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Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

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Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:12 pm

I thought I would start with a few photos of a pair of lions we met one night whilst we were staying at Ol Pejeta Bush camp.  Just before sundowners we came across a male and female mating.  We stayed with them for a short time and then left them to it, somehow watching seems a bit Embarassed .  Whilst having our sundowners a few minutes away Pete spotted another male lion going towards the pair.  We finished our drinks drunken and went back to see what would happen.  To say it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen doesn't do it justice, the two males fighting and the sounds of the roaring were so powerful and you could feel the testosterone in the air.  Happily the fight ended quickly and the losing male exited promptly.  The original male then went back to his Mrs and we went back to camp.  Alex who owns the camp was with us and had never seen such a fight.  Both Pete and I tried taking some photos but it was getting dark and we were both on Aperture not shutter speed (my ISO was on 25600) so the photos are artistic to say the least!


Relaxing in the evening sun prior to mating


Thankfully a tree was in the way  Laughing  Embarassed


Chilling after a brief encounter


The male senses an intruder


He gets up to take a look but doesn't leave her side


He really was the most handsome lion





Hmm so maybe there is no one there but I can see you


Time to relax again ....


Half an hour later .... fericious, primeval and the most amazing fight.





We both decided to put down our cameras and just watch!

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:11 pm

I'm jumping around a bit here with going to Sarara where we ended our safari as this was another thing that happened, this is a one off for us and something we will both always remember.

An injured ele had been spotted, his 'fifth leg' was very swollen and it was decided to call the DSWT mobile vet unit who operate out of Lewa about 2 1/2 hours drive away.  The vet and his team came over in the afternoon and we were able to go out with them and see the team in action.  Absolutely amazing to see how they are able to treat such an enormous animal.  Just darting the ele was hard, he was behind the bushes and the first dart, bounced off him so we had to wait another 20 minutes before redarting.  He crashed down landing in an open space luckily and the team moved in followed by us.

Ele hiding in the bushes


Down he goes


In order that he can breath his trunk is kept open with a small twig


I have never been so close to a wild ele and nor had most of the samburu guides


The vet gets ready


Taking a look


Pouring water over his ears to keep him cool


The bullet wound




Mobile vet unit


3 very short clips.







The ele was then given something to wake him up whilst we climbed back into the vehicles.  He was up and about straight away, and  the idea was to re-treat him in 10 days if he could be found and darted but I don't know if that happened.  We looked for him the next day and could tell where he had been by the dung which was a different colour and his p** was very smelly.  Katie has seen him since at their waterhole so fingers crossed he will make a full recovery.  

The sad thing is that the bullet wound probably caused his immune system to suffer hence the swollen 'fifth leg' yet another thing to blame poachers for.

Talk about completely inspiring to see the vet working at first hand and to be able to touch such a magnificent ele.  To see the bullet wound almost made me cry.

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Safariman on Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:50 am

Sounds as if you had some memorable encounters on this trip Lai. It does not matter how many times you go on safari, the next game drive will always be different and you never know what you might see which to me always makes it exciting. People often ask me why I keep going back to Africa and say isn't just the same and boring to see the same animals over and over again. The answer of course is that it never is; each game drive is a brand new adventure into the unknown.
Seeing the two males going hammer and tongs at each other must have been awesome to watch. Their power is incredible and add to that the noise and it becomes something you never forget. It is sods law that when you get a sighting like that the light is against you for taking decent photos. I very rarely go above 3200 iso as my lens is capable of f2.8 at maximum zoom which helps. But when it gets very dark I just switch to video which seems to be a lot more forgiving of low light.
The vets do a fantastic job trying to help and save wildlife and it must be very depressing for them to keep having to try and clean up after the poachers have gone about their evil business. I have never been that close to an ellie to be able to touch it; definitely a one off experience.
Your posts definitely show the ups and downs of game drives and I look forward to seeing more of your pics and stories when you have time. Thanks for sharing.

SM
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:20 pm

Thanks Safariman, you are so right about each and every day being different, I will never tire of Africa or Kenya it is such a special place.  I can drop the ISO on my camera way down to over 100,000 but the noise would be horrendous and I frankly wouldn't bother unless it was a leopard!  You are so right about the video and if I had been ready and prepared it would have been an ideal occasion, but it was after sundowners drunken and for some reason I really wasn't ready!  

I'll post some more photos later but have to say those were our 2 most memorable events!

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  whitestarling on Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:51 pm

WOW SM that must have been awesome to see those two Male Lions fighting like that, and although the light was low your photos certainly give the impression of the ferocity that was involved. I have seen clips of Males fighting, and they are certainly something to see, don't blame you for putting your camera away, and just experiencing what was going on in front of you, you can really miss a lot by taking photos and not just watching and taking it all in.
That must have really been an experience getting so close to an Elephant, and touching it, but at the same time so sad for the reason, the vets were having to operate on him like that. I know if I was there where I'd aim my gun at the poacher that did that.
I agree with both of you about each safari being different experience wise. Its just the same on the cams in Africa that I watch you never know whats round the corner.

WS

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:31 pm

WS - glad you enjoyed the photos and clips.

More to follow soon.

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Doogs on Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:46 pm

LOL I know what you mean about mating Lions Lai Embarassed Laughing

He was a very handsome lad, no wonder that lioness was mating with him. Fantastic shots and what a great story, never seen/heard two males fighting before so that must have just been amazing, bet it was incredibly loud affraid

Well done to you all for alerting DSWT about that Bull Ele, it was obvious from your story and picutures he did need help and hopefully the help he did get will have saved his life, quite an experience for you all.

No wonder you nearly cried seeing that bullet, I certianly would have.

Thanks for the great photos and stories Lai, really interesting and definitleys something different cheers
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:11 pm

Thanks Doogs. I really wish I'd video'd the lion fight as then I would have the amazing sounds, they'd make an excellent ring tone for my mobile! I must e-mail Katie at Sarara and find out if there is any news on the ele.

I've still lots of photos to share it's just finding the time Laughing

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:54 am

A few more photos from Ol Pejeta before I move on to the 2 other camps we visited.  I've made these small so I can upload quickly!

The Rhino memorial in Ol Pejeta Conservancy - sad to see how many rhinos have been poached.


Pete with the Ele outside our tent - he gets in by walking along the river and he's called Gorbachev Very Happy


Sunset with Jacksons Hartebeest (Kongoni) sadly endangered and very skittish I could never get close enough for a good photo


The buff family


Hyena in the den


Who are you staring at?


Tree agama - stunning colours


A group of zebra - the one with the pink nose is a hybrid with a % of grevy


Handsome waterbuck at the water


Crowned Hornbill and a frog!


Lone buff  What a Face


European Bee Eater


A group of eles browsing and passing through the river


If I reach up and over this bank I can get to the tree - happily the bank held!


Kori Bustard - the largest flying bird


A baby giraffe still with its umbilical cord


Mount Kenya


That's all for now Very Happy

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  whitestarling on Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:51 am

Sorry lai just noticed I got you and SM mixed up, for some reason I thought it was SM who had see the lion fight scratch Some more great photos of your visit. I'm not surprised Gorbachev manages to get in the camp after all wasn't it him who brought the iron curtain down lol! It really is so sad the number of Rhinos poached last year another record Sad Mad . Love the photo of the hartebeest on the horizon sadly yet another endangered species. As you say lovely colours on the tree Agma, and the hyena does seem to think your being nosey . For some reason I've never though that a Zebra could be a hybrid before, but of cause it is possible, and the old dagger boy looks really lonely. Those ells were determined to get up there good job the bush held.
Thanks for the pics Lai looking forward to more of your trip

WS

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:24 pm

Thanks WS and not a problem, it's confusing as Safariman and I were away at the same time!

Glad you enjoyed the photos - more on the way this week.

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Doogs on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:44 pm

WOW that's a lovely set of photos, all of them Lai cheers

Beautiful Rhino memorial and lovely idea but we'd all agree there shouldn't be any memorials there No

I love shots of a sunset with animals in the foreground and that one is lovely with the Hartebeest.

Great capture of the Hornbills and that one have the wee front in its beak Cool

How lovely to see a very little but large giraffe, gorgeous I love you

Thanks Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:16 pm

Doogs glad you enjoyed them Very Happy

I'll move on to lions and the camp at Mugie next - well this week.

Lai lion cub
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:08 pm

Great set of photos Lai.

I particularly like the crowned hornbills with their lunch and the reticulated giraffe with Mount Kenya in the background. I think it is easily as distinctive as Kilimanjaro but it never seems to get the recognition.

As you say Jackson's Hartebeest are difficult to get close to to photograph. Surprisingly there is a small herd of them at Mara North, on Lion Hill quite close to camp which seem to exist quite happily with the Offbeat Pride!!

Everything looks very dry compared to when I was at the Mara, obviously Laikipia didn't get the rains that the Mara did.

SM
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:24 pm

Thanks Safariman. I Agree I particularly love Mount Kenya and being able to see it, so hence it features in a lot of my photos.  I have no idea while it doesn't get the recognition.  Glad that Mara North still has the Hartebeest despite the Offbeat pride!  The rains failed so yes it was very dry and even worse up at Sarara - more on that later.

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:08 am

From Ol Pejeta we moved to Ekorian's Mugie.  The Mugie Sanctuary is a 22,000 acre wildlife haven and home to many endangered species. The camp has only been there a couple of years, and it's protected by a wall as the family have two young children and 2 dogs.

They have 40 lions which is probably the most the conservancy can cope with, some of them are collared so it's interesting to see where they go and of course makes it relatively easy to find them.



These two lionesses have 6 cubs aged about 2-3 months.








The grass is so long you can hardly seen the cubs  Very Happy


Some distance away another group of lions with one male and 4 lionesses were sleeping under the bushes when this one gets up


Stalking - each female came out and the male eventually followed but nothing came of the stalk
















The light was fading rapidly so my ISO was way down and the photos aren't brilliant quality but they were wonderful to watch and I have some video clips as well (later I think as I haven't done those yet)!

Lai lion cub
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Safariman on Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:50 pm

Lovely set of photos Lai.

I must confess that I have never heard of the Mugie Sanctuary! 40 lions seems an awful lot for a small area, are they able to roam outside the sanctuary or is it fenced? Having collars does make it slightly easier to follow them but the terrain looks very challenging with plenty of bush for them to disappear into. I know some people seem to think that collars detract from the "wildlife experience" but in certain areas it is essential to be able to track them to ensure their wellbeing. It's always fun to watch the small cubs; if they are not feeding or sleeping they are playing which helps them in later life.
Look forward to seeing the videos when you have had a chance to edit them. My own video editing are is slowing down a bit as I try to get used to the slightly different software on my new computer.

Thanks for sharing.

SM
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:36 pm

Thanks Safariman.  I don't think it is fenced but presumably the collaring of some makes it easy to establish if they are getting too close to villages and livestock.  I have never seen collared lion before and this was a new experience but for the sake of keeping lions safe I am all for it.  I agree the cubs are always up to something and are a delight to watch.

Glad your new computer is up and running and good luck with the editing Very Happy I am not used to doing videos so may be a while Laughing

Oh and I meant to say Mugie itself is 46,000 acres with 22,000 being set aside for the sanctuary so as an area it is quite large - I am hopeless on geography but it's north of the equator and if you drove from Nairobi would take 6 hours. Not very helpful I admit!!!

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Doogs on Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:58 pm

Oooooh lunchtime nearly over and I have to look at these in more detail . . . I shall return ! Wink
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  whitestarling on Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:31 am

WOW Lai lovely photos of all those Cubs, it must have been lovely to see them scrambling round the trees they really do look so cute. I don't mind seeing collared Lions as long as it keeps them safe, and, or helps with research.I would have thought with that many Lions in such a small are for that number there must be a way in and out or there wouldn't be enough prey animals in the area to feed them all. Doesn't matter about the light Lai the photos look as they are supposed to natural, and I am really getting spoiled for screen savers, I've just done one of SMs so I'll have to save some of yours.
Thanks for sharing them, and looking forward to the vids when you have time

WS

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:28 pm

Thanks WS glad you enjoyed them. There's something about lion cubs, they really are just so adorable looking and always so full of mischief.

i'll try and do some clips this weekend cheers

Lai
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:43 pm

A couple of short clips before the light faded of the 6 lion cubs at Mugie.





Lai lion cub
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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  whitestarling on Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:19 am

http://i73.servimg.c Brilliant Lai thanks you've really made my day Very Happy just deciding if I should show Mrs S, cos I know what she'll say lol! They really are so cute at that age

WS

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:09 am

Thanks WS. I know they are simply gorgeous and I wished we could have spent hours with them but the sundowners were calling us drunken

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Re: Northern Kenya safari - January 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:34 pm

Lovely clips of the cubs Lai, they are great to watch. You will have to remember to have your sundowner in the vehicle and then you can continue to watch the cubs!! It's what I do if I am at a sighting I don't want to leave and the prospect of a gin and tonic is imminent.

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