GREAT ADVENTURE IN KENYA NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES
See the below stories from each of these amazing national parks and contact us directly to customize your perfect tour!
MASAI MARA NATIONAL PARK
There was often not much need to go out of camp to see the animals this month… the ever-present elephants were even more permanently stationed at their posts in camp.But it wasn’t just elephants that made an appearance this month… around 11am in morning, a lioness sauntered nonchalantly through camp, ignoring the bug-eyed guests and staff standing 10metres away in the car park, and then proceeded to hunt the impalas and baboons that had decided the camp was a safe place to hang out. Being broad daylight, the animals spotted the lioness and left the area with a little less decorum than the guests.. Not to be outdone, the lioness chased them between the tents and across the floodplain in front of camp, making sure that the remaining cars that were returning from game drive had a good chance for a few photographs. A few minutes later, during brunch, the lioness’s mate was spotted several hundred metres away in the floodplain to the west of the camp. Desperate to catch up with his lady, but not as confident about being near a busy camp in broad daylight, he took a huge detour around the area.
So apart from the elephants, lions, baboons, impalas and hippos that we saw in camp, it was still actually worth going out on drive. This month we had great cheetah and lion sightings, including the three male cheetahs feeding on an impala carcass. Lions spent some time hanging out around the airstrip and there was a lovely sight of one of the big males walking the length of the airstrip, roaring. The game drive cars vibrated with the resonance of the roar. And so did the guests, though they were perhaps shaking more than vibrating… At the end of the runway, the lion made a sensible decision, and opted to use the bridge rather than wade through rather chilly water. Clambering up on the wooden bridge, he looked ever the curious cat as he patted the poles on the side of the bridge, perhaps to be assured of their strength.
Amongst the last car to return back from drive one evening, some guests were listing the things that they had seen out on drive: elephants, giraffe, zebra, jackal, kudu, hippos, and so on. Mentioning, as an afterthought the last animals they had seen on the way back, 11 dogs of some kind. Thinking this was a ‘lost in translation’ moment we waited for the guide to check if they actually meant hyenas. But no, wild dogs it was. As the dogs are active during the day, we cannot view them at night with the spotlight without risking affecting their night vision, so on bumping into the dogs on the way home from a night drive, the guide had left them be and moved on. But the next morning everyone was keen to try and locate them again for a proper look. It took a lot of tracking, but they were located again in the Splash area, and over the next two days were seen several times hunting and feeding on impala..
JUNE is the month that the flood waters of last year have receded as much as possible, This encourages herds of elephants, zebras, giraffe and other animals to move to the water’s edge. Natural rainwater pools are drying up, and turning green. Single male buffalo that like wallowing in any available mud; also move into the area, attracting lions and other predators.
The 9th was a special day for guides and guests, as a morning drive witnessed an extremely rarely seen event: the birth of a baby elephant. A breeding herd of elephants were seen close to the road, surrounding another female for protection, and kicking sand over an area on the ground. After waiting for half an hour, watching this unusual behavior, we were lucky enough to witness the birth. Soon, the little baby was on his feet, after some encouragement from mum, and was throwing his tiny trunk around not sure what to make of it! Elephants take some months to learn how to use their trunks, and allow the muscles to develop and strengthen. Until then, it is often just something to trip over!
We also saw some interesting lion sightings this month: four lionesses that spent most of a day relaxing on top of the termite mound, before moving off into the night and killing a wildebeest not far from the camp. The next day, we spotted a male lion moving off from another kill. Twelve hyenas quickly moved into the take over the spoils, but chaos ensued with the arrival of vultures, both species insistent on having their own piece of the carcass. The day after that, a shy lioness was seen disappearing into the bush with another male, and two cubs, about 9 months old. She was seen again later in the month with two males, this time much more relaxed.
One morning drive guests pointed out a very shiny animal… On closer inspection, this turned out to be two warthogs that had just had a wonderful mudbath, and were now relaxing in the sun waiting for the mud to dry. The sun shining on the wet mud, and had made the warthogs looks like they had on a reflective carapace!
The three brother cheetahs were seen in the area this month, and we spent some time following them. Completely relaxed with us around, they continue their days unimpeded by the click of camera shutters. We were lucky enough to see them hunt a young zebra, and bring it down working as a team.
The hyena den is proving a popular night time stop, as the mother diligently raises her two young ever-curious cubs. It’s still quite unusual to have just one female on her own, but since hyenas can spend long periods of time away from their clans, it may be that we have just not been at the right time to see any other members at the den.
The buffalo herds are back in force – and large numbers! We have also had excellent sightings of roan, sable, eland, zebras, tssesebes and a lot of other general game. Unusual sightings in camp have been a porcupine, snuffling around the staff village, and a chameleon spotted close to the main area. These fascinating creatures are not well-liked in many African cultures, due to their ability to change colour, but many guides overcome the childhood stories, and are eager to show guests its many hidden talents!
TSAVO WEST AND EAST NATIONAL PARK
Although most of the zebra have moved on from the park in search of fresher grass, the ones that remain are more than sufficient for the predators around. The cheetahs – the mother with the two young – are being seen most days, and although an adult zebra is too big a prey for her, they are just the right size for the lions that are ever-present in the area.
With no rain in JUNE - a normal year would generally see at least one or two showers in this month – the animals are congregating at the artificial water holes to quench their thirst. For most animals, this is a risky business, as there is invariably a predator wanting to quench their thirst – and possibly their hunger – at the same location. It’s a matter of timing. The bossy elephants will shove everyone out of the way – including the lions, which they will ‘shove’ with even greater enthusiasm – and siphon up gallons at a time. If the antelope and zebra can sneak in to drink at the side whilst the elephants are still there, it might be the slightly safer option!
MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
Another unusual sighting was of two adult wild dogs with three young. They were, trying to hunt.–it is dependent on the amount of game and water availability – so the chances of seeing them is quite rare. We also had a few nice sightings of leopards this month
Without the sounds of city life around, guests generally expect to get a good nights sleep when they are in the bush. But that can be a little hard when there are resident lions in the area, keen to keep a hold of their territory. Anytime an animal has to fight to defend its territory, there is a risk of the animal being injured. The easiest way to avoid a fight then, is to make sure the other animals know that you are there and you are prepared to defend your territory. If you are a lion, the best way of announcing this is to roar. Loudly. A lot. It’s a beautiful, beautiful sound, but not one really conducive to a good night’s sleep. Luckily, they won’t do it every night, all night. But perhaps that’s is why an afternoon siesta is so important?
MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
Lions seem to be quite settled after their short disappearance towards the end of last month. Seen most days, they look in good condition, but the guides have been unable to find them on a kill, bout the equivalent of eating a small cupcake if divided amongst 10 lions,). They must be killing and eating during the night, leaving nothing left to be found in the day. Giraffes have been seen in abundance this month – with groupings of up to twenty – moving across the plains from pan to pan. It’s always a delight to see these elegant animals, but in a day