KENYA: Maasai Mara Photo Safari June 2017

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While not exactly a hunting report, since no hunting is allowed in Kenya, I wanted to share some photos and words about my recent trip to Masai Mara, Kenya. Call it a scouting trip for a future Tanz hunt.

My wife is a non-hunter and has accompanied me on a hunt to Namibia a few years ago. She really enjoys the photo safaris we've done to places like Chobe and Vic Falls. This year, we decided to visit a couple of friends in Nairobi and do a photo safari in Maasai Mara, Kenya. Since we live in Lagos, Nigeria, this was a short (5 hr) flight and made for a relatively inexpensive week long vacation. What a GREAT experience!

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First, a bit of background and geography: The Maasai people are an African tribe that occupies this part of Africa and are cattle herdsman. Mara means spotted land in their language. The land is wide open savannah with occaissional trees, which look like spots. Maasai Mara National Reserve is 580 square miles and is connected with the much larger Serengeti National Park (5,700 sq miles) in Tanzanaia. Together, this is the area of Africa where the "Great Migration" takes place. Over a million wildebeest, plus zebra, gazelles, eland and impala participate in the migration, which is driven by grazing and water availability. Given all this "food", the lions, leopards, cheetahs and crocs all line up.

When talking with our Cape Town based travel agent at Go2Africa.com (http://www.go2africa.com/), we learned the "Great Migration" also means the tourist too. So if you want to see a million wildebeest, be prepared to share it with lots of tourists. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and save a chunk a money, do what we did. Going to Maasai Mara in June is about a month ahead of the migration. We were booked into a &beyond (https://www.andbeyond.com/) tent camp called Kichwa Tembo (https://www.andbeyond.com/our-lodge...onal-park/andbeyond-kichwa-tembo-tented-camp/). Since the timing was pre-migration, I'd guess the camp was only about 1/4 occupied. Very quiet and relaxing, just what we wanted. This "tent camp" is definitely high end "Glamping!" We spent 3 nights in camp and saw all of the Big 5, plus lots more. We also saw a cheetah make a kill on a Thompson Gazelle. The cool temperatures and low humidity that came with the 5,000 ft plus elevation made it very comfortable as well.

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More photos and story to follow.
 

cpr0312

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Very cool, thanks for sharing! Look forward to more pics
 

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Looking forward to it!
 

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Nothing like a scouting excursion!
 

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Looking forward to seeing the pics. Bruce
 

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Our trip started on June 3 with a 11 am departure from Lagos on Kenya Airways (SkyTeam alliance w/ Delta). The flight made a short hop over to Cotonou, Benin and then we headed east to Nairobi. Even though it was a packed 737-800, the flight wasn't too bad.

Arriving in Narobi around 8pm (2 hrs time difference from Lagos), we cleared customs and immigration extremely quick. We had obtained our visas ahead of time, online, so that helped. Retrieved our bags and met our driver that the travel agent had arranged. It took about 20 minutes to get to our hotel, travelling over some very nice roads. My first impression of Nairobi was that its on par with Joberg as far roads and general appearance. We were booked into the Boma hotel, a fairly new and nice hotel. The term "Boma" is the equivalent to the Afrikaan term "Kraal", meaning an animal enclosure or a fort.

On June 4, we were picked up at 8am and taken to the general aviation airport for our charter flight to Maasai Mara. We were booked on SafariLink and they seemed to be a first rate operator. They had their own terminal building with seating for about 50 or so, as well as a local version of a Starbucks. Our bags were all weighed and we along with 5 other folks were boarding a Cessna Caravan. These single turboprop, fixed gear aircraft are the workhorse of the safari industry, carrying up to 12 passengers and 2 pilots. We took off, made one stop to drop off two and pick up four, then another short leg and we arrived at our destination. All told, a little over an hour. We were greeted by our Maasai guide, a very nice young lady by the name of Ann. After a welcoming cold drink, we loaded up and made the short drive to Kichwas Tempo, our tented camp for the next 3 nights. We immediately started seeing all sorts of game and knew this was going to be a cool place.

DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS

Anyone who has read Capstick's classic, "Death in the Long Grass" can relate to these scenes. Keep in mind we are riding around in a tall, photo safari type vehicle. A man on foot is at a serious disadvantage.

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Several lions sleeping in the long grass

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Black Rhino in the long grass

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Cape Buffalo in the long grass.


Lions climb trees???

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Mom and her cub in a tree with all the others sleeping to the left of tree.

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Nice Impala!

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Guy.G

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Our trip started on June 3 with a 11 am departure from Lagos on Kenya Airways (SkyTeam alliance w/ Delta). The flight made a short hop over to Cotonou, Benin and then we headed east to Nairobi. Even though it was a packed 737-800, the flight wasn't too bad.

Arriving in Narobi around 8pm (2 hrs time difference from Lagos), we cleared customs and immigration extremely quick. We had obtained our visas ahead of time, online, so that helped. Retrieved our bags and met our driver that the travel agent had arranged. It took about 20 minutes to get to our hotel, travelling over some very nice roads. My first impression of Nairobi was that its on par with Joberg as far roads and general appearance. We were booked into the Boma hotel, a fairly new and nice hotel. The term "Boma" is the equivalent to the Afrikaan term "Kraal", meaning an animal enclosure or a fort.

On June 4, we were picked up at 8am and taken to the general aviation airport for our charter flight to Maasai Mara. We were booked on SafariLink and they seemed to be a first rate operator. They had their own terminal building with seating for about 50 or so, as well as a local version of a Starbucks. Our bags were all weighed and we along with 5 other folks were boarding a Cessna Caravan. These single turboprop, fixed gear aircraft are the workhorse of the safari industry, carrying up to 12 passengers and 2 pilots. We took off, made one stop to drop off two and pick up four, then another short leg and we arrived at our destination. All told, a little over an hour. We were greeted by our Maasai guide, a very nice young lady by the name of Ann. After a welcoming cold drink, we loaded up and made the short drive to Kichwas Tempo, our tented camp for the next 3 nights. We immediately started seeing all sorts of game and knew this was going to be a cool place.

DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS

Anyone who has read Capstick's classic, "Death in the Long Grass" can relate to these scenes. Keep in mind we are riding around in a tall, photo safari type vehicle. A man on foot is at a serious disadvantage.

View attachment 189197
Several lions sleeping in the long grass

View attachment 189198
Black Rhino in the long grass

View attachment 189199

Cape Buffalo in the long grass.


Lions climb trees???

View attachment 189201

Mom and her cub in a tree with all the others sleeping to the left of tree.

View attachment 189204

View attachment 189205 View attachment 189208


Nice Impala!

View attachment 189210 View attachment 189211 View attachment 189212 View attachment 189213
Our trip started on June 3 with a 11 am departure from Lagos on Kenya Airways (SkyTeam alliance w/ Delta). The flight made a short hop over to Cotonou, Benin and then we headed east to Nairobi. Even though it was a packed 737-800, the flight wasn't too bad.

Arriving in Narobi around 8pm (2 hrs time difference from Lagos), we cleared customs and immigration extremely quick. We had obtained our visas ahead of time, online, so that helped. Retrieved our bags and met our driver that the travel agent had arranged. It took about 20 minutes to get to our hotel, travelling over some very nice roads. My first impression of Nairobi was that its on par with Joberg as far roads and general appearance. We were booked into the Boma hotel, a fairly new and nice hotel. The term "Boma" is the equivalent to the Afrikaan term "Kraal", meaning an animal enclosure or a fort.

On June 4, we were picked up at 8am and taken to the general aviation airport for our charter flight to Maasai Mara. We were booked on SafariLink and they seemed to be a first rate operator. They had their own terminal building with seating for about 50 or so, as well as a local version of a Starbucks. Our bags were all weighed and we along with 5 other folks were boarding a Cessna Caravan. These single turboprop, fixed gear aircraft are the workhorse of the safari industry, carrying up to 12 passengers and 2 pilots. We took off, made one stop to drop off two and pick up four, then another short leg and we arrived at our destination. All told, a little over an hour. We were greeted by our Maasai guide, a very nice young lady by the name of Ann. After a welcoming cold drink, we loaded up and made the short drive to Kichwas Tempo, our tented camp for the next 3 nights. We immediately started seeing all sorts of game and knew this was going to be a cool place.

DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS

Anyone who has read Capstick's classic, "Death in the Long Grass" can relate to these scenes. Keep in mind we are riding around in a tall, photo safari type vehicle. A man on foot is at a serious disadvantage.

View attachment 189197
Several lions sleeping in the long grass

View attachment 189198
Black Rhino in the long grass

View attachment 189199

Cape Buffalo in the long grass.


Lions climb trees???

View attachment 189201

Mom and her cub in a tree with all the others sleeping to the left of tree.

View attachment 189204

View attachment 189205 View attachment 189208


Nice Impala!

View attachment 189210 View attachment 189211 View attachment 189212 View attachment 189213
They are some impressive Impala.
 

cpr0312

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Some great pics! Yes some great impala. And wow couldn't imagine walking through that grass and coming face to face with lion or buff!
 

cagkt3

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Wow! Great pictures, can't wait for the rest!
 

enysse

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I'm loving these pictures!
 

rinehart0050

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Love the pictures- very cool seeing the lions in the trees. I guess even "death" needs to get above the long grass to spot its prey!

That impala has a massive rack!

Can't wait to see some more pictures...
 

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JAMBO LALA KAMA GOGO (IT SLEEPS LIKE A LOG)

I think I now know where the term "Lala land" came from. Lala is Swahili for sleep.

A little mention on the hardship we had to endure at the camp :whistle:

I think there are about 30 tents in this camp, Kichwa Tembo. There is another smaller camp next door, also ran by &beyond, and it's even more "high end." This would have to do, after all, we were roughing it. With wood decking for floors, a couple of wood walls, these were permanent tent camps. The bed area was about 24 ft x 24 ft, separate commode and shower area and all had spectacular views. Very comfortable and service better than I deserved (which is common in Africa!).

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The view from our bed, looking out over miles and miles of open savanna. I am lining up an elephant in my "open sights"

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I guess if the tent has two bathroom sinks, then we aren't exactly roughing it.


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The small door on the left is how the butler brought coffee each morning. Placed it in the small cabinet and there was a similar door on the inside. It kept the monkeys from getting it before we did.

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Front porch

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Front porch
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Shower on left and toilet on the right..........all with a spectacular view
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The view from the front of our tent. You can see a low profile fence line. It seemed to keep the animals out, but there were a few guys with BRNO 375 H&H walking around the camp, just in case. Each tent was equipped with an air horn. Would hate to rely on an air horn though.
 
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cpr0312

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Wow, those are some nice views from the tents!
 

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Nice pictures, looks like you and your wife had a great time.
 

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DAGGA BOYS, TOPI, THOMSON'S & GRANT'S GAZELLE.......and maybe MR. SPOTS

The first half day we were in camp, we saw 4 of the big 5 (buff, ele, lion & black rhino). This is a fenceless, wide open part of Africa, so we were all impressed with the amount and variety of animals we saw. The elephants and giraffes we were seeing were noticeably smaller than the ones we have see elsewhere (Zim, Bots, Nam). Not sure why, but talk to others in camp and they said the same thing. Still cool to observe though.

We saw lots of nice looking Dagga boys:

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Topi, a subspecies of the common tsessebe were plentiful too. Often, we'd see a big male acting as "Lifeguard"

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Thomson's gazelles were very plentiful too, Grant's less so.

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Mr Spots finally makes an appearance

Less than half a mile from camp, basically halfway between the camp and the airstrip, our guide spotted Mr. Spots! This was late morning. We watched him for about 30 minutes sitting in a tree and then he got up and went for a walk and we followed him. Pretty amazing!

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MORE CATS: LIONS AND A CHEETAH MAKES A KILL

We saw lions everyday. It was really cool watching the interaction of the big males and their ladies. Most of the time they we laying in the shade of a tree and only got up to move a bit as the shade had moved. We saw a lioness get up and start to walk away and the big male just got up and slowly got in front of the lioness and nudged her back to where they were both laying in the shade. Essentially saying, "I'm not done with you yet."



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One day, we were just cruising around, seeing what Africa will give to us and we were fortunate enough to come across a Cheetah, going our way. So we followed it. The cheetah settled on top of a termite mound and we sat about 15-20 yards away from it and watched. You could see the breathing of the animal was still quite fast, even at rest. We watched it for about 20 minutes and then you could tell that something had caught its attention. First, it went on high alert and then quickly went into a slow and low stalking mode. It took off and we watched a zig zag scramble and within seconds it was over. The cheetah had taken down a young Thomson's gazelle. It moved into the cover of a thick bush and caught its breath for about 10 minutes. Then it started to feast on the catch of the day. Another day in the true, wild kingdom!

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Our trip started on June 3 with a 11 am departure from Lagos on Kenya Airways (SkyTeam alliance w/ Delta). The flight made a short hop over to Cotonou, Benin and then we headed east to Nairobi. Even though it was a packed 737-800, the flight wasn't too bad.

Arriving in Narobi around 8pm (2 hrs time difference from Lagos), we cleared customs and immigration extremely quick. We had obtained our visas ahead of time, online, so that helped. Retrieved our bags and met our driver that the travel agent had arranged. It took about 20 minutes to get to our hotel, travelling over some very nice roads. My first impression of Nairobi was that its on par with Joberg as far roads and general appearance. We were booked into the Boma hotel, a fairly new and nice hotel. The term "Boma" is the equivalent to the Afrikaan term "Kraal", meaning an animal enclosure or a fort.

On June 4, we were picked up at 8am and taken to the general aviation airport for our charter flight to Maasai Mara. We were booked on SafariLink and they seemed to be a first rate operator. They had their own terminal building with seating for about 50 or so, as well as a local version of a Starbucks. Our bags were all weighed and we along with 5 other folks were boarding a Cessna Caravan. These single turboprop, fixed gear aircraft are the workhorse of the safari industry, carrying up to 12 passengers and 2 pilots. We took off, made one stop to drop off two and pick up four, then another short leg and we arrived at our destination. All told, a little over an hour. We were greeted by our Maasai guide, a very nice young lady by the name of Ann. After a welcoming cold drink, we loaded up and made the short drive to Kichwas Tempo, our tented camp for the next 3 nights. We immediately started seeing all sorts of game and knew this was going to be a cool place.

DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS

Anyone who has read Capstick's classic, "Death in the Long Grass" can relate to these scenes. Keep in mind we are riding around in a tall, photo safari type vehicle. A man on foot is at a serious disadvantage.

View attachment 189197
Several lions sleeping in the long grass

View attachment 189198
Black Rhino in the long grass

View attachment 189199

Cape Buffalo in the long grass.


Lions climb trees???

View attachment 189201

Mom and her cub in a tree with all the others sleeping to the left of tree.

View attachment 189204

View attachment 189205 View attachment 189208


Nice Impala!

View attachment 189210 View attachment 189211 View attachment 189212 View attachment 189213
Lovely photos of lovely animals. Awesome to see.
You'll remember these forever.
 

vancewalker007

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Your photos are amazing. I particularly liked the various views of the lions and the muddy buffs. Thanks for sharing.

So the Maasai Mara is a game reserve from my quick internet research. What is the game population/density like outside of this reserve? I'm just curious. I read a lot of this and that but have never and may never have the opportunity to go there to see for myself.
 

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Wow!!! Whats an experience seeing all these cats in daylight! Some great pics!
 
 

 

 

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