TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli




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  1. #1
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    Default TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    DAY 1&2
    So... the adventure begins!

    After 8,5h of flying in a half-empty plane, we set foot on African soil. Ready for 23 days full of wildlife, scenery, Maasai, friendly Kenyans, and much more..


    We start our journey at the airfield where 4x4-Kenya was waiting for us with their Landrover Defender 110 with rooftop tent. After the paperwork, we left the airport for our first stopover, Greenspoon, the online supermarket for meat, fruits, veggies, and beers/wines. I pre-ordered the meat online and scheduled a pick up from their warehouse. They also have a delivery service, so if you stay in Nairobi for a night, it can be delivered at your hotel/Airbnb/campsite.

    The warehouse is located in Kikuyu so our first off-road experience didn’t have to wait long, although the Southern bypass currently has some nice gravel parts as well.

    After our pickup, Narok was our next destination, Naivas Narok. When we arrived in Narok, we noticed one of the back doors wouldn’t lock. After contacting 4x4-Kenya, they told us they would send their mechanic right away. While we were at Naivas, we met up with 3 guys self-driving, also in a Defender. Of course, they were Dutch as well. We exchanged some tips and did some groceries shopping. After the shopping, we went to Malabi Mara Hotel. Nice located outside the city with no barking dogs/donkeys and other African town noise. The mechanic came and fixed the issues on the spot, so we could leave Narok at first light in the morning.


    We drove from Narok to Sekenani Gate in about 1,5-2h. During the drive, you could see more and more Maasai shukas so we were getting close to our destination.
    After arriving at Sekenani Gate, we also found the other Dutch Defender. They got soaked last night on the campsite of Oldarpoi (Sekenani), so we were happy we opted for the nice and cozy Malabi Mara Hotel.

    So here we go... finally...Thé Maasai Mara. We got a transfer ticket to Purungat Bridge so we used the map to navigate in that direction. We went off and on the main road and eventually found two lazy male lions right next to the road. After speaking with some guides there we heard about a leopard with a cub which was seen. So we followed the guy and eventually found a cheetah snoozing next to a tree. It was about 10-15m from the road with cars around it. We looped by and moved on, hoping for a better cheetah sighting that was not offroad. We drove like 500m and there were a lot of cars around a ditch/dry river bed. We found out it was a mother leopard with a cub, but it was being harrassed quite badly by the vehicles that we immediately took off towards Purungat. Hopefully more quiet sightings in the Triangle....

    After checking in at the Triangle around 14:00h it was time for our drive towards Eluai. We just used the main road, nothing fancy. We drove up the hill and found the campsite. There were also 2 guys busy digging a long drop, so improvements? are on its way. The campsite itself was surrounded by small bushes so you didn't really have a good sightseeing spot. The way I imagined it, was a clear view from the hill. Quickly after our arrival, the Dutch Defender also arrived and a small bit later another Dutch couple arrived. We did a small recon drive from the campsite and after enduring some heavy rains it was time for a campfire, with Dutch company and some Tuskers and Amarula.... Meanwhile, we were being watched by a cheeky hyena and the local buffalos were hanging out in the bushes. There is a couple of rocks around the campsite which creates some sort of extra barrier for the bigger animals. Although the buffalo didn't care about us, probably locals so used to people.

    Tomorrow the real game drives can finally start.
    Last edited by DutchieGoingAfrica; 2021/11/03 at 09:03 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Thank you Dutchie, for this trip report. Looking forward for the following instalments, as I miss Kenya badly.
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

  4. #3
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Thank you Dutchie for this teaser! Looks like being on the queue it paid off!

    Really waiting for future installments.

    Thank you.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Asante sana, Dutchie!

    Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures in the lovely Kenya.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Thanks for paying attention to our constant nagging Dutchie, can't wait for our turn to get to Kenya. Look forward to future installments.
    John 2021 Toyota Prado GXL 2.8 (in Australia) and 2014 Toyota Hilux 4x4 3.0 D4D (in Africa)
    Badger 4i BL1677 "Kamba 2" (in Australia) and Baobab BL1715 "Kamba" (in Africa)
    "I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy" - Ernest Hemingway

    Kgalagadi 2019 Namibia 2019 Gonarezhou 2019 Mana/Tafika 2018 Kgalagadi 2017 Lion, Hippo, Eland Leguaan, Python

  7. #6
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Hi Dutchie so far so good, waiting for the next episode and some photos, please.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Sorry all, been very busy moving houses and stuff. Will update soon!

    meanwhile some photos:
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.

  11. #9
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    Some fantastic cat photos there. Hope you can remember all the details of your sightings by the time you get to write your Trip Report
    John 2021 Toyota Prado GXL 2.8 (in Australia) and 2014 Toyota Hilux 4x4 3.0 D4D (in Africa)
    Badger 4i BL1677 "Kamba 2" (in Australia) and Baobab BL1715 "Kamba" (in Africa)
    "I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy" - Ernest Hemingway

    Kgalagadi 2019 Namibia 2019 Gonarezhou 2019 Mana/Tafika 2018 Kgalagadi 2017 Lion, Hippo, Eland Leguaan, Python

  12. #10
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    Default Re: TRIP REPORT - Kenya - 23 days - Maasai Mara/Triangle, Tsavo East/West & Amboseli

    First of all, sorry for the delay. It were busy times and something bad happened to my external hard drive. I did'nt back it all up photos yet and now it refuses to connect to my computer. Waiting for some hardware/pcr plate and if that doensn't work, I have to send it to some expensive recovery lab to get my precious photos back. Hopefully.
    Well, where were we go....

    DAY 3&4

    Early morning alarm because we don't want to miss any of the action, only 21 days left so make the most of it ;-)
    We exchanged phone numbers last night and created a small 'Muzungu Safari' WhatsApp group. The idea was to share sightings since we didn't have the network the guides use.

    We were the first ones to take off and headed towards the escarpment. It was a beautiful morning, with a blue sky, and after the rains of last night, everything seemed extra fresh.
    We found some general game like zebras and of course wildebeest and saw a huge herd of buffalo towards the escarpment. After driving a while, my eyes fell on some jackals playing next to the road. When we got near them, something else presented itself behind some bushes. Two beautiful male lions! One of them was posing in the best possible way, right next to the road and the other one was eating some left over wildebeest. It seems they killed two wildebeests and both were nearly finished. After enjoying them for a while, we notified the others as well. It was a lovely sighting with two males getting towards their prime and two jackals playing tag on the other side of the road.
    After like 45min, we decided to move on and we crossed the grassfield on a small track, nice and wet but nothing too bad. We enjoyed the company of elephants next to us so the morning was already fruitful. When we got back on tracks we went towards the hippo pool, since there was a lot of noise (growling/moo'ing) from that side when we were at the lion sighting. Unfortunately nothing special so we moved back towards the Serena area. Meanwhile we received a text from the other Dutchies in their Defender, they spotted a serval on patrol and were standing next to a male lion close to the serval. Luckily we were heading that direction since we both really wanted to find our first serval ever.
    By the time we got there, the Dutch Hilux was also looking for it but it seemed to have dissapeared. Too bad but at least we now know about a serval's hunting territory, could be valuable intel.
    The male lion was right in the open savannah enjoying some sunshine, bit too far away for nice shots so we drove on towards the crossing point near observation hill to see if there was some river action. While we drove in that direction we saw a hyena running down the hill towards the river so we were curious to see what the fuss was all about. Well, it included a big bunch of vultures, 30% of a dead young zebra and a lioness. It looked like the lioness was finished with supper but she didn't want the vultures to get the leftovers. So when she walked towards the shade and the vultures came in, she rushed back full speed to chase them off. Meanwhile the hyena was also lurking for it's piece of the pie. After 2-3 turns, the lioness gave up. The morning sun was getting too warm and she called it quits. The vultures went in and the hyena took it's prize. Lucky us that the sighting was right next to the road towards Olarro Private campsite. When the action was done, we moved forward towards the crossing area at lookout hill. Unfortunately no action so time to grab some lunch and check our new campsite, Dirisha! We went to Serena Mara to check the lodge, the view and grab a fork. And the view didn't dissapoint. It's located on a hill overlooking the Mara giving you a great opportunity to see how massively big this park is. We had a nice buffet lunch and after that it was time to explore Dirisha.

    When we arrived at the turn off, we drove towards the river, we found a beautiful grassy area with hippo's chilling down in the river. We couldn't really find out where the previous campfires had bin lit but it looked incredible. Well after some snacks it was time to do some afternoon driving. We found a nice heard of elephant and with a dramatic dark blue backdrop of some rain far away it was a stunner to watch and photograph. We were driving in the direction of the border and wanted to make a nice loop back towards the escarpment but the rain created a very slippery road, the infamous black cotton soil.... a quick reverse and back towards the Dirisha direction. We offered the campsite to our new Dutch friends and the Hilux had time to book an extra night and joined us at Dirisha, the Defender boys went for greener pastures on the other side of the river. So when we came at the 'campsite' our friends were nowhere to be seen, so we whatsapped and they told us they were at the campsite. Confusion.... Well, we were only on a small sidetrack but after the turnoff to Dirisha you had to actually drive trough some forest area before reaching the campsite. So after 10 minutes we found the real Dirisha campsite including the Dutch hilux. It was a night of stargazing, Amarula and campfire stories. Nothing beats African campfire stories with Amarula especially when you see the fireflies around you. Pure Magic!
    The rangers arrived around 19:30 and set up camp a bit in the distance. The hippos came out and the bush came alive at night.

    BEEP BEEP, Let's go, new day and new adventures ahead. We hoped for some river action and went game driving towards the peninsula area. Close to hippo pools we found some hyenas on patrol and one particular curious one came all the way to our vehicle to tell us good morning, very kind! When we arrived at the peninsula crossing area there actually was some build up so we positioned ourselves next to a gamedrive vehicle of Wild-Eye, a South African photographic safari company. The best of the best. So their spot should be good, and boy it was.. After a while or so the tension started to build and the first wildebeest went down to take a close look at the river. They watched and watched and all of sudden....BOOM first one in and single file the first followed. This startled the other wildebeest and all of them wanted to get across. All that action even made wildebeest at 1-2km away on the hills sprint towards the peninsula. So yea.... first crossing..first ones to go in... GOOSEBUMPS everywhere..what a breath taking experience. I started photographing and after a while just watched in awe. After about 5 minutes they even came down the side jumping and the chaos was complete. All in all it took around 15 minutes. Our first crossing, late in the season and 15 minutes of action, simply incredible. The Wild Eye guides told us it was their longest crossing so far and they are there all season (in rotation of guides). So lucky us I guess!
    Simply watching the zebras and wildebeest go was amazing. Unfortunately no crocodile actions, they were probably full to the brim after the previous days/weeks/months of crossings.
    After the crossing we just took some deep breaths, relaxed and let it all sink in.

    Allright, nothing is going to beat this experience today, but we can at least try. So we went towards the Purungat bridge, had some chats with the rangers for some information on tracks and than moved off towards the border to hopefully find some cheetahs. Being able to drive in the Mara Triangle bordering the Serengeti is simply an amazing experience as well. We even found 2 lionesses far away in the Serengeti, snoozing in the shade of one of the hundreds of trees in the Serengeti. Seeing these plains dotted with trees is almost as cool as seeing the crossing earlier. What made it better, was the fact that the Serengeti side was filled with thousands of wildebeest which were already enroute towards the South Serengeti. We made the obligatory border signpost photo's and just enjoyed the beautiful views. When we got more towards the escarpment, the tracks were filled with wildebeest, they were everywhere. Thousands and thousands of these animals, what a sight. After countless photos it was time to move on to find a lunch spot. We drove along the escarpment and found a big fig tree surrounded by hundreds of zebra. Beautiful spot for some nice beef burgers (Greenspoon). So all in all, great morning. What else can you wish for? This was the reason we came to Kenya, to the Mara. After the burgers and some drinks we drove around for a while. Found a very relaxed breeding herd of elephants with the cutest youngsters, again lots of photographic opportunities. So yeah, end of the afternoon coming up, whats the plan? Hmm, since we were close to the airstrip and Serena Mara, we could try out the spot where the serval was spotted. It was a short drive that side and scouting both sides I heard Laura scream YES! We found it! What a beautiful cat this is, the Serval cat. Slowly scouting the area for snacks and dinner. It came towards the road so we had some good chances for nice photos. We positioned ourselves on a higher ridge and just watched it hunt and search. After a while it crossed the road, was hunting again and all of a sudden it jumped in some high grass and dissapeared for a while. After like 5 seconds it was back and it suddenly multiplied! It were two, it's partner was probably snoozing in that grass so he/she woke it up to get going. So we got spoiled watching two servals making their path trough the bush. A beautiful sighting after an incredible day of safari in the Mara Triangle.
    Time to retire the camera for the day and go 'home' for some snacks and Amarula to celebrate this unforgettable day.. Asante Sana Mara!

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