mara in december for cats

Old Nov 24th, 2007, 10:44 PM
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mara in december for cats

HI, plan to travel in december 2008 and have decided to spend around a week in the mara.

Main aim is to see all the cats, in which areas of the mara, all the cats can be found in high concentration or highest concentration, how would the sightings of cats be in december, and which camps and lodges, have the best tracker/guide(pls suggest names based on personal experience) for sighting cats.... Any suggestions would be welcome,

Moni
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 04:31 AM
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Moni!
Are you back from your November trip? You’ll have to tell everything about it before we start thinking about where you’ll find the most cats in the Mara in December next year.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Hi nyamera,

Guess what??? I got my accomodation in order but failed to get the flight bookings(never realised they would be a problem) was too embrassed to post, this time I am planning in advance, and rather than concentrating on the migration would rather watch cats with less tourist vehicles around

Moni
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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Moni, we are going in January and had a similar Q for the outfitter (we are hoping to photograph cats hunting), who recommended 3 nights Kichwa Tembo and 5 nights Mara Intrepids. He said there was a variety of habitats around these lodges.

Bill
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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Moni,

We were in the Mara last Christmas. We saw many lions around the Intrepids area and many cheetah around the Serena area. Leopards were more difficult due to the rivers being full. At Christmas 2004 we had good sitings of leopards around Intrepids but last year only saw Bella up a tree. She had various carcasses with her that she seemed to be adding to.

We have a private vehicle so I can't recommend guides, but in my opinion you don't need any particular gifts to find cats in the Mara!

If you want to stay further north in the 'Greater Mara Area' there are usually good sitings of lions and cheetah near Kicheche Mara. We stayed at Mara Safari Camp in Dec 2004 but a vehicle from Kicheche was often there before us in the morning - and we go out very early - so I think that Camp was better placed.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Moni,
No flights! How extremely irritating! And now you’ll have to wait a whole year before next trip!

Cats wont be a problem in the Mara. “Less tourist vehicles around” is more of a problem. Avoid the eastern parts of the reserve.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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Sorry, in my post of 10.58 correct to Mara Safari CLUB.

(Also, 'sightings' not 'sitings'!)
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Hello,

Wingi it seems that you have spent quite alot of time in the mara around christmas,

Did u hire a private vehicle from intreprids ?? OR you had your safari company provide u with a vehicle OR you had your own personal vehicle.. Was the heavy rains(due to inaccessible roads and taller grass) in the mara last year a hinderance to your sightings of cats because

Last year in 2006,EBEN was at the mara at different camps and lodges at the similar time and his vehicle got stuck plenty of times and he had to take longer routes to visit close by areas, also he failed to see cats at certain locations.

Also how did you manage to have a vehicle from kicheche, while staying at the mara safari club

Please share your insights and info. Is your trip report tucked away somewhere, would like to read it.

Bill, are you booked for this january, and will u be staying at the intreprids and kichwa tembo, have you been during the wet season to mara(nov/dec,april/may)and have the above reasons mentioned to Wingi been a problem at sightings, should I also go after december in jan/feb

Nyamera, what is your opinion on visiting in the wet season, or should I change to jan/feb. It will be difficult to go this year, so I have my sights set for next year


All please chip in with your opinions

Moni

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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Hello

Does any one on the forum have detailed info about the lion prides, cheetah families and leopards(size by numbers and male/female/cub ratio) in areas other than the one's publicised by the big cat diary

would be really interested
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Moni, I'll try to answer your questions - not much time tho' as dinner is in oven!

We hire a vehicle and driver/guide (from Sunworld Safaris). I usually decide itinerary and they make bookings for us.

The rain/mud/floods in the Mara did make some things difficult. The usual crossings of the Talek River from Intrepids were not possible, but we were still able to cross at Talek Gate (long detour tho') and come back over foot bridge for lunch. We didn't get stuck but we rescued quite a few people!

The only cat sighting badly affected were leopards as I mentioned before. We saw about the same number of lions as in 2004 and more cheetah. We actually saw many more babies of both than previously.

Re Kicheche - we were in our own vehicle coming from Mara Safari Club - the Kicheche vehicle was getting to the rocks that the lions were regularly seen on before us, so I think that Kicheche Camp must have been nearer.

The Intrepids website (Heritage) has maps of the cat areas that it updates, but I guess these are the Big Cat Diary cats.

Must eat dinner!

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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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Hi, wingi sorry to interrupt your dinner but look forward to your comments in future

BON APPETITE

Moni
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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<b>Bill, are you booked for this january, and will u be staying at the intreprids and kichwa tembo</b>

Yes, we will be in the Mara for 8 days in January 2008 (and four more days at lakes Baringo and Nakuru)

<b> have you been during the wet season to mara(nov/dec,april/may)</b>

No, we have been going to Tanzania in January (06, 07) and once in April during the rainy season ... http://www.hiltonphotography.net/afr...ania/index.htm ... rainy season has some advantages (fewer people, lower prices, more birds) but some big disadvantages (more bugs, bad light for photography, possible lack of access to some areas). Still we are thinking of going again next April, dummies that we are

<b>and have the above reasons mentioned to Wingi been a problem at sightings</b>

Dec 2006 was exceptionally wet and everyone had problems with access in Kenya and Tanzania ... in Tanzania the rains stopped a couple weeks before we arrived in mid-January 2007 but roads were still bad in Ngorongoro crater, and it rained a lot just after we left (100 jeeps were stranded at a low water crossing for hours, for example), so we were just extremely lucky in our timing. But catching it after the rains was great because conditions were near-ideal. We had 170 lion sightings, 20 cheetahs and a mouse-catching serval, for example.

<b>should I also go after december in jan/feb</b>

Better odds of less rain (and in Tanzania the wildebeests should be on the short grass plains), but in truth it seems like it's always a bit of a gamble with Africa weather ... Dec 2005 was very dry for example, and areas we visited in January 2007 that were beautifully green were dust bowls the same month in 2006.

Bill
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Thanks Bill for all the info,keep us updated regarding your visit

Moni
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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Helloooo everybody, comments wanted,

Bill had a look at your website, really wonderful pictures and description of your journey

Thanks

Moni
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Bill, you must have had a pocket when it didn't rain last January, as I was there in late January and into the middle of February. Heck, it rained almost every single day. Just crazy nuts. Call me a weirdo, but I absolutely love the rain for photography. All of your colors are accentuated, the lighting is usually more dramatic, the skies get dark with good light in the foreground, etc. It rarely rains everywhere at once, so the rains are more like water pockets for 20 minutes. Just wait and it will pass over. Good stuff!
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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hello andy,

would like to know which camps/lodges you recommend for sighting cats

Moni
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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<b>Bill, you must have had a pocket when it didn't rain last January, as I was there in late January and into the middle of February. Heck, it rained almost every single day</b>

January 16 - 29 ... very lucky since shortly before we arrived people were stranded all over the Serengeti and even worse in the Mara, and within days after we left it got very wet a second time ... we only had to put the roof up once for 20 minutes in 12 days

<b>I absolutely love the rain for photography. All of your colors are accentuated, the lighting is usually more dramatic, the skies get dark with good light in the foreground</b>

I like it when the rains are quick and come and go, followed by clearing skies but I hate it when conditions are like our April trip, when the skies were leaden with dark clouds almost every morning, until finally burning off around 10 AM or so.

I notice you don't have any photo tours scheduled during the 'long rains' of April and early May

Bill
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Moni -

There's no guarantee where the cats or other game will be. But for those - lions - who haven't followed the wildies back to the Serengeti, I'd suggest camps/lodges in/around the Triangle area. From the Mara River west, not far from the Musaira Swamps.

These can be the Governor's Camps (3), Kichwa Tembo, Bateleur, Olonana, Serian, Intrepid's, Explorer, Rekero, Naibor, Porini Lion. All are at different price points.

Depending on when in December, do check, as some of the camps might be closed (Rekero or Naibor) to mid-Dec (from beginning Nov thru) for the short rains.
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Hi Sandi, thanks for the info,

How would u rate elephant and pepper,richards,saruni,mara safari club,kilima,afex,siringet,olare and all the other camps you mentioned during december,jan through march(been looking at eben's website) as the loita herds would be in northern conservancy of the mara.

Also would hate to be stuck in the rain so would february be a better time for visiting the mara

Moni
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 04:13 AM
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Last year was a fluke with rain, rain and more rain. It's rare to have rain in Jan-Mar and hopefully 2008 will be back to being dry.

&gt;&gt;elephant pepper,richards,saruni,mara safari club,kilima,afex,siringet,olare&lt;&lt;

Not familiar with all, but am with Elephant Pepper, Richard's, Saruni, Mara Safari Club. Saruni is a favorite, but Richard's and Elephant Pepper are also lovely and right up there. All are small intimate camps with great guides and support staff, delicious meals. Mara Safari Club, though recently refurbished, it a much larger camp. Ol Seki is another good small camp to consider.

In all cases, if the wildies are dropping their calves at Loilda, your game drives will take you here.

You do your best in making decision as to where you'll see what you hope, that the predators will be... then cross your fingers.
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