Monday, July 30, 2018

Migration 2018 update- The wildebeests now enters Masai Mara

The wildebeests have now entered the Mara! I can now confirm this today after a fact finding mission round the entry points along the Mara and Serengeti border. Though this is still in its’ initial stages, every indication shows that the stage is set for the world’s most fascinating wildlife spectacle. 

A herd of almost 50,000 wildebeest have crossed the border near sand river gate. They could be seen this morning taking their traditional route towards Roan hill. Some have already moved all the way up towards central. The plains now between Mara Sarova, Roan Hill and Talek gate is teeming with the first herds that have moved into the area. The first animals arrived about 6 days ago.

 Their movement however is slower because of the amount of grass in their way. Earlier in the year, we had a lot of rains which has made the plains covered in long green grass. This is expected to slow the migration movement north. Looking onto the Serengeti from the sand river, one can see big herds of zebra and wildebeest heading north though reluctantly. We anticipate this concentration to build as the herds push up north into the Mara.

The Loita population has also moved into the Mara. They came in about two weeks ago. A herd of about 5,000 zebras and wildebeest can be seen around Musiara gate in the north and Topi plains, and this consist mainly of Zebras. Their concentration however is still low but we expect a build up in the coming weeks. 

The Mara predators in the areas where the herds are concentrated have suddenly woken up to the season of plenty again. The Topi pride lions have now established themselves on Topi plains an dRhino Ridge, where the wildebeest are are now moving into. Since the entry of the migrating herds into the area, these lions have always had something to eat. Other predators, mainly cats, Leopard and cheetah are also taking advantage of the season of plenty.
If anyone wanted to witness the migration, then this is the time





Monday, May 21, 2018

The Masai Mara loses one of its legendary lions

It was very sad yesterday to receive news of the death of one of the legendary male lions of the Masai Mara. Lipstick as he was called by the guides and Mara visitors, is no more. He died from injuries sustained from a fight with male lions from Olare-Motorogi Conservancy at the end of last year.
He was treated twice this year but h didn't respond positively.
Normally he would have kept going, by stacking to the pride, who would hunt and he benefit from that. However, when the migration heads south to Serengeti and East into the conservancies, food became scarce and feeding among the lions degenerate into fights and scramble for whatever piece you can get. Due to this, one has to be physically fit to see him/herself through the lean period. The period between March to late June, when the migration arrives, is a selection period for the the strong individuals. If you are not strong, you wont live through.
this is a season where we see many lions cubs succumbs to hunger and also normal to see many lions looking thin and some emaciated. But when the wildebeests arrives, then the feed frenzy, bring back good health toe the Mara prides.

Lipstick now leaves his comrade, Blackie to rule over the Topi plains territory with the Ridge pride. His tenure, however, may not last long as we have many nomadic males in this region at the moment. He may not stand any challenge.

Lipstick in February, when though he was injured, was still healthy

Sights like this are common in April- June, when you find lions thin and also employing the use of trees or termite mounts as vantage points to scan the plains for potential prey

A video of Lipstick which i took in February 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sudan, The only Male Northern White Rhino has died

When you become so passionate about animals, you elevate them to the same status as human beings, to a point where you mourn the death of an animal equally to that of a human being.
This is the second time in a week i am reporting the death of some famous animals i have been able to see and photograph over the years. Last week i reported about Kanyonyi the male gorilla in Bwindi, and now it is about the death of the only northern white rhino male. Many may not know the devastation such news mean.

Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday). Sudan was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.

I am happy to have seen and photographed Sudan while alive, but at the same time, i am sad that future generations will only see them in pictures. While we mourn Sudan, there are many other species around the world faced with extinction. What are we doing to save them, since their extinction is due to our negligence or cause. Lets stand up and save our planet.

Sudan will be remembered for his unusually memorable life. In the 1970s, he escaped extinction of his kind in the wild when he was moved to Dvůr Králové Zoo. Throughout his existence, he significantly contributed to survival of his species as he sired two females. Additionally, his genetic material was collected yesterday and provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies. During his final years, Sudan came back to Africa and stole the heart of many with his dignity and strength.

Unfortunately, Sudan’s death leaves just two female northern white rhinos on the planet; his daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remain at Ol Pejeta. The only hope for the preservation of this subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females.

Sudan when he was still alive an strong to stand on his own

Myself and a professional photographer, Mr. Roger Hooper, who is a conservationist, when he visited Sudan to photograph and document his plight in order to raise awareness through photography. His photos featured in a "Remembering Rhinos" exhibition campaign (in London) and in the  book ‘Remembering Rhinos’  

One of the rangers, Mr. Mutai with Sudan on Olpejeta Conservancy. He spent many years as Sudan's keeper  and is one thats saddened most. I call him this morning to comfort him as i know very well how he feels. He was interviewed on BBC online for those of you who follows that. He told me this morning, there are about 1000 media groups coming to cover this story. So you will hear some comments from him

Two female white Rhinos. One is a northern white and the other a southern. Can you spot the difference?.... 
Well the one on the left is a northern white Rhino female. Please note the fringes (fur) which lines the edge of her ears, which is missing on the southern white female. There are other differences which i will leave to you to figure out

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kanyonyi the silverback gorilla from Bwindi is dead!

I am saddened with news that Kanyonyi, the silver back with Mubare group of gorillas in Bwindi has died. The news got to me a bit late but still shocking. Kanyonyi was the dominant male in the group and used to like climbing trees despite his weight. It was during such climbs that he fell down and broke his hip. This was in September last year despite treatment, he became less mobile for about 2 months. After which a new black back came into the area and managed to take the females away from Kanyonyi who was now helpless. Once the females were safely away he came and fought the now helpless Kanyonyi inflicting fatal injuries. He died 3 days later on 9th December. I took the photo attached in June. I am sad that i will not see him on my many subsequent visits this year. RIP Kanyonyi
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Kanyonyi doing what he liked doing... climbing trees!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Welcome to The Greatest Masai Mara Photo Competition

 (I would like to apologise for the 2 blanks posts that were sent our earlier. I noted the system changed the font colour to white, making the words invisible) Here below is a repeat of one of the posts.
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I am happy to introduce to you the first photographic competition completely dedicated to the greater Maasai Mara. As a means of showcasing to the world the extraordinary photographic potential and superb game viewing of the Mara throughout the year we have started a new competition: The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year 2018. Anyone can enter by visiting www.thegreatestmaasaimara.com
 The entry fee is 1000 Kenyan Shillings or USD 20 per photograph. 100% of the money goes to one of the 6 conservation partners and you get to decide which one to support. 
 Each month we choose a winner and at the end of the year we choose the best out of the monthly winners. The prize is huge…USD 10,000 in cash and a 5 night safari at the lovely Angama Mara lodge including internal flights and a private photographic vehicle. In addition to this whoever the guide is of the winning photographer will walk away with a brand new Gypsy Maruti car!  If the guide takes the winning photo then he/she walks away with the whole lot: money, flights, accommodation and car.

To find out more information, to see the latest galleries and to enter be sure to visit www.thegreatestmaasaimara.com

January entries video: 

February entries video:


Trailer video


Winning entry, January 2018


Winning entry, February 



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Masai Mara: First quarter game viewing report

The month of January, February and early march, has been a season of great sightings in the Mara, despite the absence of the wildebeest. There are people who associate the Mara only with the migration. But there is plenty to see. All you need is different eyes.
This year, just like the last few, has seen the number of wildebeests calving in the Mara going up. We have been seeing many wildebeests with young calves on the conservancies of Olare-Motorogi and Naboisho and also on the middle-eastern edge of the reserve. These were calving at the same time as the ones in Serengeti, though they are few.
Because of the number of cats and other predators in the areas mentioned above, predation on the calves has been quite high. They are often taken as easy prey. Some of the lion prides, like Engoyanai, which has few small cubs, has taken advantage of the season of plenty to feed their young. We saw so many hunts by all predators since the calving started.
Big cats sighting in general has been great. Fig, the leopard, on OM conservancy continued to treat us and our guests with great shows. She and her cubs are always a joy when spotted. Kaboso, Bahati, Siri and Lorian, our other leopards in the reserve also gave us good sightings. We had good cheetah sightings over the period too. The 5 male cheetah coalition was seen in the reserve through out the period also were another 3 cheetahs, 2 males and a female who are siblings found on OM. We also had Malaika and her cubs entertain us, though we lost her early this month and have not been seen again.
General game viewing was great, with the most of February being the rutting season for Topis. They were seen all over the Mara in their usual “leks”. It would require you to sit and watch them for a while to understand how their courtship works. Although most places in the reserve now have tall grass, there are many places too with short grass, and this is where most herbivores are found.

We were worried earlier in February that the Mara river will stop flowing, when the water level went really low, but rains just came in time and now its running normally.
most of my guest over the period were professional photographers. Kindly follow this link to see one of the photographers workR.H. Photography






















Monday, March 5, 2018

Malaika: The Mara Cheetah missing



am worried we may have lost Malaika, the cheetah in Masai Mara. There is a suspicion that she may have drowned crossing Olare Orok yesterday morning. When i saw her two days ago crossing the same river by double crossing area from the east going west onto Rhino ridge where she stayed for 2 days. The day before yesterday in the evening, we watched her trying to hunt some Impala though she failed after some Hyaenas showed up. When we woke up yesterday morning we found the cubs on the banks of a raging Olare Orok river, calling as they stared into the river. They did this almost half a day before withdrawing a shot distance away, then rested under a tree for the rest of the day. ( we saw this behavior when Malaika lost a cub to a croc on the Talek sometimes back) 
This morning they came to the same spot on the river on the river and after calling briefly, they braved and jumped into the river and crossed. They river was still high but lower than yesterday. There are two big crocs at the same spot, which can be seen basking on the banks.
Now the big question, could Malaika have drowned trying to cross or has she just abandoned the cubs to fend for themselves? She mated with the 5 musketeers about 2 weeks ago and i think if she is now expecting some new comes in 3 months, then its possible she may have abandoned the cubs to live on their own since they have now come of age.
Should anybody see her alive.... please share the info


The boys scent marking a tree


The family match


Malaika walking across the plain with her boys