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March 2014 - Kenya Safari

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March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:41 pm

Mr WMT and I returned to Kenya earlier this year after a near 5 year break... we noticed two big changes, the roads were much improved and the number of tourists much reduced. Our previous three safaris through Kenya had all been in September (2005, 2007 & 2009), so we did expect less tourists but not the near empty lodges.

Having looked through other safari trip reports here you all seem to have stayed in 'rather nice' accommodation in comparison to us! Our Mara lodgings (Keekorok) has never got us to the 'BBC's' Big Cats... but we have still had some amazing big cat sightings.

This year's trip took us to Tsavo West (our first visit), Amboseli, Aberdare, Samburu, Ol Pejeta (our first visit), Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara.

I'll post a few pictures here, but if you have the time you can read our trip report and see our videos here:

WMTravellers' 2014 Safari Trip Report

Tsavo West Leopard



Samburu Leopards (female and then male, mating pair that the BBC were trying to film).





Mara Lions





Mara Cheetahs





And just because the colours & lighting were so good... a lilac-breasted roller

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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  whitestarling on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:34 pm

Great site you have there Liz, and really good trip information. As soon as I saw the male Lion photo you've put on I immediately thought it was Scar on of the Muskateers that took over the Marsh Pride from Romeo & Clawaud, but then I thought Tsavo is to fara from Mara for it to be him, but after having a quick look at your trip days 11 & 12 I see you went to Mara. You say you encountered two Lion Prides one of which was quite large, so those could have been the Marsh Pride. Doogs or Lai might be able to ID better. Only had time for a quick look, but I go through your trip a bit at a time. Thanks for posting your trip.

WS

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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:43 am

Thanks WS, above each picture I put where the pics were taken. The first leopard was Tsavo, the second two leopards were from Samburu, the two lions were from the Mara and the cheetahs from the Mara.

I know the lion was not scar as he was not in the correct territory (this was confirmed on the Marsh Pride Facebook page when someone posted my video of him on there). This lion was near his pride (approximately 15 lions strong), he had fought with another male and was sulking while the winning male was mating about 400 metres away.

The Mara was full to bursting with lion prides this March! In the region around Keekorok lodge there were 4 different prides, each with at least one stunning male. We saw each of them with zebra & buffalo kills.

We also saw 3 different cheetahs in the region.

We have seen leopard in the Mara on two of our four safaris but not this year (we used all our leopard luck in Samburu with the mating pair!)

We really enjoyed visiting in March it was great to be able to sit with the cats without the crush of loads of other vehicles Very Happy
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  Doogs on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:25 pm

WOW what amazing photos Liz, they are brilliant Cool Very Happy

I love leopards, such beautiful but very elusive animals so you were very lucky to see a few and get such great shots cheers

I too will come back to this to see if I recognise the lions - do you know where about in the Mara you were when they were taken ? I don't think the male with the 'scars' on him is Scar as his eye is worse than that so it's likely to be another who has been in a scrap !!

Non-migration time is a great time to be in the Mara - I've done four during migration time and 2 non-migration time (June & November) and loved having less jeeps/people about. I would recommend November before June as the wildies and zebra have either just left (or some stragglers are still there) so the grass is short making for great photo opportunities. We struggled in June with the long grass, nearly passing all 12 odd of the Rekero Pride of Lions who were very well camouflaged !!!

Will check out your report when I've got more time, it's my lunch hour at work just now.
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:47 pm

Thanks Doogs, if you have a read of my reply to WS above you will see I was in a different area to where I think you guys normally hang out, ie not near Governors Camp Wink Our drives were in the Keekorok, Sand River, Meta Plains areas.
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  Doogs on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:54 pm

Ahhhh right, apologies Liz - won't know who the handsome lad is then !!

Loved your Rollerbird photo, they are such beautiful little birds I love you
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  Safariman on Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:19 pm

Lovely set of photos WMT.
You certainly had a comprehensive trip to nearly all the parks and reserves in Kenya.
I have only been to the Mara and Meru as I tend to just stay in one place and if I like it {which I generally do) keep returning, that way I get to know the area, the animals and most importantly the guides. It also means that I have to keep returning to find out what has happened to the various animals I have got to know particularly the big cats!!
I will take a look at your web-site when I have the time.
Thanks for sharing.

SM
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:02 pm

Doogs, it's a shame the majority of the attention is given to the big cats around the BBC frequented areas... you could almost think there aren't any other big cats in the Mara, lol. I'm sure local guides get to know them, but there doesn't seem to be the mass hunger for updates like there is for the ones featured in documentaries. I do dislike the not knowing what happens after we leave... in my own little world all the cubs grow up to have their own cubs, so maybe my world of not knowing is better in some ways sunny
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:21 pm

SM, Thanks my husband has mostly taken over the photography, I generally do videoing, so I'll pass on the compliments.

Mr WMT loves road trips and cramming in as much as possible to our trips, all our 'holidays' involve multiple destinations... I think the longest we ever get to stay in one place is 6 nights, but normally we move on after a maximum of three. It's fine while we are still 'young' (I'm 43 and he is 50 next month), but it can mean we get back feeling like we need another break!

I can certainly understand the appeal of really getting to know an area and following its wildlife closely. We have done several repeat trips to Yellowstone National Park and now know some of the bears and where to find them, allowing us guaranteed bear viewing. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you read my post to Doogs above) some of the Yellowstone bears' life progress can be followed through social media, which of course keeps us wanting to go back again and again!
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  whitestarling on Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:58 pm

Thanks for the clarification on Scar Liz. Not knowing the area, I pulled a map up, and looked where Tsavo was, and noiticed Mara so I thought it was the right area, he does look a bit like Scar though. Just checked Day 2 of your trip, great Photos of the Leopard by Mr WMT, and what a lucky sighting, to see it just lying there basking in the sun. It's amazing really if a Leopard doesn't want you to see it you wont, and then you come across one lying out in the open. From your video, it doesn't look as though it was in hunting mode, as it was walking with it tail raised,showing its white tail tip, a sign that prey animals recognise that the Leopard is not after prey. you were right about the red soil showing in Animals, you could see it on the Elephants skin in your video, clearly a red shade, no doubt through eating vegetation , and roots.

WS

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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:54 am

Thanks WS, there's a good distance between the parks and lots of people, I don't believe a pride would be able to travel that far. The Marsh pride has about 50sq km of the Masai Mara. The rest is carved up into territories between 30 and 120sq km in size which together supports over 20 lion prides!

with regards to the red tint to the animals in Tsavo, this is caused by the animals 'bathing' in the red dust. A favourite elephant pastime for sure Very Happy
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  whitestarling on Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:44 pm

I agree Liz, its much to far for the Marsh Pride, although some Lion Prides can have an area as big as 100sq Km, depending on rich an area is in prey. The Marsh Pride don't need an area that big because of the Marsh itself, I've no doubt its not Scar after checking it was just the initial reaction to the seeing your photo first time.
Seems as though you had a good time in Amboseli, seen lots of that area on the documentaries from following Echo the great Matriach. An African Fish Eagle, and an Osprey ROFL, enough to make you twitch . Love the Vervet Monkys again they come to Petes Pond, and I got a geat video of them having a pool party in the water, it was really funny. Great shot of the Bull Elephant, he does look a fine specimen.
Day 4 next Laughing

WS

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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  WMTravellers on Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:43 pm

Thanks WS, the last time we were in Amboseli (before this year) was 2009 during the terrible droughts. There were so many dead animals, including elephants, that the prey animals didn't have to do much to get a meal! Quite distressing to witness. But this year's visit showed us how well the region was recovering with the return of the large elephant herds again. In fact, we saw more elephants here than we did back in 2005 before the drought.
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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  whitestarling on Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:14 pm

I remember the drought, and seeing a documentary on how Echo led her family through it, and the hard decisions she made to do it. It's really good to know that the Elephant numbers have increased so much since that terrible time. I meant say earlier I agree about all the attention on the Big Five, I often wonder how many people are aware or know Africa's Little Five must sees. That Elephant certainly knew you were in the hide, hope the 4 courses of foof had settled lol Hmm after the others didn't want company at dinner, I think you were magnanimous in sharing your ride to Abadare as it was. Janet the Genet lol! was that a Large or Small Genet ? couldn't see the tip of the tail. Amazing how the Gazelles stand on their hind legs to get to the leaves. I thought that was one heck of a treck when I saw you were going from Amboseli to Abadare, Abadare's not far from us in Wales
Thanks for sharing the Video, and great photos again from the WMT Team

WS

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Re: March 2014 - Kenya Safari

Post  Laikipia on Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:28 pm

Thanks for sharing WMT, great to see your photos or Mr WMT's pics Laughing We also move around every 3 or 4 days and generally spend more time up north where there are less tourists! In January we're going to Ol Pejeta for the first time so that should be fun.

I've so much to catch up here so apologies if I miss bits and pieces Shocked

Lai
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