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Masai Mara LIVE trip report - April 2012


loafer247
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Hi All,

 

I'm sitting here at the bar in Mara Intrepids enjoying a cold Tusker with my good friends Aashit and Aatish Patel who are guiding me and teaching me photography. We have been here for little over 24 hours and already had some amazing sightings.

 

Landing at Ol Kiombo airstrip in the Mara is the best feeling in the world. I truly feel like I'm back home. The weather so far has been variable, with some rain both afternoons, but the rain has made for some amazing sunsets.

 

I'll post some photos tomorrow, but check out Aatish's website and blog for a sneak preview.

 

http://aapatelphotography.com/

 

http://aatishpatelsafari.blogspot.com/

 

Some stats on sightings to date (1.5 days worth of game drives)

 

- Nkayoni (son of Olive) lying down in a river bank

- 2 male leopards (one of them huge!!) around a Thomson Gazelle kill. A hyena tried to steal the kill from the bigger leopard but he stood his ground.

- Olive seen from across the bar at Intrepids at 7 this morning. We are sure her 2 cubs are denning right across the river from Intrepids and hope to find them in the coming days

- Notch right next to the airstrip

- Notch's sons near Double Cross

- Ridge pride lioness and 3 sub-adults running across the plains for 10 minutes to an already dead warthog, scattering the vultures (catching and almost killing one in the process). We watched them rip the warthog apart and consume it in 20 minutes

- A big male lion at Paradise Plains

- A Paradise Pride lioness stalking and chasing a warthog and missing.

- A female cheetah with two almost grown cubs this evening.

 

Please feel free to ask any questions about the Mara in the green season and I'll try and find out the answers.

 

I'll be posting updates hopefully every day (depending on the Internet connection).

 

Dhruv

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  • Game Warden

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  • madaboutcheetah

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  • loafer247

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks for the updates, Dhruv - I'm guessing the cheetah is Shingo with her two girls - she was literally right there when I went to the Mara end Feb.......

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Great going, Dhruv! With good omens starts great trips :D

Hope to see more of Nakayoni...have fun in paradise!

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Super LEEDS

Thanks for sharing, Loafer. Seems like you're having a great time but hope it keeps up!

 

Questions :D

 

- what's the grass like? High?

- any news on pregnant big cats? Daft question but..... the wife would love to see tiny cubs when we're there in 2 months.

- how's the rain been in general? Normal? Normally it will stop for the end of June for our trip so would be nice to hear what the predictions for this period are 'on the ground'. Appreciate guessing world weather these days is futile!

 

Can't wait for your trip report and pics :)

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Madaboutcheetah - She is definitely not Shingo. Shingo has a distinctively long neck. She separated from her cubs in Oct / Nov last year somewhere near Naboisho conservancy. Her cubs were 4 males and 2 females. It would be unlikely that she got back together with her two females. Will check her spot patterns when I get back to the UK

 

Shreyas - Thanks! Would have been great if you could have come.

 

Tanya_1976 - This is not a definitive answer but just my opinion. There are two sets of 4 sub-adults. One is a set of males which are from Shingo's offspring of 6. I think they were seen in the reserve about a month ago but are generally in the conservancies north of the reserve. The other set of 4 are 3 males and a female - They come from Naboisho conservancy where their mother and one sibling were killed by lions. They were also seen in the reserve c. 3 weeks ago near Double Crossing. I have family staying in OOC right now and neither set of subadults have been seen in the reserve or OOC in the last few days.

 

SUPER LEEDS -

 

Grass - Surprisingly not so high right now. My friends Aatish and Aashit were here 3 weeks ago and the grass was much higher. In fact in areas such as Topi Plains, Rhino Ridge and south towards the Mara River the grass is quite low.

 

Pregnant cats - There is a heavily pregnant cheetah right now in OOC. She could give birth any time soon. The female cheetah Malaika (the one who likes climbing on cars) is also heavily pregnant and may already have given birth as the guides have not seen her for a couple of weeks. There are very few young lion cubs at the moment (due to the Notches) but a lot of mating so hopefully you will come in time for new cubs. Leopards wise there are a lot of leopards right now with cubs (Olive, Serena Pumphouse Female, Paradise Female etc...) Don't know of any pregnant leopards.

 

Rains - It has been raining here as expected so hopefully for your sake the rains will have ended by June. But with weather anywhere in the world these days you just can't tell!

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PeterGermany

Hi Dhruv,

 

would be great to get some clearification an the whereabouts of the 3 former Olkiombo Males, who took over the Maji ya Fisi Pride. There are 2 points being debated, one since a couple of years, and the other for the last month:

 

- are those 3 males indeed Cheza, Sala and Junior (some of the former BCD stars)

- what happened to them and the Maji ya Fisi Pride

 

One of the 3 males was reported to be killed by 3 nomads (probably one of them is the male you saw on Paradise Plains; should be 3 crossing back & forth into Mara Triangle; called the 4KM Males). Then there was a rumour that Notch sons have attacked the other 2 males, killed one and killed 6 of the Maji ya Fisi cubs.

 

Best regards

 

Peter

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madaboutcheetah

loafer247,

 

We were told that Shingo is still with two daughters, who did not split from her. Only the other 4 went off on their own?

 

Saw 4 sub-adults (1f,3m) in OOC end Feb - so i guess they belong to the female cheetah who was killed by Lions from your info .......

 

Cheers

Hari

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Cheers loafer, thanks for the real time update! Good to heare that notch and sons are doing ok. He's one impressively big lion.

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How long will you be there, Dhruv? Any crowds at the sightings at all?

 

Thanks for the live updates. What a great idea.

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Game Warden

This topic needs photos. And videos. ;)

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Game Warden - Unfortunately the internet connection here is not great but will keep trying to post photos

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Here is a link to some photos and daily updates that I am putting together with my friends and guides Aatish and Aashit Patel. I think it's easier to updated on their blog whilst I'm in the Mara and will post more pics on here when I get back to London.

 

http://aatishpatelsafari.blogspot.com/

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Super LEEDS

Thanks, loafer. All the detail is much appreciated.

 

P.S. See if you can see the connection with yourself here.... hope I'm not singing "Aj mausam barra beimaan hai" when we're there in June :D

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P.S. See if you can see the connection with yourself here.... hope I'm not singing "Aj mausam barra beimaan hai" when we're there in June :D

 

:lol::lol: Definitely more applicable to Dhruv now!

 

 

Please check the blog for the latest update:

 

http://aatishpatelsafari.blogspot.com/

 

Thanks again for the updates buddy! I sure wished to be there...maybe next time around!

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samburumags

Give my love to the Mara and get on with that trip report - cant wait !!

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Great photos and report ,thanks !

 

Just wanted to ask you about your guide Joseph , is that Joseph Kambo from Nakuru that got married 5 months ago ? . He has been our guide in the Mara 2 times and we enjoyed a lot his company .

 

If is this Joseph , say hello to him from Paco and Rosa from Spain.

 

Paco

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Hi All,

 

Just to let you know I'm back in London. Had an amazing 10 night safari in the Mara with my friends and guides Aashit and Aatish Patel. This was preceded by an Easter weekend in Lamu. I'm already missing the Mara and I hope to post a trip report with photos in the coming days.

 

Dhruv

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Really looking forward to it.

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Hi All,

 

I'm just about to make a start on my trip report. Before I do that, let me answer some outstanding questions:

 

Africawild - No our driver/guide was called Joseph Kangethe. He is an amazing guide.

 

Sangeeta - I was there for 10 nights. Crowds were minimal especially towards the end of our stay as more and more seasonal camps shut. This is what I love about the Mara at this time. The most number of cars I can remember at a sighting was 8 at a sighting where a leopard was hunting - and they were all from Intrepids / Rekero / Entim - established camps whose guides are professional and we all stayed at least 50 metres away. Almost 50% of our sightings were 'our own' in that we found the cat ourselves and stayed with it without another car coming. In fact, there were whole game drives where we wouldn't even see another car, and these were in established game drive areas such as Topi Plains or Paradise!

 

MAC - I have some great facial shots of this cheetah. Do you have any of Shingo when she was with her six cubs? We can compare.

 

Dhruv

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PRE DAY 1 - THERE'S MORE TO KENYA THAN SAFARIS

 

Before my 10 day safari to the Mara, I spent Easter in Lamu which is about an hour's flight from Nairobi. Lamu is an island off the coast of Kenya, a few miles north of the main coastal city of Mombasa.

 

If Masai Mara is a savanna paradise, then Lamu is a beach paradise. We flew into a small airstrip just off the ocean and were loaded onto small 10-seater boats for a half an hour boat ride to our final destination, Kizingoni Villas. There are 8 villas in total, all set just off the beach. Each villa is far away from the next such that you can't see any other villa from yours. And the beach - it's completely yours to the extent that you will not see anyone else on it. I went with my extended family of c. 30 people, so we hired out 3 villas.

 

We spent our 4 days lazing around the pools that are central to each villa, swimming in the crystal clear ocean, football and volleyball on the beach, going on boat rides to look for dolphins and turtles (warming up for the Mara!) and eating the stunning food they prepared for us three times a day. We had sun-downers on a dhow, dinners on the beach and were treated like kings by the staff.

 

I know most of us here come to Africa purely for the animals, but if anyone likes some pre or post safari relaxation, I would highly recommend Lamu as a destination.

 

I'm posting a couple of photos which hopefully capture the magic of the place. Word of warning - I am a complete amateur photographer, in fact this is the first safari where I am even carrying a camera so apologies in advance for the quality of the pictures.

 

Hope you enjoy!

 

med_gallery_5896_607_4277148.jpg

 

Heaven on earth

 

med_gallery_5896_607_715550.jpg

 

Our daily boat ride

 

med_gallery_5896_607_975303.jpg

 

Sunset over Lamu island

 

med_gallery_5896_607_3832532.jpg

 

The view from my bed

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madaboutcheetah

Hi All,

 

I'm just about to make a start on my trip report. Before I do that, let me answer some outstanding questions:

 

Africawild - No our driver/guide was called Joseph Kangethe. He is an amazing guide.

 

Sangeeta - I was there for 10 nights. Crowds were minimal especially towards the end of our stay as more and more seasonal camps shut. This is what I love about the Mara at this time. The most number of cars I can remember at a sighting was 8 at a sighting where a leopard was hunting - and they were all from Intrepids / Rekero / Entim - established camps whose guides are professional and we all stayed at least 50 metres away. Almost 50% of our sightings were 'our own' in that we found the cat ourselves and stayed with it without another car coming. In fact, there were whole game drives where we wouldn't even see another car, and these were in established game drive areas such as Topi Plains or Paradise!

 

MAC - I have some great facial shots of this cheetah. Do you have any of Shingo when she was with her six cubs? We can compare.

 

Dhruv

 

 

Sorry, Dhruv - I missed out on visiting the Mara when Shingo was raising her cubs.

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That is a very cool view from the bed!

 

So obviously your family did not think there were security concerns in Lamu. Has the situation improved a lot or were the old kidnapping and other reports exaggerated?

 

Really good to hear that the park and the animals both get a break in the off season. Looking forward to more.

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