You can’t help but admire the optimism of the vulture. Like the holidaymaker who can’t bear to dispose of his tatty twenty drachma note from his 1988 Corfu package – on the off chance it may come in handy someday – the vulture displays similar perception. Ben Forbes is not short of perception either and is a great friend of Kicheche, but has been away for too long for both his and our liking. Within a day of being in the company of ‘Kicheche Mara Camps resident wildlife magician’ Joseph Sengeny’ he had a young male lion chasing away a mass of frenzied vultures from its recently purloined kill.
He writes: ‘A family safari to Africa with young children can be a tricky affair. Attention spans that are shorter than gnats eye-lashes and unpredictable reactions to alien environments mean the guide has his work cut out. With a bewildering choice of safari habitats to choose from it took all of five minutes to settle on Kenya and the Masai Mara. After 20 years of photographic safaris, the Mara is the one place that has never let me down.
Joseph is a silver rated guide with eyes like a hawk and ability to educate and entertain in equal measure. Mara North in June is a private nature reserve of 30,000 hectares! Hour after hour we explored the plains and thickets with mchawi (the magician) setting up one world-class animal encounter after another. His nose for wildlife meant we sat feet from tumbling lion cubs that had our girls giggling with joy before introducing us to a beautiful breeding herd of elephants that induced silence.On a morning walk the following day, Joseph introduced the girls to the basics of animal tracking. With elephants in the far distance, we trooped alongside a column of safari ants before watching them invade a termite mound in a textbook pincer attack. It was rippling excitement from dawn to dusk. Joseph’s parting gifts were a lioness resting up a tree and a perfectly-lit leopard climbing down from its larder and sauntering through the grass giving my wife the the big cat photo of her life, thanks to his vehicle positioning. Surely nothing was going to beat our game-rich drives and the lovely stream-side setting of Mara Camp? Driving across to Kicheche Valley in the Naboisho Conservancy, we were rewarded with …read more
If you would like to subscribe to our weekly ‘Spots’ please click here.