The ultimate African bush and beach safari

Chasing ghosts… finding the snow leopard

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Masai Mara in the green season

They say the Masai Mara is over-traded. During the spectacle that is the annual wildebeest migration you might agree. I have just returned from an incredible stay in the ‘dreaded rainy season’. We got rain almost daily in fantastic thunderstorms (plus a little Rift Valley earth tremor one evening!). But as you will see below, we also got plenty of sunshine, saw loads of animals, very active displaying birds and very very few people…

These young lions will have a real appetite by the time the wildebeest migration returns to the Mara.

These young lions will have a real appetite by the time the wildebeest migration returns to the Mara.

We had a special sighting of a female hippo bringing her young calf from out of the riverine forest back into the Mara River

We had a special sighting of a female hippo bringing her young calf from out of the riverine forest back into the Mara River

Anyone that has been to the Mara Triangle will know the sound of the Little Swifts that nest at the Oloololo Gate. It seems they were gearing up for nesting.

Anyone that has been to the Mara Triangle will know the sound of the Little Swifts that nest at the Oloololo Gate. It seems they were gearing up for nesting.

This is such a classic Mara scene in the rain season.

This is such a classic Mara scene in the rain season.

Whilst this is not the most arresting photo of a lion, I enjoyed his focus and motion through the long grass.

Whilst this is not the most arresting photo of a lion, I enjoyed his focus and motion through the long grass.

The rains turn the landscape green, but this area has also been burnt so was a shocking green. We stopped for a picnic lunch and had 9 mammal species in view!

The rains turn the landscape green, but this area has also been burnt so was a shocking green. We stopped for a picnic lunch and had 9 mammal species in view!

The voice of the Mara is not quite as drab as people say! The Rufous-naped Larks are all singing and nesting right now.

The voice of the Mara is not quite as drab as people say! The Rufous-naped Larks are all singing and nesting right now.

Thatching weavers build nests is a great African safari treat. Quite how this male managed to keep avoiding the thorns whilst so busy I don’t know.

Watching weavers build nests is a great African safari treat. Quite how this male managed to keep avoiding the thorns whilst so busy I don’t know.

The first 5 of no less than 40 vultures that pressured and pushed this female cheetah off her gazelle kill right in front of us (we only saw one other vehicle this day!).

The first 5 of no less than 40 vultures that pressured and pushed this female cheetah off her gazelle kill right in front of us (we only saw one other vehicle this day!).

The ‘Out of Africa’ site where the superb new Angama Mara lodge will be opening soon.

The ‘Out of Africa’ site where the superb new Angama Mara lodge will be opening soon.

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Zakouma – a wild Safari south of Sahara

As promised, the first report back from Zakouma National Park in south-east Chad. It is tough to put into words just how what an incredible experience this has been. Spending 5 nights camped out in the moonlight on the edge of the Rigueik wetland with a great bunch of people, tasty bush food and great […]

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Dawn & Dusk #Whyilovekenya

Recently I spent some time on safari in the Masai Mara and Laikipia. Days were warm and dry, especially in southern Laikipia, so I made the most of my favourite times of day…dawn and dusk. Although I never got the ‘Golden Hour’ everyday, I was treated to some classic safari moments. Couple this with some excellent walking at Ol Pejeta and the low numbers of tourists in Kenya at this time of year, I can safely say January is a great time to be in Kenya if you aren’t really looking for wildebeest! #Whyilovekenya

The excitement builds as we are nearly ready to board the Governor’s Balloon for our morning floating over the majestic Masai Mara.

The excitement builds as we are nearly ready to board the Governor’s Balloon for our morning floating over the majestic Masai Mara.

What an incredible way to start my day – sunrise over the Mara.

What an incredible way to start my day – sunrise over the Mara.

One of the dreamy scenes that unfolded on the balloon ride, just after floating over a pride of lions!

One of the dreamy scenes that unfolded on the balloon ride, just after floating over a pride of lions!

The chance to photograph this iconic mountain in a different mood each day is my motivation for rising early.

The chance to photograph this iconic mountain in a different mood each day is my motivation for rising early.

The almost milky late afternoon light on Ol Pejeta provided a fun opportunity to capture the top f the Aberdares as backdrop to the zebras and elephants

The almost milky late afternoon light on Ol Pejeta provided a fun opportunity to capture the top f the Aberdares as backdrop to the zebras and elephants

Some patience before sunset was rewarded when a young male Grant’s Gazelle decided to put in a big effort to court a female.

Some patience before sunset was rewarded when a young male Grant’s Gazelle decided to put in a big effort to court a female.

This cute bushbaby can be tricky to photograph in the thorn trees with no natural light. I spotted this one in silhouette as it emerged just minutes after sunset.

This cute bushbaby can be tricky to photograph in the thorn trees with no natural light. I spotted this one in silhouette as it emerged just minutes after sunset.

 

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African Civet po(o)ps by…

One of things we love to do with our guests is find a waterhole or well-used game trail to put up a camera trap. The infra-red sensor takes photos while we sleep and later we get to download the card and find out who came to visit. Better still is to look at the tracks first and try to establish how many species came past. In Karongwe, west of the Kruger National Park, we had a successful nights’ trapping. The highlight was an African Civet which decided to poop right in front of the camera. Anyone that has seen the droppings in a civetry (a special name for their latrine) will have questioned how an animal the size of a civet could pass them – well take a close look at the photo. The answer is it isn’t easy!

I always enjoy finding African Civet on a night safari - for me it is a sign of a healthy environment

I always enjoy finding African Civet on a night safari – for me it is a sign of a healthy environment

A picture says a thousand words!

A picture says a thousand words!

Although the porcupine is actually quite common, you don't get to see them too often unless they are raiding the camp veggie garden.

Although the porcupine is actually quite common, you don’t get to see them too often unless they are raiding the camp veggie garden.

I assume this Common Duiker was headed for a morning drink at the waterhole

I assume this Common Duiker was headed for a morning drink at the waterhole

This female impala must have sensed something out of place on the tree - she is very alert

This female impala must have sensed something out of place on the tree – she is very alert

I you put a camera trap up just about anywhere for a few days, you are bound to get at least one look-in from an inquisitive baboon!

If you put a camera trap up just about anywhere for a few days, you are bound to get at least one look-in from an inquisitive baboon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Incredible wail of the Indri

There are over 100 species of lemurs recognised in Madagascar (only there right!), but none come close to the largest, the Indri when it comes to sound! This short clip is exactly that sound.

 

 

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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

The Pafuri Walking Trail  in the Makuleke Concession of the Kruger National Park is without a doubt one of the most remote and wild walking experiences that can be found today. A 3 night 4 day trail is the perfect getaway to experience nature at its best.

The early hours of each day were spent walking in various parts of this unique and extremely diverse area. We had a number of great sightings of elephant, safety is distance when out walking which can be hard to maintain whilst walking for 4 to 5 hours. Most of the time we were able to get to an elevated area and enjoyed watching the behavior of the elephants whilst they were completely unaware of our presence. Buffalo were fairly common and we had to be very careful where we walked. Once or twice we got a little too close for comfort but with the knowledge and experience of our guides we were able to appreciate the skills needed to spend time safely in this environment and avoided having to climb any trees.

In this areas the cats are difficult to find on foot so in the in the afternoon we would use the the vehicle to explore the area, we were fortunate to see two different leopards which was a real highlight. We found some spectacular spots to enjoy our hard earned sun downers and to relive the days sightings. When we arrived back at camp after each adventure, we were  greeted warmly by the friendly staff and treated to some fabulous meals cooked on the open fire.

We really had a fantastic time and enjoyed every minute of the adventure, a special thanks to the staff at Pafuri for such a great experience  and for making us feel so welcome and for looking after us so well.

Some of the best walking in South Africa, the area is extremely diverse. We enjoyed walking in the morning and then taking a drive in the evening to cover more area.

Some of the best walking in South Africa, the Pafuri Wilderness Trail is perfectly situated to explore this incredibly diverse area.

The reputation of a buffalo is well deserved which is why taking photos from the comfort of a vehicle will generally yield better photos due to less camera shake.

The reputation of a buffalo is well deserved, which is why taking photos from the comfort of a vehicle will generally yield better photos due to less camera shake.

A lone elephant bull in the spectacular Fever Tree forests.

Tracking at the confluence of of the Limpopo and Levuvu rivers.

Reading tracks and signs at the confluence of the Limpopo and Levuvu rivers.

Enjoying the freedom of tracking animals on foot in the dry Limpopo River.

Enjoying wildlife from the comfort of the camp. This elephant spent most of the mid day feeding around our tents.

Enjoying wildlife from the comfort of the camp. This elephant spent most of the mid day feeding around our tents.

The thrill and excitement of the mornings adventure proving too much for Gareth.

Brett, head of sustainability at Wilderness Safaris enjoying a fantastic photographic opportunity with buffalo.

Brett, head of sustainability at Wilderness Safaris enjoying a fantastic photographic opportunity with this herd of buffalo.

Spectacular scenery form Lanner Gorge, probably one of the best place in Africa to enjoy sundowners.

Spectacular scenery from Lanner Gorge, probably one of the best place in Africa to enjoy sundowners.

Walking in the wilderness is all about having fund and leaving the daily grind behind.

Walking in the wilderness is all about having fun and leaving the daily grind behind.

Time on foot allows you to earn a greater understanding of the natural world. We had an opportunity to spend time exploring the skull of an elephant which was extremely interesting.

Time on foot allows you to earn a greater understanding of the natural world. We had an opportunity to spend time exploring the skull of an elephant which was extremely interesting.

Taking a rest after a long morning walk and enjoying the scenic Levuvu River.

Every sunset in the African wilderness is special, one has to make sure to not spend too much time in the city before the next one.