We woke at 545am and left at 615am alone in the truck with Charles. The New Yorkers have moved on to their next African camp (lucky sods) and this is our last game drive of the trip.
Whilst watching a bunch of lion cubs mucking about around a kill before dawn, we heard alarm calls close by coming from 3 black-backed jackals and decided to investigate. As we neared Charles worked out that one of the jackals (they always move in pairs) had been taken and he suspected a Leopard. The Jackals were surrounding a lugga and so we assumed the Leopard was still inside the bushes hiding somewhere within. Some clever maneuvering from Charles and we had a perfect view of what appeared to be Fig's sister staring out from the bushes at us; no sooner had I fired off a couple of shots when she bolted out of the greenery and across open space to the next group of shrubs. She was fast and without a kill - the Jackals continued barking and calling in a strange high-pitched yelp - but she was gone - and we suspect her kill well hidden for her return later. Getting hungry we moved off to a lovely spot for breakfast with frogs calling and spent some time taking background scenic shots which often get forgotten on these trips. I took lots of the various patterns that can be seen in the bark, the rocks, the mud and the grasses - but the temperature was rising fast and a seat in shade eating fresh fruit was much more preferable.
After breakfast we ventured back to Fig's territory for last time and saw no sign of her kill, so either hyenas stole it, or she has brought it down and hidden it again. Bye bye beautiful Fig, wherever you are - and we hope after last week's events you are indeed pregnant!
Passing some truly stunning scenery we saw Africa's tiniest Kingfisher, The African Pygmy, which was another lifer for me. (I can't quite believe I am actually keeping a record of the bird's I've seen - how did that happen?).
The next creature we passed was even more obliging and wandered right up to the truck to Caro's waiting lens - A male leopard tortoise. Charles reckons it was about 50 years old! - certainly seemed friendly enough. Soon after we found Mohican (the male Lion) lounging under a tree with a young, but very dead, untouched buffalo at his feet. But the stench of his continual farting put us off hanging around and we headed back to camp. Sad to be leaving, but hopeful for the future of the animals in the Mara. They have some great protection and despite the two dead cheetahs, everything seems to be going ok for them right now.
Ole Sereni for dinner (which overlooks Nairobi National Park), before going on to the airport as our flight was not until almost midnight. The same BA night flight as Richard and his student, Dave, in fact.
Thank fully we were pretty shattered by the time the plane took off and managed to sleep/doze most of the way home - but arriving in the UK was a definite slap in the face - we arrived at 6am in the dark and cold, and I was back at my desk in the office by 9am! Definitely time to book the next trip - Puma's in Patagonia maybe?
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins