Ethan Kinsey Safaris

Adventures in East Africa

Posts tagged Celebration
Happy New Year- day 2.
 

It was the 2nd of January. The 1st had been amazing, and now we headed toward Naabi across the short grass plains. A rainstorm had soaked the soil and driving very cautiously, you could almost feel the vibrant green growth in the morning sunlight. Scattered across the plains were small groups of gazelle. Female Thomson gazelles moved around in little herds, male Thomsons actively tried to set up temporary territories, while Grant’s gazelles wandered around in groups, the males strutting their horns.

Meanwhile in a patch of slightly taller vegetation, a small group of females stood around, snorting the alarm.

One of the things we warn in guide training is not to jump to conclusions. As I stood in my seat scanning for the predator that they might be snorting at, I was not seeing what was really happening. Almost giving up, I looked back at the gazelle as one female turned, the front hooves and head of a baby protruding out of her rear. The pictures below say the rest. What joy!

Returning to the road, an unusual movement caught my attention as two honey badgers lumbered by. The day was getting better and better. It was nearly time for a coffee break. I love slowing down and allowing time to observe, even if there is nothing apparent to watch. After a good look with binoculars across the plains, I decided to stop next to a tree for coffee. A few minutes later as we packed the coffee bag away, a female cheetah with her two cubs stood up a few hundred meters away. Perfect timing? 

 
Celebratory Safari
 

The moon rises as we enjoy sitting around a fire.

The new season kicked off to a wonderful celebratory safari for a well-earned birthday. Two nights in Ngorongoro, three in Serengeti and then a four-day Rwanda trip to see the Mountain Gorillas made for a sweet safari. So here's how we celebrated:

After breakfast on the verandah of the tent, we went for a game drive. Driving around a bush we encountered this impala giving birth- which seemed fitting for a birthday sighting.

The landscapes in northern Serengeti provide a quintessential backdrop to the wildlife sightings in the area. These 500 million year old kopjies provide refuge for lions and leopards. Rock-splitting fig trees (Ficus glumosa) find tiny spaces to establish themselves sending their roots through the cracks in the rocks. Some of them are very old like the one below.

What a perfect tree to have a picnic lunch! The rock at the base was also the perfect table top.

Rounding off the day with sun-downers on a rock with a view.

The celebrations continued in Rwanda with two gorilla treks. Gorilla groups are named after the silverback, the dominant male. We treked to Kwitonda group where this little rascal entertained us for nearly half an hour, and the next day to Agashya group where the weather made it too dark to photograph or film. The Agashya gorillas retreated in the mist and sat in a semi-circle in a cathedral of bamboo.

Kwitonda, the dominant silverback has 4 females and 14 children. He is accompanied by 2 other silverbacks

Gorilla individuals are easily (easily to some) identified by the unique pattern of wrinkles on their nose. By comparing nose prints on the family tree above and the rascal in the video below, I believe his name is Karibu.