Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Samburu and Maasai Mara

A hunting lioness scans a herd of Buffalo. We were privileged to watch a dramatis, albeit unsuccessful hunt with only two other vehicles present.  
Here are some images from a trip  with a lovely English family to the north of Kenya where we spent time in private concessions adjacent to Samburu and then in the very impressive Mara North concession adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. These concessions are a firm favorite of mine at the moment as it is incredibly well managed and the quality of sighting are of the best in Africa.  It also allows the freedom to do walks, sleep outs and activities such as fishing. In addition to seeing all the large animals we were also privileged to spend quality times with herds of elephant just enjoying their majesty.  IN the Mara we had really high quality sightings including finding and spending a time with a pride of lions 24 strong. Being in a private concession we were also able to follow the big cats after dark, a time when they become active. There are few experiences as exhilarating as being surrounded by two dozen lions of which the majority cannot be seen and for all intents and purposes may well be looking at you from their dark realm with questionable intentions!

Many people think photographic safaris is just about sitting in a vehicle and taking pictures. Yet we often get out and explore the areas on foot. Here a Samburu askari accompanies us on an afternoon walk to our sundowner spot.

An inquisitive Guenther's Dik dik allows close approach at Sasaab lodge.
Leaving the comforts of the lodge we opted for a night under the stars and on equal footing to animals who can easily turn us into a meal :)

But nothing beats waking in the wilderness!!

one of our constant dinner companions, a Large spotted Genet!

Aptly described Superb Starling in Samburu National Reserve

We visited an out of the way (and non-touristy!) Samburu village.

All the younger men had to leave the area temporarily as they had to take their herds to better grazing leaving only old men and woman in the village. The spear at the door means a man is home.

And the Genets kept coming. This one joined us for dinner at Serian Camp in the Maasai Mara.

Excerpts from my Guest book:

Thank you for helping to make our trip so memorable. You have dealt with our endless questions (and general nonsense) with great patience and humour, sharing some of your vast knowledge along the way. I can only hope that when you look back on the last ten days guiding our family, you realize you’ve learnt just a little bit more about handling wild animals, particularly when in groups of 6 with their young in tow. Do look us up if you’re in London anytime – you’re going to need another healthy dose of sarcasm before too long. Thanks so much again. L - London

Dear Albie. Thank you very much for being a very good guide. My favorite thing was the leopard we saw on the last night, Best Wishes. JT – (8)  

We had so much fun with you. How do you spot all those animals? My favorite things were the lion cubs, because they are adorable, cheetahs and the leopard.  You are an awesome photographer even though the animals get away most of the time, befoe you manage to bring your camera J All my thanks, JT, - (10)

Albie It has been a great pleasure. I’d been thinking that the Leopard was the highlight until we saw that mouse. Twinkling through the headlamps, with a sound like tiny bells – quite the cutest safari experience ever. Bring the Family to visit Tokyo – Experience some proper concrete. Best wishes and many thanks, AT – Tokyo.

Thank you very much for the best last 10 days. We learned so many things about the animals and we had a great time. Thank you so much. ET – Tokyo

Dear Albie

Others in my family have written about your outstanding qualities as a guide, which have added hugely to the great pleasure we have aall had from our holiday in Kenya, but I would like especially to compliment you on the serenity. Resilience and patience with which you have faced your barrage of questions, attempted witticisms, slightly salacious double meanings, insubordination and general misbehavior. You are very experienced but I do believe that we added considerably to your capacity to cope with family mayhem, and that another time you will be able to manage to manage with less support from my long suffering daughter. Congratulations and THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED. VT - London

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