The Great Migration Safari: Day 8

As now seems to be the norm, we started off with a spotted hyena den site, with 1 adult hanging around the den. Immediately afterwards we happened across 2 more hyenas feeding on the remains of a young wildebeest kill.  It was the classic Masai Mara scene, with a couple of black-backed jackals hanging around looking for some scraps, and all the vultures coming in to see what they could get. When the hyenas were done, we made our way back to the Mara River to see if we could photograph any crossing action.  After the usual wildebeest back and forth, we managed to see quite a big crossing, which was made even more exciting by the arrival of a large crocodile. It didn’t take the crocodile long to pick off a victim. The young wildebeest really didn’t stand a chance.  We ended the day with 3 lions getting ready for the nights hunt.

Major sightings of the day:

Spotted hyena den, with 1 adult at the den

2 spotted hyena feeing on wildebeest

2 lions

Many different elephants

1 river crossing

Crocodile kill

3 black-backed jackals

Many buffalo

3 lions

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The Great Migration Safari: Day 7

Although the big cats were out and about, the famous river crossings were the highlight in a day filled with amazing sightings.  We saw three different crossings, and during one of these crossings a young zebra got caught by a huge crocodile. The crocodile quickly swam away with its prize, so we followed to see if there would be any feeding action to photograph.  That turned out to be the right decision, because in no time at all, several monster crocodiles were involved in a feeding frenzy that needed to be seen to be believed.  What a scene to witness and photograph!

Throughout the rest of the day, the cameras were kept busy by a host of other species, but a family of 5 cheetah were particularly special.  We also managed to find the big male lion we saw on day 5, and he made for good images as well.  The real surprise of this years Great Migration Safari, has been the number of hyenas we have seen.  We saw another den site with 7 adults and 1 little baby, and continuous sightings of them throughout the day.

Major sightings of the day:

Hyena den site with 7 adults and 1 little cub

Several sightings of spotted hyena

Several sightings of elephants

3 female lions and 1 male lion

3 river crossings

crocodile kill and feeding on zebra

1 female and 4 sub-adult cheetah

fighting elephants

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The Great Migration Safari: Day 6

Some more good action coming out of this wonderful safari!  The hyena den close to the camp was again active, with 3 small, black cubs running around and playing.  A male leopard was the next animal to find itself in front of our cameras, as he was out and about looking for a meal. He stalked quite close to a herd of wildebeest, but as he was getting really interested, a second herd of wildebeest spotted him.  To be fair, the second herd of wildebeest was about 30,000 strong so one of them was bound to see him.  We left the leopard and made our way back down to the river to see if we could photograph any more crossing action, and again, we were in luck. Three more river crossings with a crocodile kill added in, is what was in store for us!  Again, a young wildebeest was the unlucky victim. After all the action of the river crossings, we slowly made our way back to camp.

There was, however, still more to see and photograph.  We found a pride of 5 lions having a hard rest in the shade of a tree, and tucked away in a dense thicket, we found a different lioness with 2 very small cubs.  They were so small, that she had not yet introduced them to the rest of the pride. Realising just how lucky we were to have stumbled upon their den site, we moved off so as not to draw any unwanted attention to them.  Close to the camp, we found our first black rhino of the safari!  As is always the case with black rhino, he wasn’t so keen to be seen out in the open, so he made for the nearest bush and disappeared.

Major sightings of the day:

Hyena den with 3 cubs

Many buffalo

Many herds of elephants

Male leopard stalking wildebeest

3 different river crossings

Crocodile kill

Pride of 5 lions

Lioness with 2 small cubs

Male black rhino

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The Great Migration Safari: Day 4

We landed in the Masai Mara and were welcomed by thousands of wildebeest!  There was a section of the massive herd all around the airstrip dotted with zebra, gazelle and elephants, so we got straight into this leg of the safari.  The day’s sightings only improved as it went on, and there were so many animals to photograph, the only challenge was deciding where to point the cameras.  Two lionesses were finishing off a wildebeest kill they had made earlier in the day and stole our attention for a good while, before we found the den site of a clan of spotted hyena.  There were around twenty hyenas active around the den site, with loads of young cubs, ranging from a few weeks old to a few years.  What a start to the Masai Mara.

Major sightings of the day:

Many buffalo

Many elephants

2 female lions on a wildebeest kill

Many different hyenas

Hyena den site with ±20 hyenas and 9 cubs

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The Great Migration Safari: Day 3 Samburu extension

This was our final day in Samburu before heading off to the Masai Mara, so we set out early looking again for the Samburu ‘special five’.  The main goal was the wonderfully striped grevy’s zebra.  We found a herd quite early on, and they gave us plenty of good opportunity to photograph them.  Moving on from the herd of zebra, we spent some time with a male somali ostrich and a few elephants before finding a female leopard.  As we found her, she gave chase after a black-backed jackal, and very nearly caught it.  We followed her for a little while, until she eventually moved up into one of the hills. We thought the good times were done, and were heading back to the airstrip, when we saw a cheetah on the move.  The cheetah was looking quite intent, and started stalking a gerenuk, which was standing up feeding and had not seen the cheetah.  I thought for all money the cheetah was in for a meal, but the crafty gerenuk turned while standing on only its back legs, and saw the cheetah twenty or so meters away from it.  It gave a short sharp call, and made an enthusiastic dash for safety.  Very exciting stuff indeed.

Major sightings of the day:

2 black-backed jackals with a dik-dik kill

Herd of elephants

Female leopard chasing a black-backed jackal

Female cheetah stalking a gerenuk

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