- The Amazing Ololo Safari Lodge
- Nairobi National Park – a treasure on the edge of the city
- Sheldrick Nursery & the Giraffe Centre
- A first glimpse of the amazing Masai Mara
- A very full day in the Mara
- A day in (and above) the Mara Triangle
- Helicopter Day
- Big cats and the Masai village of Andasikr
- Saying khwaheri to the Mara and habari to Samburu
- A very special day in Samburu
- A photoshoot with Samburu warriors
As the sun rose on our last full day in the Mara we couldn’t help but wonder what we could possibly see that would top the last 3 days. Once again, the Mara did not disappoint. From the ostrich silhouetted against the rising sun, to the lions, leopards and cheetah, the parade of cuteness, to the heavy afternoon rains that made way for the most spectacular sunset, it was another wonderful day. For me the highlight would be our visit to the Masai village of Andasikr.
As we made our way towards Andasikr we came across some lions from the Tananga pride.
Kaka was staying pretty close to the younger female (she’s around 6 years old) while her sister watched over from a distance. The guides figured that she was about ready to breed and he wasn’t going to let her get away.
The older sister looked like she’d fought some hard battles.
It was early morning and the soft light on them was amazing!
One of my favourite shots – a sunrise silhouette of Kaka.
When we arrived at Andasikr, the chief came out to greet us. Soon the entire village paraded out and formed a line, with the men to our left and the women to our right. In the bottom left you can see the chief getting them all into position…
Then they welcomed us into their boma (community enclosure)..
Once inside, there was more singing & dancing…
And then, the Masai adumu (or jumping dance). This is a ceremonial dance performed during the Eunoto ceremony, when the junior warriors become senior warriors. At this point these young men are eligible to be married and the adumu is their way to show their skill and strength to potential brides. They take turns jumping while the others chant melodically, it’s mesmerizing and they make it look so easy!
Then they showed us how they make fire, using a piece of wood, a reed and some elephant dung…
Then were taken inside a Masai hut to see how they live. The huts are made of readily available materials, mostly mud and cow dung, and are very small and dark.
Big smiles from the Masai children…
After the village visit (and breakfast) our mission was to try and find a leopard, since that was the only local big cat we hadn’t seen yet.
Success! This little one (about 4 months old) was up in the tree with the kill, while his (or her) mom Loria slept on the ground near by.
The little one wanted to come down out of the tree but was a little nervous about it…
In the end, he ended up coming down backwards…
Mom and babies were barely visible in the thicket, so when word came over the radio (it was finally working again) that there was a large male leopard up in a tree not too far away we were ready to move on.
Arnold (our guide) didn’t know this leopard’s name, so I called him John Doe. He’s about 8 years old.
From a different angle…
This is what you see without a long lens…
I love the eyes on leopards
A crowd of vehicles was gathering and it was time for lunch, so we moved on. The early afternoon was fairly quiet, some zebras, hyenas sleeping in puddles…
Then we came across a researcher who was tracking 2 of the “fast five” cheetah coalition. We watched them for a while, seemingly just hanging out, and then…
It was a true pleasure to be able to witness the world’s fastest land mammal in a full run. Cheetah have been clocked running at speeds of 109 km/h (68 mph) and 120 km/h (75 mph). Think of it this way – you’re driving down the highway, doing the speed limit, and a cheetah goes running past you!
That moment when you realise it’s not good…
It was interesting because only 1 of the 2 chased the wildebeest, but then the 2nd came over and held the unlucky wildebeest by the throat while the 1st began to eat.
We were very fortunate to have witnessed the power and speed of these amazing cats up close.
On our way back to camp, we stopped to photography a large herd of wildebeest casually on the move.
Then, out of nowhere, a female lion came out of the ditch and chaos ensued. Unfortunately for her, she was unsuccessful. This is typically the case, especially when hunting alone in daylight.
It all happened so fast, I missed it entirely!
Just across the creek, we found the rest of her pride (the Lenkuyai pride). The females had a kill hidden in the thicket and were bringing the cubs back to that spot for the night. It was a parade of cuteness, with the little ones wanting to play rather than follow mom and the aunts.
Beautiful light on this young lioness.
Then one of the ladies left the thicket and was calling out. The guide felt that she was looking for a cub that got left behind.
We followed her for a while, she was calling and getting more and more frantic. It was heartbreaking. She never did find the cub that we saw, hopefully she did after we were gone.
The beautiful light was gone and the rain had started. That didn’t stop us from getting a few more photos. This is Baranotti, one of the older lions in the Mara.
And this is his brother Orparpeet. He’d been injured not long before this, so the guides were worried that he was vulnerable and might not survive.
By now it was raining pretty hard and Orparpeet was no longer having a good hair day…
For our last evening the Mara Bush Camp team had arranged for us to have a sundowner before heading back to camp. Unfortunately, the heavy rain made that impossible. With all the flaps down in the vehicle we headed back to camp. Then, as quickly as it started, the rain stopped and so did we – to photograph our last Mara sunset…
Another day ends in spectacular fashion as we look forward to the next day – a short morning game drive, breakfast at camp and then a short flight north to our next destination – Samburu.