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Day 7 (Saturday, 11th November)

In contrast to the usual format of morning and evening game drives, today the drivers decided to vary this by conducting a full day game drive with lunch al fresco. The objective was to leave at around 8:30 and head for the Talek River where Wildebeest often cross in season, with a late afternoon return. This we duly did and we left to begin the game drive. The first task of the day was to visit one of the local Masai villages, and on the way to this divert where necessary for anything interesting. A good initial sign for the day ahead was a ghostly male Pallid Harrier on the ground as we passed. A group of vultures, represented by Rüppell’s Griffon and White-backed, was on the ground in the distance and presumably at a carcass – they wouldn’t be the first such group that we would see through the day! After passing one or two Sooty Chats and a pair of perched Mosque Swallows, we left the reserve to savour the village. Once we had completed our tourist task, we returned again to the reserve to continue with the faunal delights, immediately chancing upon a pair of Ground Hornbills amongst the grazing Wildebeest. We then headed on through the plains to the North-west, and this is where we had some of he best big cat views yet. First was a little perplexing, when a female Lion was discovered under a bush with a dead Thomson’s Gazelle. The cat obviously wasn’t hungry, since it just played with the carcass, but it was also unusual for a gazelle to be caught by a Lion. The theory was that it had been stolen from another predator such as a Leopard or a Cheetah. We then caught up with a trio of Cheetahs prowling the plains – a mother and her well grown cubs. After shadowing them for a short distance, they caught sight of a pair of Thomson’s Gazelles, and as we made our way towards the unsuspecting antelope the Cheetahs started the stalk. Unfortunately (for us, not the gazelles!), they were spotted with time to spare, and we were treated to the exhilarating spectacle of a chasing Cheetah in full sprint. Following this, we rounded the three when they maintained a pose on a handy lookout mound.

Vulture tree

White-backed Vulture

Vulture tree

White-backed Vulture

Lappet-faced Vulture

Black Rhino

Lappet-faced Vulture

Black Rhinoceros

Cheetahs

Lions

Cheetah

Lion

Back on the tracks again, and we passed our first Northern White-crowned Shrike, along with one or two Lilac-breasted Rollers, until we arrived at the bridge over the Talek River. We stopped for a short break here, taking in one or two basking Hippos, Hammerkop, and a handful of Grey-backed Cameropteras. The spot for our picnic on the plains was just a short drive from here, where we noshed under the shade of a lone tree, with views over the grasslands with its incumbent herds, with the Serengeti of Tanzania visible in the distance. While we chomped, soaring Tawny & Martial Eagles were overhead, with the surrounding grasslands holding both Grassland & Plain-backed Pipits. The stream of Barn Swallows contained a single Banded Martin.
 

Picnic

Hippo

Picnic spot

Hippopotamus

On the return journey, we came across more Lions. One was a young unmaned male trying to get comfortable under a bush, and the other 2 resplendent old sleeping males finding peace under a copse. More vulture feeding frenzies around carcasses were seen, perhaps 3 or 4, with the closest and most nasal being around a dead Hippo near to the Tanzanian border. Most of the birds here were Rüppell’s Griffon & White-backed, but there were also a few Lappet-faced and a single Marabou Stork. After a celebratory Tusker beer back at Keekorok, the walk back to the room unearthed full breeding male African Paradise-flycatcher, Chinspot Batis, and a pair of Swahili Sparrows under our window. We returned to the Hippo pool, where Elephants had been reported passing. None were present, but we were treated to the sight of a single Cheetah posing on a mound in the distance.
 

Vultures

Ruppell's Griffon

Vultures at Hippo carcass

Ruppell's Griffon

Male lions

Jackal

Lion

Black-backed Jackal

Home

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Introduction

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Day 7

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