Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kenya- Our First Week; Entim

Safari Schedule:
Days are pretty full while on safari. We get up at 5:45a.m., leave for safari at 6:15a.m., we're back at 11:30a.m. I download and back up my images, have lunch, quickly organize the images, then I hopefully get in a half hour snooze and we are out on safari again from 3:30p.m. to 6:30p.m. Once back at camp I download and back up images, shower, dinner at 7:30. Back at the tent, I diarize the days events, then am asleep by 9:30p.m. 

Internet access is often spotty, so I haven't been blogging regularly while on safari these past few trips. I do want to be able to look back to use the blog as a reference, so I'm back home now and will finish it up where the internet is reliable and I have a little more time.

Entim Day Two, drives four and five:
We drove for about an hour west and found a pride of lions sleeping. There were 3 lionesses, a big male and four, six month-old cubs. There were a lot safari jeeps in the area. Thankfully those people got bored as the lions were sleeping in the tall grass. They left and we had breakfast, then the lions got up and started moving and we got some great images of them as they walked down the road toward us.

Game Drive Five:
We found a serval cat. This was my first serval cat sighting in the wild. She was beautiful, but unfortunately I didn’t get any good images of her. It was sad. She walked around in the tall grass calling her babies. It isn’t looking good for her. We watched her for a couple hours. She would wander around and find a small treat here and there, then go back to that same area and cry again.
Our first serval cat sighting

Day Three, drives six and seven:
We found a lioness with 5, two month old cubs. Good news bad news. Good news? 5 cubs at a scenic setting down by the river. Bad news? Super dark. Not good enough for acceptable photos.

Game Drive Seven:
It was dark and raining really hard as we attempted to photograph the mom and three lion cubs. I thought two had died as there were only three left. Looking more closely at my images that evening, I discovered that mom was babysitting two cubs that were slightly older than hers. We never did catch up with either lioness or their cubs again.

Day Four, Drives eight and nine:
It was a very uneventful morning. I think it rained most of the night and the roads were like driving in grease. We were looking for the lioness and her cubs and got stuck and had to be towed out. I took one picture of a huge crocodile on that game drive and then we got stuck again. Between the 5' long grass and the wet, I think the predators were just laying low.

Game Drive Nine:
Another uneventful drive.

Day Five, Game drives ten and eleven:
We found Sierra and her cub. Sierra was in a tree when we pulled up. The light wasn’t great, but we spent virtually the entire game drive with them so that was fun.

Game Drive Eleven:
We went out to see the cheetahs again. We couldn’t find Sierra and her baby so we went on to find Maliaka and her two cubs sleeping in the bush. They were boring and we heard over the radio that they found Sierra so we drove out to see them. They were lying high on a grassy, abandoned termite mound. We spent the rest of the afternoon with them and got some great images. 

When it is really hot we drink a lot of water. When we drink a lot, we tend to have to "check the tire" a little more often than usual. On the way home from the cheetah sighting it was already really dark. Another vehicle from Entim got a flat, so the guys had to change the tire in the mud, in the dark. They did really well considering the circumstances. Our vehicle may get stuck, but we never once got a flat. We took credit for that. We were good "tire monitors'".

Day Six, Game drives twelve and thirteen:
Another tough morning. We couldn’t find much in the way of game and in the five foot long grass, the predators could have been four feet away from the road and we would  have driven right by not even knowing. It is amazing that we found anything in some places.

Game Drive Thirteen:
This game drive was a tough one. We started out by looking for the lioness and the three cubs that were right near our camp. We couldn’t find them so we went to the cheetahs. We couldn’t find Sierra, but caught up with Maliaka and her two boys snoozing in the grass. They never did get up, so we drove back to camp. On the way back it was getting pretty dark, but we found a hyena den with two babies. Too cute.

Day Seven, Game drives fourteen and fifteen. Transfer to Little Governors' Camp and afternoon drive at Little Governors' Camp.

I thought this game drive would be mostly just a transfer to Little Governors Camp. We started out by seeing a few elephants. The baby elephant decided he was going to challenge our land rover to a fight. It was pretty entertaining. 
After that we saw Sierra and her cub in their tree again. We followed them for about an hour, then went on our way. We then saw about 15 hyenas. From there we went out of the park and through a town where we met a once orphaned eland. She is now quite friendly and came up to our landrover looking for food. I offered nuts, but she wouldn’t accept them. I did scratch her behind the ears which she she seemed to tolerate. 

From there we photographed a baby zebra. After that we came upon lipstick, the four cubs and three lionesses. They had just taken down a topi. By the time we got there there was nothing left but a few bits of meat on a rib cage which the jackals were quite enjoying. We almost got to Little Governors’ camp and found a hyena den with several babies, then troops of hundreds of baboons and herds totalling about 50 elephants (that we could see on the way to camp). Ironically, the transfer to Little Governors' camp was one of our best game drives of the entire week!

Images at Harvey Wildlife Photography.

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