I am saddened with news that Kanyonyi, the silver back with Mubare group of gorillas in Bwindi has died. The news got to me a bit late but still shocking. Kanyonyi was the dominant male in the group and used to like climbing trees despite his weight. It was during such climbs that he fell down and broke his hip. This was in September last year despite treatment, he became less mobile for about 2 months. After which a new black back came into the area and managed to take the females away from Kanyonyi who was now helpless. Once the females were safely away he came and fought the now helpless Kanyonyi inflicting fatal injuries. He died 3 days later on 9th December. I took the photo attached in June. I am sad that i will not see him on my many subsequent visits this year. RIP Kanyonyi
Kanyonyi doing what he liked doing... climbing trees!
(I would like to apologise for the 2 blanks posts that were sent our earlier. I noted the system changed the font colour to white, making the words invisible) Here below is a repeat of one of the posts.
happy to introduce to you the first photographic competition completely
dedicated to the greater Maasai Mara. As a means of showcasing to the world the
extraordinary photographic potential and superb game viewing of the Mara
throughout the year we have started a new competition: The Greatest Maasai Mara
Photographer of the Year 2018. Anyone can enter by visiting
entry fee is 1000 Kenyan Shillings or USD 20 per photograph. 100% of the money
goes to one of the 6 conservation partners and you get to decide which one to
month we choose a winner and at the end of the year we choose the best out of
the monthly winners. The prize is huge…USD 10,000 in cash and a 5 night safari
at the lovely Angama Mara lodge including internal flights and a private
photographic vehicle. In addition to this whoever the guide is of the winning
photographer will walk away with a brand new Gypsy Maruti car! If the
guide takes the winning photo then he/she walks away with the whole lot: money,
flights, accommodation and car.
The month of January, February and early march, has been a season of great sightings in the Mara, despite the absence of the wildebeest. There are people who associate the Mara only with the migration. But there is plenty to see. All you need is different eyes.
This year, just like the last few, has seen the number of wildebeests calving in the Mara going up. We have been seeing many wildebeests with young calves on the conservancies of Olare-Motorogi and Naboisho and also on the middle-eastern edge of the reserve. These were calving at the same time as the ones in Serengeti, though they are few.
Because of the number of cats and other predators in the areas mentioned above, predation on the calves has been quite high. They are often taken as easy prey. Some of the lion prides, like Engoyanai, which has few small cubs, has taken advantage of the season of plenty to feed their young. We saw so many hunts by all predators since the calving started.
Big cats sighting in general has been great. Fig, the leopard, on OM conservancy continued to treat us and our guests with great shows. She and her cubs are always a joy when spotted. Kaboso, Bahati, Siri and Lorian, our other leopards in the reserve also gave us good sightings. We had good cheetah sightings over the period too. The 5 male cheetah coalition was seen in the reserve through out the period also were another 3 cheetahs, 2 males and a female who are siblings found on OM. We also had Malaika and her cubs entertain us, though we lost her early this month and have not been seen again.
General game viewing was great, with the most of February being the rutting season for Topis. They were seen all over the Mara in their usual “leks”. It would require you to sit and watch them for a while to understand how their courtship works. Although most places in the reserve now have tall grass, there are many places too with short grass, and this is where most herbivores are found.
We were worried earlier in February that the Mara river will stop flowing, when the water level went really low, but rains just came in time and now its running normally.
most of my guest over the period were professional photographers. Kindly follow this link to see one of the photographers work. R.H. Photography
am worried we may have lost Malaika,
the cheetah in Masai Mara. There is a suspicion that she may have drowned
crossing Olare Orok yesterday morning. When i saw her two days ago crossing the
same river by double crossing area from the east going west onto Rhino ridge
where she stayed for 2 days. The day before yesterday in the evening, we
watched her trying to hunt some Impala though she failed after some Hyaenas
showed up. When we woke up yesterday morning we found the cubs on the banks of
a raging Olare Orok river, calling as they stared into the river. They did this
almost half a day before withdrawing a shot distance away, then rested under a
tree for the rest of the day. ( we saw this behavior when Malaika lost a cub to
a croc on the Talek sometimes back) This morning they came to the same spot on
the river on the river and after calling briefly, they braved and jumped into
the river and crossed. They river was still high but lower than yesterday.
There are two big crocs at the same spot, which can be seen basking on the
banks. Now the big question, could Malaika have drowned trying to cross or has
she just abandoned the cubs to fend for themselves? She mated with the 5
musketeers about 2 weeks ago and i think if she is now expecting some new comes
in 3 months, then its possible she may have abandoned the cubs to live on their
own since they have now come of age. Should anybody see her alive.... please
share the info
Over the last one week, i have been following the wildebeests in Serengeti on my safari.
At the moment there are still some herds coming from the north, streaming across Namiri plains, (Serengeti East) and some are still in small pockets around Seronera in the central part. However, the majority are around Naabi gate west to Hidden valley, some were at Olpaaye north for river Simiyu about 3 days ago.
However, major herds are now coming out of the woodlands of Maswa game reserve into Kusini plains and somehow taking south easterly direction. I am headed back again in few days and will update.
Zebras on the dry plains of Namiri
Zebras come to drink at waterhole on Namiri plains
Many lions in South Serengeti now having cubs in time for the season of plenty
Herds head south from Namiri plains
Beasts on the move
Zebra take time to rest and watch each others back while resting from the migration
With the arrival of the unusual rains after a long dry spell, has brought relief to the animals in our game reserves. There were a lot of activities in the Mara in the past week. When the rains started falling on the dry and parched plains, all animals especially herbivores are now hopeful for some new shoots of grass that will sprout following the rains. The situation had got very bad, with little for most grazers to feed on. Mostly affected were the hippos, many of whom could be seen in the middle of the day frantically trying to grasp at least some bites of the dry grass. This is unusual for them to be feeding out on the plains under a scorching sun with temperatures sometimes at 32°C. Many can still be seen out feeding in the day because the rain has not changed anything much. We have counted quite a few Hippos dead either on plains or near the river. The vultures and hyaenas were having a feast. Buffalos though highly dependent on water are not as badly affected as the hippos, likewise with other herbivores, gazelles etc.
The beginning of this month also marked the start of the outbound departure of the migrating herds especially wildebeest and zebra from the reserve. This is normal and expected at this time. Most wildebeest are now heading back to their breeding grounds, east to the Loita plains and south into Serengeti. Currently there are small herds on the lower Mara triangle crossing south into Kogatende area. On the eastern side of the river there some herds towards the sand river gate and Keekorok area and near roan hill all heading south. The remaining herds, which used to form what we called the loiter herds are now heading into the neighboring conservancies since access and residing in the Loita plains is becoming less and less.
All the lion pride prides in our game viewing territory are still around and actively hunting the remnant wildebeests and resident herbivores. Cheetah sighting has likewise been superb. In the Mara there is a popular coalition of 5 males that have kept our guests entertained by their appearance and hunting activities. They continue to roam around Rhino ridge down to Burrungat plains. Their hunting strategies leave everyone stunned by their agility and determination. They hunt animals previously believed to be least on the Cheetahs menu, from adult Topi, wildebeest, Impala etc. Apart from these, there are other individual cheetahs that we see regularly.Leopard sightings are also very good.
Lion sightings are good
The wildebeest departing for Serengeti
The 5 male cheetah coalition
The river pride
There are many other animals even without the wildebeests
We just returned from a great primate trip to Uganda. our
trip took us to some of the key places of interest as below, with the highlight
being a great experience watching and photographing the big apes. We started
our trip in Entebbe then Kibale forest, Queen Elizabeth, then Bwindi forest.
Although our main goal was the big apes, we also enjoyed general game as well
as the people we met or interacted along the way. Below is a short info about
the places we went. I have also attached some photos of the big apes from the
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most
varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with
patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the
park on an elevated plateau.
The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most
famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Rich in biodiversity and beautiful scenery, the wetland is a
birder’s paradise with about 138 species. Located outside the park in Magombe
Swamp it also hosts eight species of primates including the black-and-white
colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s and blue monkeys, and
olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be found here. The sanctuary
was set up to preserve the exclusive environmental features along with the
wetland and is managed by the local community.
The Kazinga channel
The Kazinga Channel is an oasis for many of the fascinating
species that inhabit the park, and taking a boat tour along it gives visitors
the chance to cruise just meters from hundreds of enormous hippos and buffalos
while elephants linger on the shoreline.
An average of 60 bird species can be spotted during the
Bwindi Impenetrable forest
This is the home of the gorillas. The park is inhabited by a
population of about 340 individuals of Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei
beringei), commonly referred to as the Bwindi population, which makes up almost
half of all the mountain gorillas remaining in the world. The rest of the
worldwide mountain gorilla population is in the nearby Virunga Mountains which
is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The major threat
to these mountain gorillas is poaching, habitat loss and disease, however,
since 1997; there has been a gradual increase in the mountain gorilla
population in Bwindi. Your visit here is incomplete until you partake in
community tour, which is an experience that gives you an insight into real