25 Januari 2018 - 1 Februari 2018

We're going for the Great Grevy Rally but will  stay a few days longer in Laikipia Wilderness Camp.

The header-image shows a big male leopard. Laikipia has plenty and this is really the place to see them.

- Duration: 8 days 
- Photos taken: 10400
- Photos published: NOT READY

Day 1  -   Flight to Nairobi

Today we depart from Schiphol airport at 11:45 and arrive at 21:50 local time at Jomo Kenyatta airport. We stay at Jacaranda Nairobi Hotel were we have stayed before.

Day 2  -  Register for the rally and arrive in Laikipia Wilderness Camp

We wake up excited to start this adventure. Laikipia Wilderness Camp was our favourite camp last year and we look forward to being in that wilderness again. After an early breakfast we are picked up by the driver and on our way to Nanyuki Sports club to register for the Great Grevy’s Rally. Halfway we stop for refreshments and a local gentleman gestured us to follow him. Roosting in a tree close to the main road was a family of epauletted fruit bats. They look like the bats we saw in Maramagambo forest in Uganda, only now we can get much closer.

In Nanyuki we register for the Great Grevy’s Rally and get instructions on how to synchronize our cameras and how to photograph both the grevy zebra and reticulated giraffe. Afterwards we drive to Mpala Research center where Steven, one of the Camp’s guides is waiting for us. It’s great to be back in this part of Kenya. At camp we settle in and after tea we go on a game drive. We spot our first Grevy Zebra and hope to see many more tomorrow!

Day 3  -  Great Grevy’s Rally day 1

This morning we meet the couple that we are teamed up with for the rally. After synchronising our cameras we leave camp and almost immediately we have a great sighting of a leopard. We drive and enjoy the scenery, see lots of birds, but no Grevy’s Zebra. It takes over 2 hours before we can record our first sighting of three zebra’s. We have to take a clear picture of the right sight of each animal so the computer software can identify them by their coat pattern, just like fingerprinting. After another hour we find 4 more. Mugambi has to drive through bushes to reach them and this gave it all a very adventurous feeling.

We find a tower of 12 giraffes. We patiently wait till they have all turned the right way so we can take a picture from their right side. When we lose track of which animals we have shot and which one we still have to shoot, we just start over. There are 4 cameras clicking and after 10 minutes we reckon we have them all. We stop for lunch close to a dam and are entertained by elephant families visiting for a drink and a mud bath.

After tea we head out again. We find some more giraffes but no Grevy’s zebra. Our count for today is only 8 animals. It’s getting dark and that means game drive turns into a night drive. This evening’s most exciting find is Ashe’s spitting cobra, the largest cobra in Kenya. It’s been a great day and we look forward to finding more Grevy’s Zebra tomorrow.

Photos for The Great Grevy Rally 2018. We took plenty more but we will only post one photo for each individual.

Day 4  -  Great Grevy’s Rally day 2

At 6:45 we synchronise our cameras and are ready to head out for day 2 of the rally. We are very lucky that Sheila and her husband love birds as much as we do so we can stop to take pictures as much as we like. Today we spot the first zebra’s at 7:45. It’s a group of 3 including 1 foal. Mugambi tells us that the legs of the young zebra are almost as long as the legs of the adults. This means that when they are in a group, predators can’t spot the more vulnerable foals.

Today we have lunch at another dam and again we enjoy the elephants. Then a huge tower of reticulated giraffes arrive and it’s back to work: take pictures of the right side of every individual. It’s amazing to see so many of these beautiful and elegant animals.

When we head out again after tea we spot a lone stallion. Grevy’s Zebra are territorial and the stallions don’t live in harems. When we log off (after 12 hours) we have spotted 6 Grevy’s zebra, bringing the total of our count to 14 individuals. After a stop for sundowners we spot a herd of no less than 8 grevy’s zebra!

Day 5  -  Morning walk, bush dinner and an excellent night drive

This morning we are the only guests and choose to go on a walk with Steve. We walk down to the Ewaso Narok River. We see lots of birdlife and find a group of peacefully sleeping hippo with smiles on their faces. We spot waterbuck and a male impala comes down to the river for a drink. It is amazing to encounter wildlife on foot.

In the afternoon new guests have arrived. They don’t care much for birds but they don’t mind us requesting a stop to watch birds. The night drive is exciting again. We spot an East-african Garter Snake, a sleeping baby elephant and a spotted hyena. We stop for a bush dinner. It’s impossible to describe how special this is. Sitting around a campfire, watching the pots on the glowing embers and the flames next to it. The smells and the sounds of the bush. Enjoying a gin and tonic. Eating a ridiculously good meal. Chatting with the guides and the cook about living in Kenya.

When you think it can’t get better than this, it does. On the way back to camp we spot a leopard, a striped hyena, a white-tailed mongoose and spotted thick-knee.

Day 6  -  Birdwatching and spotting carnivores

Although we did like the walking safari we choose for a game drive today. From a vehicle it’s easier to come close to birds without scaring them away and by covering more distance there’s a chance to see more wildlife.

Today is carnivore day. Minutes after we leave camp we find a spotted Hyena soon followed by a lone lioness and some more hyena’s. Later we find a den occupied by two curious young bat-eared foxes and a parent keeping watch close by.

At yet another dam we watch elephants. The guides notice the giraffes are all looking at a particular spot and reckon there must be a predator. And there it is, a beautiful leopard. We watch while it leisurely walks between the giraffes to the water’s edge for a drink.

In the afternoon we go on a birdwatching drive while the other guests go for a walk. We spot straw-tailed whydah, Brown Parrot’s, a honeyguide and rufous chatterer which are very difficult to photograph.

After sundowners we head up to the plateau, in search of the wild cat. We are incredibly lucky and do find a wild cat! It’s dark and the spotlight isn’t very bright but we get a good look at the wild cat. Amazing just how much they look like our house cats. On the way back to camp we spot an aardwolf but it’s too fast to get a proper picture in this light. Again we had an incredible day with amazing sightings.

Day 7  -  Searching for wild dogs and getting lost after dark

Today we decided to look for wild dogs. They have been spotted on the neighbouring property but maybe they have crossed the river to our side.

Last night everybody except us heard the hyena’s calling so we first check out their den and find some youngsters at home. Later we find a herd of eland antelope. This is the biggest antelope in Africa but they are very very shy.

In the afternoon we find a fresh impala kill so we know there has to be a leopard nearby. We spot it and wait for it to get back to the kill. It’s checking us out but it's not comfortable with us around. We decide to leave it in peace so it can save it’s kill and come back to look for it later. While waiting we are checked out by a huge elephant bull. He comes real close with ears wide, a very impressive sight.

When we reach the river Mugambi sees something move on the other side and thinks it’s the dogs. We search and look and search some more but don’t see any dogs.

On our return we check for the impala carcass but it’s gone. We do find an impala calf and hope she’s old enough to survive without her mother.

Tonight we have bush dinner again. We are to meet the others at one of the dams. Mugambi knows where it is and how to get there. Sort of. In the dark we take a wrong turn and are lost. Surrounded by elephants we try to find our way. Mugambi contacts the others and they shine a light. We are on the wrong side of the dam. It takes another half hour to find the dinner-site where we are welcomed with a G&T and a great dinner.

Day 8  -  Last search for the Wild dogs and fly back home

Today is the last day of our holiday and we decide to drive the same track as yesterday afternoon - hoping to see the wild dogs and maybe the leopard with the impala carcass. We don’t find them but we do see a lovely couple of black-backed jackals. We also find two buffalo bulls, one with very impressive horns. We see more elephants at the dams. One of the little ones is performing a show and you can clearly see he’s not completely in control of his trunk yet.

On our way to the airport we meet Steve, the camp owner, who has just spotted the wild dogs. We say our goodbyes and promise we’ll be back, probably for the Great Grevy’s Rally 2020. Staying at Laikipia Wilderness Camp is an extraordinary pleasure and the GGR added something even more special.

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