Masai Mara - Entim & Olonana

Reply

Jun 16th, 2012, 06:51 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Masai Mara - Entim & Olonana

I was in the Mara & in the Triangle last month. What a great 12 days it was:
the Mara so green, the elephants and the plains' game, so happy with that juicy green grass to taste. Almost exclusive use of the Mara, never more than 5 vehicles on a sighting, almost exclusive use of a camp, 8 days being the only guest and as a consequence exclusive use of a car during 10 days without paying for it, only 4 days with heavy showers at the end of the afternoon and only 1 while still on game drive. And last but not least, no dust and a great light. If you do not absolutely want to see the Migration and its train of kills, going there off-season and elsewhere besides, only has a lot of advantages (low prices, much less people, better light,....) and very few inconveniences (weather????)
it seems that going off road, at that time of the year, is tolerated in the Mara, because of the very low density of vehicles but also because the roads are so muddy and heavily damaged by the ballooning tractors. I did not see a single ranger during 7 days. In the Triangle it's very different, they are very strict with the rules. I saw patrols 2 to 3 times/day.

The first camp, Entim (forest in the masai language) is an old fashion camp without useless luxuriousness, completely hidden in a forest. The food is good and the staff is very nice. My guide, Henry, a Masai is good. I was very surprised by the improvement of the guiding level in Kenya. Being in the park is a great advantage, no waste of time, I was out a 6.30.

The second camp, Olonana is more like a boutique-hotel(camp??), a bit more expensive, located at 30 minutes from Ololo gate. The food is excellent and the staff very professional. My guide, Bonny is also good, perhaps a bit better than the previous one.

During the first 7 days at Entim, I saw :
- The "Rekero" pride (3 females, 4 subadults male and 4 cubs), almost everyday,
- The "Longaï" pride (6 females & 2 cubs), several times,
- The film star Notch (with the Longaï pride) or Kali,
- The 3 Notch boys, the first day with the Rekero pride, then I saw them on a buffalo kill with a female near Talek, where they had killed a another male some weeks ago,
- 2 nomadic young lions,
- An old male leopard,
- A very relax young female leopard, 3 times, at Rekero Camp level, but on the opposite side of the river,
- 2 female cheetahs, one near Talek and the other 2 times, one time on a female impale kill,
- A black rhino, some elephants and hippos, a lot of giraffes, some buffaloes, waterbucks, the usual plains' game (al lot of topis, some kongonis), dik diks, many banded mongooses, a lot of hyenas, olive baboons and ostriches.

There was 2 interesting situations, at least for me;
- One day, from a distance, in the afternoon, we saw all the animals, running away in all directions, cheetahs without any doubt. When we arrived on the sighting, a hyena had already taken the prey, a baby Thompson and was very busy devouring it. The cheetah was the one I saw on the impala kill. She was eager to make a kill, perhaps having some cubs somewhere. She jumped on a first car and then on a second one. Finally, she jumped on my car, it was almost like touching the wild. I made a lot of shots at 70 mm with my 70-300 zoom. I really regretted not to have my wide angle but do you really expect to be with the animals almost eye to eye???? She only moved away when we had to go. During all this time, she did not have a single look at me, so focused she was on the surrounding plains, what a great experience!!!!!
- The second interesting situation occurred one early morning when we were with the Rekero pride. One of the 2 cubs of the Longaï pride, lost by his pride approached the Rekero pride. He looked very frightened. When they noticed his presence, the 11 lions congregated around him, he was terrified. Fortunately, they accepted him and invited him to go with them when they moved. The next day, when I saw the Longaï pride, he was with them again but one of the female had a fresh cut on her back. Perhaps she went to fetch the cub and had some problems getting him back?

During the next 5 days in the Triangle I saw:
- The "Out of Africa" pride (1 male, 5 females & 9 cubs), a second male was seen alone further in the park,
- 1 female cheetah, on a kill and one early morning along the road to the gate not far from the masaï manyatta,
- 3 leopards together on the same tree (an unusual sighting), one of the 3 had been seen the day before,
- 1 single lioness eager to make a kill, perhaps having some cubs somewhere,
- A black rhino with a young one, same species as in the Mara but more elephants and buffaloes, more waterbucks, zebras this time and elands.
I did not see any wildebeest at all during those 12 days.
I saw on both sides many birds like the widow birds and the whyddahs with their breeding adorning and in the Triangle some birds of prey, amongst them, the unusual sighting of an African harrier-hawk or gymnogene, and more water birds.

The pictures are at the following address ;

http://www.africaddict.com/site/inde...id=30&catid=41
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2012, 05:34 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Two very interesting tales. I once had a cheetah face brush my own lips as it tried to scale the side of the vehicle.

It appears the Rekero pride wanted to adopt. Wonder how he got back to his original pride. The fresh wound on the lioness adds to the mystery.

Looking forward to the photos.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2012, 07:49 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
Gorgeous cheetah shots! They take your breath away!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2012, 08:05 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 153
Beautiful photographs! The green background indeed makes a difference. Enjoyed all your animals, big and small. Thanks.
sangeeta is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2012, 03:20 AM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Thank you to those who took a bit of their time to read the report and looked at the pictures and also to those who made cheering comments
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2012, 04:21 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
Enjoyed both the report and the photos, thanks for taking the time.
twaffle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2012, 07:53 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 91
Nice recap of your trip. The photos are stunning and I especially enjoyed the leopard shots. Where the photos of the lions in the tree taken in the Triangle? I was there last September and was told the lions had just started doing that. Thank you for sharing.
DanaPhx is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2012, 08:46 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Thank you DanaPhx,
Those lions are from the Rekero pride and the photos were not taken in the Triangle.
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 19th, 2012, 04:12 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Not only do you have the tale of the cheetah on the vehicle, but the pictures to prove it! Great shots and lots of variety. Tree climbing lions in the Mara is a real treat. So much cat action!

If I recall you previously visited the Serengeti at about the same time as this trip. If memory serves me correctly, the variety and abundance in May was more in the Mara than Central/Western Serengeti. Do I have that right and do you care to comment on the difference between the May trips?

Thanks for the report and photos!
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2012, 02:57 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 34
Great report and photos Walrus -

I've compared the facial pattern of the leopard you had a lot of pics of, and it turns out to be Bahati - who is the daughter of Oilve the Big Cat Diary Star. I'm assuming you saw her across Rekero a lot. We saw her there a few times in May.

The cheetah who climbed on your roof is called Malaika. My guide emailed me photos of her yesterday. She has two small cubs. Did you see the cubs?
DShah is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2012, 01:04 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Thank you Lynn, for your comments.
Yes, I was at the same time last year and the year before in the Serengeti and I am more than happy to comment on the differences between those trips.
Certainly, not taking into consideration gnus and zebras, in 2010, the variety and abundance in May, was more in the Mara than Central/Western Serengeti. Indeed I saw less lions, no leopard at all, and only a glimpse of a cheetah far away on the plains; in 2011, perhaps as much lions and good sightings of leopards and cheetahs. If you remember, I also spent 3 days in the Matiti, south of the Serengeti, where the abundance and variety of species was great. But you, perhaps more than others, know that is not the reflect of an evidence: everything is so unpredictable in the bush that what is true now, might be untrue 5 minutes after, and that opinions and testimonies cannot guarantee the future but only give a general view of places, and probabilities.
Concerning lions climbing on trees, I think that it’s not so uncommon in East Africa, where the species are more suitable (thick low branches) for them than in Southern Africa. This year the single lioness, I saw in the Triangle, was on a tree. I already saw lions on trees in the Serengeti, Ruaha and Manyara of course.

DShah,
Thank you for the additional information on the leopard and the cheetah. Yes, I saw the leopard across Rekero. Where you there in May this year? I was there between May, 13 and May, 20. No, I did not see the cheetah’s cubs.
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 28th, 2012, 03:16 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 290
Great report walrus. I do agree with you that the Mara is awesome in the off season.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 28th, 2012, 09:12 AM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Thank you, roadwarrior.
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 4th, 2012, 03:42 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for the replies Walrus. Every observation needs that disclaimer "past performance is not indicative of future results."

There's always something interesting to see, though, and photograph!

Happy travels to you Walrus! Maybe I'll see you in Barranco Alto.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 5th, 2012, 07:57 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,463
Great report, Walrus! I was in the Mara last week and believe I saw the same cheetah you did. And she jumped up on our roof on two different days. Very exciting.

You were very lucky with the leopards. We didn't see any until our last evening and saw the same two again the last morning. It was a mom and 5 mth old cub. One was named Acacia, I think.

You were also lucky with the rhino!

DShah, we saw the 2 cheetah cubs. I'll process the photos and post them here. Maybe you can confirm it's the same cheetah. We spent 6 hours with her one day (without cubs) and she had her cubs the other days we saw her.
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 5th, 2012, 08:30 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,463
Great pictures, too, Walrus!
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 5th, 2012, 11:39 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 102
Lynn, I like that pertinent idea of the disclaimer.
If you go to Barranco Alto in the second part of October, you'll see me.

Thank you, Sundowner
It might be the same cheetah indeed. Dshah will surely confirm you this point soon.
walrus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 13th, 2012, 05:43 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 34
Sundowner - please post the photos. I'm fairly sure it's Malaika as she is the only cheetah in the Mara right now that jumps on cars. Latest news from the Mara is that she still has her two cubs but has likely moved North into the Olare Orok Conservancy. My friends who are out there saw her yesterday morning.
DShah is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 15th, 2012, 07:14 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,463
DShah, I've started a trip report with a link to pics here http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ion-porini.cfm
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 16th, 2012, 04:44 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Really nice photos! Lots of big cats - and how lucky to have a cheetah on your land rover! I especially liked when she is just laying on top of the vehicle having a rest. I guess she controlled the safari at that point eh?
Cateyes555 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:26 AM.