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Masai Mara LIVE trip report - April 2012


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In London, having to wake up early is a chore! In the Mara, I was up even before the room steward came into the tent at 5-45 AM with a steaming mug of coffee and a hot water bottle (the bottle is something I specifically request every morning to keep me warm). The sun was yet to rise, but the sounds of an African morning pervaded the senses. There is something special about the first morning on safari - I only wish I could capture this essence in a bottle and bring it to London.


We had asked our guide Joseph to bring the car to the south side of the Talek as we wanted to go leopard hunting first thing in the morning. The plan was for us to then cross the footbridge at camp once he had brought the car over. I decided to join my guide whilst my friends Aashit and Aatish were checking their photography equipment at the bar (which is where the footbridge starts).


As we crossed the Talek in the car, we got a phone-call from Aatish saying that we needed to hurry up. When we asked why, his response was that they were watching Olive the leopard from the bar! She was walking on the opposite side of the river, making 'cub contact' sounds. We rushed over to the footbridge in the car and saw Olive disappear into some bushes. We looked for her for the next hour but the bush was too thick. No pictures, but what a start to the morning! Thought I'd post a picture of Olive from my previous trip.




Olive in the early morning light


After a quick breakfast under a Balanites tree, we decided to check up on yesterdays leopards. As we got to the area, we were shocked to find no cars around, and the huge male leopard back on the tree with his kill. He gave us an almighty growl and we backed off. We watched him from a distance as he was clearly uncomfortable. He then jumped down the tree and walked into the thickets. After waiting for a while for him to reappear, we decided to go back to camp for lunch and come back to see if he would return.




Huge male leopard intimidating us




He walks into the thickets


We left camp at 3 and drove straight to the leopard tree but unsurprisingly bothleopard and kill were gone. We reflected on an amazing sighting. To catch even this glimpse of the life of a dominant male leopard is extremely rare in East Africa (maybe it's different in South Africa?) We felt incredibly lucky to have witnessed this.


We drove on towards the Serena Pumphouse to look for a female leopard with two cubs that is regularly seen there, but had no luck. Instead, we stumbled upon a single lioness lying on a mound. She started stretching and moved away, clearly on the hunt. Just then, the heavens opened like they only can in the Mara and we scrambled to roll down the canvas across the car. In the meantime, our cunning lioness was stalking a warthog that was walking into her path. Despite getting to within 5 metres of the warthog, she missed after giving chase.




As quickly as the heavens opened, the tap shut off and that post-rain fragrance hung in the air. Leaving our lioness in peace, we drove on towards an area called Double Cross where the other Intrepids vehicles were with some cheetah, may favorite animal! The cheetah, a mother and two almost grown cubs were grooming each other after the rain shower. After showing some momentary interest in an impala, they decided to settle down for the evening and we left them to go back to camp. We were to follow these cheetah for the next week, and their trials and tribulations were something I will never forget.




The mother cheetah


On the way back to camp, we stumbled upon some male lions, Notch's sons! There were two of them, again grooming each other before they moved off. Framed against a fiery sky I took what I consider to be my first good pictures as they moved.






We got back to camp exhausted yet exhilarated - If everyday was as lucky as today we would be truly blessed!!


DAY 3 PREVIEW - I get to act as a guide (and show my guests lion, leopard and cheetah)

Edited by loafer247
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  • loafer247


  • madaboutcheetah


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  • Shreyas


Game Warden

Nice! Clever play on words as well...

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Thanks GW - and thanks for the link on facebook. Was going to post the link myself but you beat me to it!

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Game Warden

Share my link: the more who do so, the more people come to ST, see the great reports and photography, learn a bit about conservation, and might end up contributing themselves...

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That's one huge Leopard! Great photos of the lions; I especially like the background.

This report keeps getting better!

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What an excellent day, very enjoyable. That leopard is magnificent.

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Like your "first good pictures" - beautiful. Will complete reading later.....

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I was intimidated by the male leopard and it was only a picture.

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