:30 (sunrise is about 6:45). I quite liked the Kicheche system- it's flexible, but it seems the default is to go out straight away in the morning with no faffing about with breakfast. They bring you a hot drink of your choice with the wake up call and you go out 30 mins later. They take a packed breakfast so you can stop whenever- usually about 9:30-10am. This suits me as I'm not much of a breakfast person anyway, and certainly not at safari o'clock in the morning! Then lunch is at 1pm, after you get back but they are also happy to do a packed lunch too.

 

The idea was to head for leopard gorge, but we quickly got distracted by the local lion pride of 5 females with 8 cubs between them, who entertained us with much playing. They are known as the Cheli Pride.

IMG_1936.JPGIMG_1970.JPGIMG_2104.JPGIMG_2135.JPGIMG_2139.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We then headed to the gorge, spotting a nice crowned crane on the way, but couldn’t find any sign of Zawadi.

IMG_2185.JPGIMG_2197.JPG

 

We also saw a hyena running with a young widebeest’s head- I was hopeful to find the rest of it (maybe with leopard!) but no such luck.

IMG_2233.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mating zebras entertained us briefly and we also found a zebra with a very young foal still wobbly on its legs- perhaps only born in the night, George said.

 

IMG_2222.JPGIMG_2257.JPGIMG_2286.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then we competed the Cat Cub Hat-trick with a mother cheetah and cub snoozing in the shade of an acacia tree.

 

IMG_2307.JPGIMG_2311.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the afternoon we headed out in the direction of the cheetah and cub. George had mentioned that a couple of days ago she had made a kill but it had been stolen by hyenahs. When we found her (not hard, there were a couple of vehicles already there) she had killed again- a male Thompson’s Gazelle and mum and cub were tucking in. It was slightly tricky taking photos through the grass but eventually we got a pretty good position, and towards the end as the cheetahs had eaten their fill, they were looking up a bit more.

 

IMG_2593.JPGIMG_2638.JPGIMG_2652.JPGIMG_2680.JPGIMG_2688.JPGIMG_2707.JPGIMG_2480.JPG

 

 

We watched for a long time, so once we left there wasn’t much time for anything more than a quick drive back to camp, with a stop off for sundowners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That evening the group managed to set up a laptop with the manager’s dongle to stream TV over the internet. They were determined to get up at 2am to watch the superbowl. As there was no power in the tent and a laptop battery was unlikely to last the duration of the match, they were planning to call the askaris on the radios in the rooms to take them up to the main area at 2am. Great, I thought. I already knew that they were loud enough for their voices to carry to my tent from the main area, as they had mostly spent siesta time up there. Fortunately in the end there were too many elephants around at 2am and it was too dangerous. Or so they were told.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lovely, report!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

 

The cheetah cub and mum above was MNC, correct? While i was at Mara Plains we were planning to go see them, but, were kept busy with all the other cheetah around - so didn't make it up north.

 

Glad Zawadi is going strong - I saw her in 2002.

 

Hmmm sounds like the Cheli pride in your pics, is who they can Enkayeni pride in OOC ......... we shall have to compare pics soon.

Edited by madaboutcheetah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the mum and cub was Mara North.

 

It definitely was the Cheli Pride- they were a permanent fixture around camp- we saw them every day at least once.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok, Thanks ......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beautiful Images, Stokey Girl and a very nice Trip Report. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful sightings and photos, great insight to the area. Kitcheche sounds very nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great stuff and some great-looking photos in there.

 

So sorry to hear those pesky elephants made it too dangerous to watch the Superbowl.... what a shame! ;)

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
 Share

×
×
  • 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