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Mara Jan.2015

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Mara Jan.2015

Post  Safariman on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:58 pm

As with my other safari threads I will keep adding photos, videos and stories as and when I can sort them out. I managed to take about 1250 photos and over 500 video clips, so it could be a lengthy process!!
I once again stayed at Offbeat Safari's Mara Camp in the Mara North Conservancy which abuts the main Mara Reserve.
I was met at the airstrip by my two friends and Masai guides David and Kapeen. The were accompanied by a second David who was on work experience while he was studying at the nearby guiding school which provides most of the Mara guides. So for this trip I had 3 guides to look after me and find wildlife!! Sadly the camp was not very busy which was great for me as I had a vehicle all to myself. Due to the problems with Ebola (which is not a pop group as some well known personality thought} and possible terrorist threats bookings throughout Kenya have suffered very badly and the Mara is no exception. I saw very few vehicles throughout my stay and those that I did encounter had only one or two people aboard. The forward bookings for all camps are not very good for this year so it is going to be a difficult year for Kenya tourism.
People often ask me why I always return to the same camp when I return to Kenya, the main reason being its a great camp in a great spot with great wildlife run by great people; why would I want to stay anywhere else!!
So for this opening post I thought I would concentrate on the area around the camp and particularly tent no.3 where I always stay (Lai also stayed in the same tent on her visit last year). The tent seems to attract wildlife and likes to "photbomb" any wildlife around as "selfies" are rather difficult!!
All the following photos and short video contain tent no.3 and the rest of the camp which shows how much wildlife there is in the Offbeat Valley and how close it gets to camp. Every night of my stay I was sent off to sleep with the sound of lions roaring  as they patrolled around camp!!



One of the two male lions who rule the Offbeat Pride



A giraffe pays a visit!!



A female lion of the Offbeat Pride who had just given birth to cubs (story to follow).



An elephant bull passes behind my tent



There are always zebra grazing in front of camp



A herd of impala cross the valley



A buffalo bull looks down on the camp



The other male lion of the Offbeat Pride




SM
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Tiny cubs

Post  Safariman on Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:09 pm

The Mara and its surrounding conservancies are probably the best place in Africa to see the big cats at close hand. They are well habituated to vehicles from a very young age and knowing they do not pose a threat nor are they a source of food tend to ignore them. The Mara North Conservancy is one of the few ares in  Africa where the lion population is actually expanding probably due to the excellent conservation policies and the local Masai cattle herders willingness to accept them and learn to live with them.
On my visit in Oct. last year both the two main lion prides, the Offbeat Pride and the Acacia Pride had been  subject to takeover bids by new males. Although this always causes disruption and uncertainty within the prides after the initial trauma things tend to settle down again. Some of the sub- adult cubs will be forced out and any small cubs sadly killed to allow the new males to mate and start their own progeny therefore ensuring a new gene pool. This was certainly the case with both prides!!
The Acacia Pride was the first to be taken over, slightly ahead of the Offbeat Pride and when I returned in January the result was a proliferation of Acacia cubs!! The males had fulfilled their brief and now spent their time sleeping and eating obviously tired out, leaving the females with the job of raising any cubs. I am not sure how many females there are in the pride, probably between 8 or 10, but 7 seven females had managed to produce between them a total of 23 cubs!! The ages of the cubs ranged from approx. two weeks to two months and during my time in the conservancy I was able to see them all which was pretty amazing. This resulted in hundreds of the photos of lion cubs and lots of video footage, so this thread will be dominated by lions although I will still have many other stories to post.
This post is about the youngest cubs. David and Kapeen my guides seem to have the ability to sniff out lions and are particularly adept at finding cubs. Knowing there were small cubs in the area we drove around until the telltale sound of squeaking led us to the cubs. The mother had given birth to 5 cubs which is very unusual and they were about 2 weeks old when we discovered them. They were in fairly thick bush well hidden with mum in attendance. Although we could just about see some of them and their mum they were concealed by the thick undergrowth. However by waiting patiently some of the cubs beginning to be adventurous briefly appeared in a small area of open grass and I was able to quickly get a few photos of these tiny bundles of fur exploring their new world. We did not want to disturb them too much so soon moved away only to find that mum had followed us to an area of marsh so that she could get a well deserved drink and a short break from her maternal duties.
It was lovely to see these tiny cubs but as David pointed out, of the 23 cubs if 10 reach adulthood it will be amazing. Sadly the mortality rate of cubs of all the predators is very high.
These are some of the photos I managed to take and a very short video.
I will be adding posts on the rest of the cubs later.















Mum having a well earned drink!!




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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Doogs on Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:52 pm

As always lovely story and wonderful photos SM cheers   The Camp really does look great and as someone who has been to the Mara Intrepids 7 times I know exactly where you are coming from regarding going back . . .  and back (although very disappointingly our camp has overstepped the mark this year and it looks like they will not be getting our money No )

I must admit lying in your tent hearing lions roaring in the night is one of the most amazing sounds ever  Cool

WOW that  Giraffe was close !

I think that buffalo was definitely keeping an eye on you  Wink

The two Offbeat males are beautiful  I love you



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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Doogs on Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:56 pm

Oh my word 23 cubs I love you I love you and what a lovely variation in ages meaning they were all still little and very cute I love you

Those are fantastic pictures and it's really special to see cubs that young. Nice shot of mum getting that well earned drink Like a Star @ heaven

Lunchtime nearly over so I will have to catch up with the videos tomorrow.

Thanks again for the story and pictures though SM, absolutely brilliant cheers
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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  whitestarling on Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:28 am

Sad news that the visitor numbers to Kenya are dropping, but understandable though with Ebola, and the terrorist threat. I remember Lai saying she had stopped in tant 3, and it does look a great spot to be in. Good to hear that the number of Lions in the area are expanding, and that's certainly a big numbers of cubs in a very short time, just hope the Males stay in control of the pride long enough for them to reach survival age on their own without another take over. great photos again, I also love the shot of the Lioness drinking, and the cubs always look so cute. You would think that the cubs would have a better survival rate being in a pride than the other cats like Leopard, and cheetah cubs. Great clip of the 2 week old cubs, I shared it on Wildearth chat last night, and they loved it, and made some very nice remarks about it. Its nice when you go to the effort of doing something like that, that people comment on it.
It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Elephant Charge Video I did, link on the front page

WS

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Safariman on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:31 pm

Thanks Doogs and WS. Even in prides the cubs are always vulnerable and unlike cheetah and leopard cubs, being social cats, they like to wander around putting themselves in danger. The other cat cubs tend to stay hidden until mum comes back!! The bigger the pride the better the chance of survival as the pride can leave some adults with the cubs while the rest go hunting.
With regards to visitor numbers WS unfortunately too many people think Africa is a single country and fail to realise that Nairobi is approx. the same distance from the centre of the Ebola outbreak as London.
WS I have added my comments to the elephant charge video.

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:40 pm

Safariman, lovely photos, clips and stories as ever. I really enjoyed seeing tent 3 again with it's wonderful view Laughing It sounds like you had another brilliant safari and it is tragic to hear how Ebola has affected Kenya and the whole of Africa. We found that too of course, although we did meet some Canadians at Sarara and a couple of Americans, for the most part I think it's the Americans who panic and don't travel at the first hint of anything!

Great to know their are so many cubs at the moment, fingers crossed a % stay safe although I know the reality is different sadly.

Looking forward to more when you have time ..............

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Confrontation

Post  Safariman on Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:22 pm

Thanks Lai.

This is almost a continuation of my previous post concerning lion cubs. It shows the hazards faced by small cubs in their struggle to survive.
4 of the Acacia Pride females all gave birth at approximately the same time to a total of 12 cubs. The cubs were about 2 months old at the time of my visit and the females had formed a creche to look after them. However one of the females was sometimes missing preferring to be on her own. We had several sightings of them during my stay generally seeing them feeding as young cubs are always hungry when not sleeping or playing. It is difficult to work out which cubs belong to which mum as the creche allows the cubs to suckle on whichever female is around at the time. I sometimes wonder if the choice of which female to feed on depends on the flavour of the milk!!
We had been watching the cubs with 3 of the mums having their morning breakfast feed until the females decided they had had enough and moved off into some thick bush. We also decided it was time for breakfast and David my guide found us a great spot nearby where we could enjoy a fantastic view as we ate. We could see in the distance a large herd of buffalo and they were slowly making their way towards the area where we had last seen the cubs. As they got closer we packed away our picnic and drove to the place where the buffalo and lions might intersect to see what would happen.
As young cubs grow they soon become more adventurous and will sometimes strike out on their own away from the adults and their siblings. 2 of the cubs had strayed from the main group and as the buffalo came closer took refuge in some thick bush As soon as the first buffalo were spotted one of the cubs dashed off to find the rest but one rather unwisely climbed onto a dead tree in the middle of the bush to try and hide.
The buffalo and lions are deadly enemies particularly for the Acacia Pride who are adept at hunting buffalo and so the buffalo will not hesitate to kill any cubs they find. The buffalo soon located the unfortunate cub and started trying to dislodge it from its' precarious perch. Several times I thought they were going to succeed only for the cub to cling on for dear life!! The buffalo completely surrounded the cub on both sides of the bush hoping to get at it. We could hear the plaintive cries of the cub hoping to attract help. Eventually, although we could not see them the rest of the pride must have heard the cub and came to investigate at which point the buffalo backed off. We were then able to drive closer to where the hapless cub was still clinging on to its refuge on the dead tree. After a little while, sensing the buffalo had gone, the cub looked around gave a couple of cries, probably in relief, and scrambled back down to the ground and went to find mum and the rest of the cubs.
This time the cub managed to survive unscathed and hopefully a little wiser but next time it may not be be so lucky.
I managed to take a few photos of the incident and also a short video. The quality of the video is not great as I realised that my hand was probably shaking as I was trying to film but it shows a sense of the trauma for the cub!! When I checked the data on my photos it was just over 15 minutes that the buffalo were trying to get at the cub!!



Having breakfast before the encounter with, nearest the camera, Kapeen, David and trainee David



The buffalo arrive on the left and the cub is on the extreme right



The buffalo trying to dislodge the unfortunate cub!!



The trauma continues!!



Relief at last



"I think they have gone!!"



"Where are you Mum?"



Time to come down



Almost home



Reunited at last!!



All together again



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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:37 pm

WOW Safariman, that is a nail biting clip and shows just how lucky that little cub was. Great photos and story and I am so pleased the outcome was a good one. Good to see Kapeen looking relaxed as ever Laughing

Thanks for sharing.

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Even smaller cubs!!

Post  Safariman on Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:20 am

Carrying on with the theme of lion cubs which dominated my visit, this post concerns the Offbeat Pride.
As with the Acacia Pride the Offbeat Pride had been taken over by 2 new males although slightly later and during my previous visit the new males were busy mating with all the Offbeat females. The result was that 5 out of the 6 females became pregnant. The exception being Napono the matriarch who is no longer fertile.
This visit coincided with the expected birth of the cubs. The pride have various places where they like to give birth, normally in very thick bush away from any possible danger. David my guide who has been following the pride for over 7 years knows the likeliest places and every game drive we would check them out to see if there was any sign of new life! When we encountered the females who were well spread out 2 appeared to be heavily pregnant but 2 others appeared to have given birth and were lactating. The problem was trying to find the cubs. One of the females, Napono's adult daughter was often seen quite close to camp laying in front of some dense bush close to the Olare Orok river which passes through camp. When new cubs are born they are completely silent and it is not until they are about 6 or 7 days old that they can be heard squeaking for attention so trying to locate them is not easy.
On one of our afternoon game drives we drove to where we thought they might be and as the female was not around we were able to get quite close. It was eagle eyed Kapeen my other guide who made the discovery pointing to a very small gap in a some very thick bush and there to our delight we could just about make out 3 very tiny cubs probably about 4 days old!! They were extremely well hidden particularly with the inside of the bush being in very dark shade.
Having found them the next challenge for me was to try and take some photos. The only way I could obtain a semi-decent picture was to totally overexpose the photos so that the interior of the bush became visible whilst the foliage and branches of the bush appeared white. It was also a case of having to use manual focus as the automatic focus only picked up the foliage. The photos are not great but do show some very tiny and brand new cubs. It was a great privilege to be the first to witness these new additions to the pride.
We returned several times to the same spot but did not see them again.The mum usually moves the cubs every 3 or 4 days to try and keep the chances of any scent of the cubs being found to a minimum. On my return I have since heard that the cubs were heard squeaking by people in tent no. 5 which shows how close to camp they were. The problem now for the cubs is one of simple survival and unfortunately the Offbeat Pride does not have a great record of bringing up cubs!!



The very first sighting of the brand new cubs about 4 days old!!










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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:59 pm

Oh my word Safariman, those cubs are just the tiniest little things. Well done to Kapeen for his sharp eyes in spotting them. They are adorable and let's hope that the Offbeat pride has a better success rate than normal.

Thanks for sharing the photos, clip and story.

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  whitestarling on Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:11 pm

Phew that was a very close encounter for the Acacia Pride Cub, those encounters are normally fatal, and it was extremely lucky to escape, under those circumstances I'm not surprised you were shaking, but that's a great video, and certainly gives you the sense of the drama. I think you've done a fantastic job of getting the photos of the Offbeat Pride Cubs under the conditions and you worked out the exposure to the best possible. Hopefully they will survive, and be there next year when you go back to visit. Thanks for all the photos, and stories

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Doogs on Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:04 pm

Phew I'm glad when stories like that have a happy ending.  Your heart really is in your mouth watching the events unfold and you just hope and pray that the little ones will be ok in the end, thankfully they were Very Happy

I loved your "I think they've gone" picture but bless that cub, you can see the terror in its eyes Crying or Very sad

We were on our night drive in Naboisho and had a similar experience, mum in the bushes with the little ones and quite a few buffalo very nearby.  We all sat and held our breath while they sniffed about, thankfully they eventually moved away and the family was safe . . .  until the next encounter !

Ooooh those cubs are beautiful and well done you for managing to get some decent shots of them.  Kapeen certainly sounds as though he is a very good spotter Wink exactly what you need to make a good safari great.

Shame you didn't see the family again but Offbeat Pride with these little ones, here's hoping they all make it cheers

Thanks SM for the excellent stories, photos and videos Cool
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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Safariman on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:13 pm

Thanks Doogs, the buffalo and cub was very traumatic to watch not knowing the outcome. But for wildlife it is an everyday occurrence and they are all just trying to survive.
I am very lucky to have David and Kapeen as my guides as well as being excellent spotters the also know where to look which is equally important especially as my eyesight is pretty abysmal.

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Cheetahs

Post  Safariman on Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:16 pm

I now have a new computer and am still sorting out how it works!! Yesterday I spent over an hour uploading this post complete with photos and had just got to the end and was trying to upload a video and managed to hit the wrong button and lost everything!! Having given myself 24 hours to calm down, I will now try again.
This post carries on the Big Cat theme but is about cheetahs probably the most difficult of the cats to see on the Mara.
Whenever I stay at Offbeat's camp in the Mara North Conservancy I always like to spend a day visiting main Mara Reserve, usually going to the Musiara Marsh area. However this time David my guide suggested we try a different part of the reserve in the hope of seeing the cheetah Malaika and her cubs. Cheetahs travel vast distances and it is only when the females have cubs that they will remain in the same area for some time.
We set off early with provisions for a pinic breakfast and lunch following the Olare Orok River to enter the reserve on the Talek River side. It was Kapeen who made the first sighting pointing in the distance to say there was a cheetah. I could see nothing and even David was unsure. But following Kapeen's directions we did indeed come across a cheetah, a young male, who was relaxing and surveying his territory. There were no other vehicles around so we had him all to ourselves and he soon decided it was time to start patrolling his area. I love to be able to see the big cats on the move rather than just relaxing or sleeping which is normally the case. He seemed quite happy for us to follow him which we did for quite a time before leaving him to his wanderings and continuing with our drive.
Heading towards the Ol Kiombo area of the reserve which I am sure Doogs knows well as her "used to be" favourite camp is nearby we could see in the distance a second cheetah relaxing on a termite mound. As we approached it became obvious that it was Malaika and her 4 cubs. The cubs soon decided it was time  to find the shade of a nearby bush and left mum on her own keeping watch. Again there were no other vehicles around and we had the sighting all to ourselves. The cubs looked to be in excellent condition and Malaika has done a fantastic job to be able to raise them so far only losing one early on. As the cubs get older they will require more food which means Malaika will have to hunt more often and one hopes that their inborn curiosity and clumsy attempts to help her with the hunting will not be a problem.
With the cubs in the shade we decided it was time for us to also find some shade and have breakfast. As we headed towards the Olare Orok River David proudly said "mission accomplished" and it was still only 9:30. However that was only the beginning to what turned out to be a truly memorable drive, but that is for another story!!
These are some photos and a short video showing both sightings



Young male cheetah



"Are you following me?"



One of my favourite photos showing the solitary cheetah against the vastness of the Mara landscape





Malaika and 3 of her cubs, the fourth had already moved into the shade



Malaika



The cubs although growing quickly still have the vestiges of the mantle showing





The 4 cubs relaxing in the shade



Malaika





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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:22 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  and Thanks  Safariman for trying and succeeding to upload your photos and clips again - it's so frustrating when that happens, but as far as I'm concerned it was definitely worth waiting an extra day for your great story, photos and clip.

You the man Kapeen - he just is an amazing spotter.

I love the Musiara Marsh area there's always so much to see as well as the Marsh Pride of course but David was right in heading off in a different direction.  How wonderful to see Malaika and her 4 cubs.  She's one of the most famous cheetahs at the moment with everyone posting information and photos on FB.  You were so lucky to have that time alone with her and of course the lone male.  

Definitely worth the early start Safariman, and how amazingly different the Mara looks compared to the dry north, it is beautifully green Very Happy

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  whitestarling on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:20 am

Very wise decision to leave it for 24hrs SM couldn't you just scream when that happens, thanks for having the patience to do it again for us to share. It really is great to see Cheetahs again, it something I don't see on any of the web cams I follow, only ever had one sighting. Malaika as you say is really doing well with her cubs, how old are they now can't remember, but it still looks as though they have a way to go to indpendance, and feeding all 4 will certainly cause her problems. Its lovely as you say to see the big cats on the move instead of just sleeping and resting, it must have been a really enjoyable morning, from your story, and to have seen those Cheetahs by 9-30am and all to yourselves was brilliant.
Great photos again, and video, I have the one of Malaika lying down as my screen saver, and it looks fantastic thanks SM

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Safariman on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:45 pm

Thanks Lai and WS.
Computers can be very frustrating but without them I wouldn't be able to post pics on WAA and see other members posts. So I will have just have to put up with the occasional blip!!
Kapeen does have amazing eyesight Lai except for his near vision which is atrocious!! He seems to able to sense where a certain animal might be and I would be lost without him, add to that David's knowledge and driving skills and for me they are the perfect combination.I am very lucky to have them especially as most of the time there just the 3 of us in the vehicle.
Pleased you enjoyed the pics of Malaika WS, I am not always sure which photos to post as I want to try and give a feel of what a safari is like as well as show off my best pics!!! I am not sure how old the cubs were but I imagine between5/6 months.

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lions, hyenas, buffalo and Lipstick!!

Post  Safariman on Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:17 pm

This post carries on from my last one and concerns an incident that happened later on the same morning after seeing Malaika.
Having had our picnic breakfast on the banks of the Olare Orok River we crossed over and headed towards Rhino Ridge and Paradise Plain. On the way we met a vehicle coming the opposite way and the driver informed us that there had been a lion kill not too far away. When we arrived at the sighting there were 4 sub-adult lions gorging themselves on a buffalo kill, watched by 2 other vehicles and about 20/30 hyenas. There were 2 males and 1 female probably about two and a half years old. Though not yet fully grown the males all had healthy manes. As we watched the hyenas kept circling the kill and slowly moved in closer not quite sure if they should try and get a piece of the action. They seemed to be egging each other on to be the first to try their luck. However just as one made an attempt to steal some of the kill the whole atmosphere changed. The reason being, in the distance, an adult male had appeared. He had been relaxing in the shade of some far off bushes and it was probably him who had made the initial kill. The male turned out to be Lipstick,one of Notch's many offering, and as he approached we could tell from his full belly that he had been well fed. Immediately they saw him the hyenas scattered and decided to keep out of the way and three of the sub-adult also moved ashore distance away and flopped down. It was fascinating to watch Lipstick as he approached with a slow measured stride his head perfectly still. his eyes focused on the kill. It was not until he was almost at the kill that he slightly quickened his stride and with a half-hearted growl sent the laggardly sub-adult on his way. He did not seem too interested in eating any more only occasionally taking a bite. I think he just wanted to show everybody who the boss was and that it baas kill. The 4 sub-adults remained close by in the hope of possibly being able to have some more but were panting heavily with all the food they had eaten and were also suffering from the heat of the sun as noon approached.
By this time we were the only vehicle still at the kill and the young lions decided they needed to find some shade; the only shade available within close reach of the buffalo carcass was our vehicle!! The female was the first to make a move and she came and flopped down by the side of us then one by one the 3 males also approached however first they inspected our vehicle at close quarters walking all the way round us before settling down. We had 3 lions under the back of the vehicle and one under the front!!
It is quite unnerving to have a male lion, even if not quite full grown, stand less than a couple of feet away from you with nothing in-between, and look you in the eye panting noisily with fetid breath, bloody whiskers and more blood dripping from his chin. The one consolation being that he had already eaten and was hopefully not still hungry. It was one of those occasions where you have to put your trust in the wild animal as it is he who decides what happens next. It was difficult to get any decent pictures as the lions were too close and I did not want to lean too far out of the vehicle!! With all 4 of them I could easily have patted them on the head as they walked by and inspected us.It was a quite remarkable experience!!
We waited for about 15/20 minutes to see if they would move but Lipstick was still guarding his kill and David eventually decided we needed to move to also find some shade so he decided to start the engine to see what would happen, fortunately the male under the front wheels rather begrudgingly got up and moved a short distance away and we were able to drive slowly off leaving the other 3 behind us wondering where their shade had disappeared to!!

There are some photos and a short video which I hope is not too gruesome. It was one of those occasions when you wish another vehicle was close by to take some photos for you!!



The sub-adults tucking in to the buffalo carcass



The hyenas start circling hoping for some food!!



Lipstick appears on the horizon and the hyenas scatter!!



Lipstick claims his prize



The sub-adults decide what to do



Lipstick



Three hot and bothered young males



Looking for some shade



Inspecting our vehicle with David the trainee guide in the wing mirror



He's behind you!!



Close enough!!



It's ok I've just eaten!!



Having been lucky enough to follow several lion prides for some years I now have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for them. In spite of their somewhat chaotic and dysfunctional social life there sheer size,presence and power leaves me in awe. For me the lion has now become my favourite big cat, usurping both the leopard and the cheetah!!

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Feb 24, 2015 3:40 pm

You the man Safariman. What a totally amazing experience and the clip really gets you in the picture for how it was. Lipstick really is a handsome lion and knows it, it was great to see him strutting over to the buff carcass, he seems to know he's a fine figure of a lion!

Lovely photos, superb story and a truly memorable occasion.

Thanks for sharing.

Lai
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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Safariman on Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:09 pm

Thanks Lai as you say it was a one off experience. Lipstick has a brother Blackie and I saw them both on my trip last Oct. Notch seems to have offspring everywhere in the Mara and the various prides seem to be getting more and more mixed especially with the 4 Musketeers mating with any and every female they find irrelevant which pride they belong to. I get the feeling that with a number of nomadic males now around the Mara they could lose control of the Marsh Pride if they are not careful as they seem to be very rarely around.

SM
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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:32 pm

I Agree Safariman, every time I look at FB there is more and more about the big cats of the Mara and who is who and who is doing what with whom. It's all happening for sure and who knows what the outcome will be.

When is your next trip? I am sure you must have a plan ..... Very Happy

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Just Giraffes!!

Post  Safariman on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:45 am

Lai I will be returning to the Mara in June. It was going to be October but I realised I couldn't wait that long!!

I change of pace for this post: I decided to get away from the big cats. This is about one of my favourite animals, the giraffe. For me the giraffe epitomises Africa and whenever I see a photo of one I am immediately back in Africa!!
On this trip, giraffes were everywhere and a couple of times I saw herds of over 20 individuals. They seem to breed very well in the conservancy as the predators, particularly lions, surprisingly do not seem interested in them. They are very curious animals always stopping to stare at whatever is going on and that makes them very photogenic as they will happily pose for the camera.
They regularly visit the Offbeat Camp on their way to and from the Olare Orok river and will often pass right in front of the tents. These are some photos and a short video showing these wonderful animals.



Female giraffe. The female's horns have more hair on them than the male's who almost look bald (like me).



Male giraffe showing his bald horns.



The lion and the giraffe!!



A pair of male giraffe sparring for dominance





A young giraffe biting off more than it could chew!!



They are over there!!



A big herd of giraffe at the Olare Orok salt lick



Mum and her brand new baby



A welcome visitor to my tent at the Offbeat Mara Camp







SM
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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:52 pm

lol!  Safariman - I love that, you realised you couldn't wait until October, brilliant and a good decision.  I used to do that with riding safaris, just email Mark and go ..........

I really am seriously alien with envy - Pete and I have no plans to return this year, although my friend Ali and I may do a week in October in Kenya hopefully.

Giraffes have such beautiful markings and are such elegant (unless drinking) animals.  You've got some lovely photos and the clips is terrific.    Lovely to see all the wildlife passing in front of the Offbeat Mara tents Laughing

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Mara Jan.2015

Post  whitestarling on Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:23 pm

WOW That was a bit close with the lions next to the vehicle What a Face certainly a bit unnerving I would have thought. A bit gruesome as you say with the Buffalo kill, but if your going to watch big cats that's what your going to get. Notch really has produced some awesome off spring in his time you can see his genes in them. The situation with all the Lions mixing reminds me of when Notch, and his sons were in their prime, they did the same thing going from pride to pride, and never staying long enough to ensure the Cubs they fathered lived long enough to survive, and sadly I think a lot of Cubs wont survie now with the number of nomads around, and the pride males not being in attendance for long. Great close ups, and video SM.
Just love the Giraffe pics, that one is a bit close to the Lioness, but I guess it knew what it was doing, and the baby giraffe, and Mum is really cute. Amazing how little hair the male Giraffe has on its ossicones, and I must say I know the feeling to lol! They really do go at it when they fight for dominance don't they, and you can see the neck power generated in your shots really. More great pics, videos, and stories Sm Thanks

WS

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