Although the Maasai Mara was the destination, we probably had as many amazing experiences in the North Mara Conservancy as we did in the national reserve. I’m sure I’ll have to divide this one into two or more parts because of some of the most amazing sightings. Our first afternoon as we came over a sight incline this is what we found. Our guide counted 30+ giraffe here. I’ve never seen this many babies all in one place. At times like this I wish I had a wide angle lens.
The giraffe were mixed in with these sheep and goats. It certainly works since they graze/browse on different plants.
These little guys are hyraxes, rock hyraxes to be specific. They are, believe it or not, the closest living relative to the elephant. They have the same unique foot construction as the elephant, they live in groups, and they have a fairly long gestation period, far longer than other animals of similar size.
This Thompson’s gazelle has very recently given birth. I had to lighten the photos considerably in order to see the calf. When they are this young, they put them in areas sort of close together, to sit in the grass and wait for their mothers to return from grazing. We saw some and you really could hardly see them even when you knew where they were because they blended in so well.
Cape buffalo… many people aren’t interested in them but the more you observe them the more you gain respect for them.. well, at least it’s true for me. I think the older ones have so much written into their faces. They are fiercely protective of their herd members and will go after lions. We actually saw this kind of interaction although, thankfully, it didn’t turn into an altercation. But it was quite a thrill to see the buffalo in the lead, slowly walk toward the lions, head up, sniffing the air. The lions watched carefully and eventually moved away from the buffalo. I felt like I was in some nature film.
Once again the right side gets cut off when the blog is posted. So mom loses her head.
Although topi can be found in many places, I always associate them with the Mara. You can look out over the vast plains and find these guys poised on top of old termite mounds clearly keeping a look out.
Impala seem to be on just about every predators menu. Good thing they are so numerous. The guides all say that the black markings on their butts are a “M”… for McDonalds. Even so, they are a beautiful, elegant animal.
We found a pride of lions with 15 cubs! There were six about five or six months, a number of sub adults and another lioness with three much younger, two or three months. She was a ways off, staying a bit separate from the main group.
Sometimes you see in nature films lions being impatient with cubs. After watching these guys for quite a while and seeing no end to their energy, you can hardly blame the parents for acting irritated and snarly.
This is where the sub adults were hanging out. Their energy level was definitely more like the adults.
The lions were laying/sitting/playing in separate groups, seemingly according to age, and papa here was sound asleep by himself sort of in the middle. As you can see he is rousing himself he is very slowly and can’t even be bothered to lift his head to yawn.
This lioness is watching where the buffalo began to come over the rise and on to this hill where the lion pride was lying about. Hard to see the drama unfold from these still photos. Would have been better if I could do video.
It was a bit scary at first because their were so many young cubs around who were completely oblivious to the potential danger. It was getting dark rapidly and once again I don’t really know how to deal with it effectively.
There was always one lioness keeping an eye on the buffalo, just as this buffalo was watching while the others grazed.
This was why the light was getting bad… the sun was setting.
If I add the remaining photos from this encounter with the lion pride, this will become quite cumbersome to deal with. So I shall stop here with the setting sun.