Posted on 17.10.2013
by Liz & Stefano Cheli
Changing times and tight schedules have meant shorter and shorter safaris. Three days would have been unthinkable back in the day; the norm being at least a couple of months and that too after many months of planning. Today, it is possible to have Dinner in Delhi, and Breakfast in the Bush!
An overnight flight from New Delhi to Nairobi followed by a short hop from Nairobi into the airfield at Mara North, is painless and surprisingly convenient.
Within just 15 minutes of landing on the ‘bush’ strip, and a few delicious Scotch Eggs down, we chanced upon the resident male Leopard of the area also breakfasting – albeit up a tree and on a freshly killed Impala!
Leopard with a freshly killed Impala in the tree
In the 3 days that followed, we had multiple sightings of big cats; 50 different Lions – the Elephant Pepper Camp Pride which has now soared to 29, the famous Marsh Pride of 15, two solitary females, and a mating couple who had reportedly spent the better part of a week together.
The famous Cheli & Peacock lion pride
We tracked a coalition of three young Cheetahs, whom we photographed stalking, charging and successfully killing a male Thompson’s Gazelle in the middle of the day! Before hungry Hyenas and vultures found their way to the kill, the three adolescents gobbled up their venison-lunch and retired for a siesta in a croton bush, escaping the searing East-African sun.
Cheetah on the hunt…
We saw Marshall Eagles trying to swoop down onsuckling Warthog piglets, African Fish Eagles fighting over a kill, Tawny eagles feasting and numerous other raptors.
African Fish Eagles fighting over a kil
Large herds of buffalo chose to graze the patch around our tent most nights! And, we fell asleep listening to lions roaring in the distance. On our last day we found two male cheetahs hunting, unsuccessfully, near our camp. We even managed to see a herd of Wildebeest cross the Mara River, heading south into the Serengeti in search of greener pastures…
A short yet action-packed safari! Come and see for yourselves…
Written and Photographed by Anjali & Jaisal Singh, co-owners of Elephant Pepper Camp about their recent visit to the Masai Mara and their stay at EPC!
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Posted on 02.10.2013
by Liz & Stefano Cheli
We are the bearers of fantastic news! Our resident Somali ostrich couple – through dedication and vigilance – successfully hatched 12 chicks. Here is Dad is taking his turn to sit on the nest just prior to the hatchings. Incredibly, an ostrich egg can weigh as much as two dozen chicken eggs.
The Somali Ostrich is a subspecies to the Ostrich and is endemic to Kenya’s north. It is more beautiful than its common cousin, its feathers having a more vivid black and white, with blue neck & thighs (rather than pinkish), which become bright blue on the male during the mating season. The females are slightly larger than the males and browner in plumage than other female ostriches.
Ostriches live in small flocks which typically contain less than a dozen birds. Alpha males maintain these flocks and mate with the group’s dominant hen. All of the group’s hens place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest – though her own are given the prominent centre place. The dominant hen and male take turns incubating the giant eggs, each one of which weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs.
Here at Shaba our ostriches tend to be more monogamous and this couple have been together for a while and we were delighted with their brood of 12.
Sadly, after a few days the family reduced to 9 chicks – probably taken by smaller carnivores and raptors.
Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners. Adult ostriches can sprint up to 43 miles per hour. They use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running. An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can also be formidable weapons. Ostrich kicks can kill a human or a potential predator like a lion. Sadly young ostrich chicks have none of these attributes and are highly vulnerable, as we found out from this incredible picture taken by guest Dee Drummy – 1 poor chick taken by a martial eagle on, ironically, Friday 13th September.
Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand – though the parents must have been tempted after this occurrence.
On a happier note, Dee & Brian Drummy also took this fabulous pic of our aardwolf mum peeking out from her den. Mother & cub are doing extremely well!
Our trailcam is going from strength to strength – more in our next blog.
For now, kwaheri ya kuonana!
Karl & Sally (managers at Joy’s Camp)