24 January 2020 - 1 February 2020 > 9 days
Joining our second Great Grevy's Rally! Again in our favorite place: Laikipia Wilderness Camp.
Don't forget to click on the maps to open very detailed Google maps (created using a Garmin GPS tracker) of the specific days of our holiday.
Day 1 - Registration for Great Grevy’s Rally 2020 & Hyena puppies
We meet our driver Charles at the airport and are off to Nanyuki at 8:00am. After a 4-hour drive with a bit of rain, we arrived at Cape Chestnut to register for the Great Grevy’s Rally. We buy some caps and shirts for the team and receive are camera-ID cards and instructions.
After registration we meet Mugambi and he’ll drive us into camp. We were hoping to meet Mugambi again as he was a great guide in de GGR2018. As we leave Nanyuki behind, our holiday really kicks off. The Laikipia landscape is beautiful and really green this time.
We are welcomed at camp with a late lunch and shown to our tent. We’re in the honeymoon tent which is the most private with excellent views. After unpacking and refreshing it’s time for tea and we’re off for our first game drive.
As we drive along the river Mugambi observes a flock of Superb Starling who are upset about something. There is something in the tree and they are harassing it. We investigate and find Verreaux's Eagle-Owl. Later we find Grevy’s Zebra and are optimistic about tomorrow’s count.
After sundowner we stop at the Hyena den close to camp. The cute puppies are out and about. We watch this happy bunch for a while and headed back to camp. After one last drink at campfire we are off to bed and looking forward to the start of the Rally tomorrow.
Day 2 - GGR2020 Day 1 & a perfect genet sighting
Today is serious business. We’re going to search as much of the area as possible to make sure we find every Grevy’s Zebra on this ranch. After ‘syncing’ our camera’s we’re off at 6.45am. We drive and search and go to higher ground to see if we can find any Grevy’s Zebra. Not one in sight. We drive some more and look left and right between the bushes. We find lot’s of birds but no Grevy’s. Last time we found the first Grevy at 11:15am so we stay optimistic but when we stop for lunch close to a dam we still haven't found a single Grevy's Zebra.
During lunch we learn from others who are not participating in the Rally that they have seen a Grevy close to the road so we immediately drive to that spot. It’s a stallion that posed nicely for us to take pictures of his right side.
After siesta and tea we drive out again just after 4pm. We drive past the stallion we saw before and take some more pictures. We are determined to find more Grevy's and continue our search. It’s almost 6pm when we find our second Grevy. He’s far away and we have to do some serious off-road driving for 15 minutes to get close to it. This one looks unhappy with a wound on its neck and hanging ears. We take pictures of his right side and leave him alone.
We have our sundowner and are happy that in the end we did manage to find two Grevy’s. We speculate that the zebras may be in a different region because of the lush vegetation. When we participated in the Rally in 2018 it was much drier.
Now it’s time for a night drive, the highlight of each day in Laikipia Wilderness Camp. We find the nocturnal Small-spotted Genet which we haven’t seen before. They have long black and white ringed tails and very distinct patches on the face. After a curious look at us they go back to hunting insects for food. A great sighting to end the day with.
Day 3 - GGR2020 Day 2 & a leopard with a kill
The second day of the Great Grevy’s Rally and we almost forget to sync the camera’s. Today we will search the other half of the 80 km2 ranch. We stop for coffee next to the river and Hans finds a beautiful caterpillar. We try to take pictures of the frogs or toads but they jump too fast and disappear completely.
On the plateau we find an African Grey Hornbill which is a rare sighting in this area.
We have lunch at the waterfall, a beautiful spot that we haven’t seen on previous visits. It’s rally day so we do not linger long and continue our search after lunch.
After tea we finally spot a couple of Grevy’s Zebra. They are too far away to take clear pictures and we have to get closer. We can’t drive straight to them and have to circle round. We do some serious off-road driving, even cutting away branches. It takes 45 minutes before we find the first pair, a mother with foal. We take pictures and go search for the other 3, a stallion and a mother with a young foal. We really try and look behind every bush but they have vanished.
Then Mugambi hears an alarm call from an Oryx and immediately he is alert - could there be a leopard around? We follow the calls and sure enough we find a leopard! The alarming Oryx turned out to be a Waterbuck.
Although we haven’t seen much sun today we stop for a sundowner and Mugambi and Francis set up the spotlights for the nightdrive. We spot a white-tailed mongoose and are very pleased with the new spotlights because this is the first time we have a really clear view (and pictures) of the Mongoose. We finish the evening with another excellent Leopard sighting: a female leopard with a fresh kill. It’s just a hare and we leave her in peace to finish her meal.
Day 4 - Taking it easy with guineafowl and dik-dik
After two long days of searching every inch of the ranch for Grevy’s Zebra we decide that today will be an easy day, looking for the abundant Vulturine Guineafowl and Gunther’s Dik-dik. They are actually two of our favourite animals so we are quite happy to see many of them without having to work for it. Impala are very pretty antelopes and also abundant so we add them to the wishlist.
As a bonus we find a family of Bat-eared Foxes. To add some difficulty we decide we want to take a great picture of D’Arbaud’s Barbet.
We have brunch on a platform behind camp overlooking the river. It’s very tranquil and there are no other guests. On our way back to camp we spot a Black-necked Weaver, a first for us.
After tea we go out again and spot more dik-diks, just as we had planned. At a seemingly fresh Aardvark hole we set-up our camera-trap. Aardvarks normally are active after 9pm and are difficult to find on a night drive, maybe we can catch one with our traps.
We find a Grevy’s Zebra and although the Rally is over, we decide to take pictures of each individual as it may be useful for research purposes.
On the night-drive we find Three-banded Courser, a nocturnal bird like the Spotted thick-knee. We have dinner at camp and after that coffee at the campfire. When we go to sleep we hear hyena whooping but, as always, we will sleep through the roaring of the lions.
Day 5 - Lion’s feeding on giraffe and Hyena stealing the last bones
Today we plan to search for the wild dogs and see if we can get a signal of the collared dog. We’re only 15 minutes out when we receive a call from camp: a lot of sound from lions and hyenas is heard close to camp and do we want to check it out. Yes of course, let’s see what it is all about.
We find 8 lions feeding on a giraffe carcass. Some are done feeding and are dozing after a good meal. There is lots of snarling between the lions when they fight over the best bits that are left.
They are surrounded by spotted hyena, we count about 20 of them. The lions are fiercely protecting the leftovers and we decide to have a coffee. When we come back, the lioness drags the remains to the other side of the bushes and immediately the hyenas check for bits and pieces that are left behind.
After lunch we climb the rock behind camp and sit on the rocking chair with an amazing view. As we climb down we see lots of butterflies, lizards and some very cute bush hyraxes.
After tea we head back to the lions at exactly the right time. The hyenas have gathered the courage to take over what’s left of the carcass. Some are lucky and escape with legs and bones.
Our camera traps haven't captured any Aardvark during the night and we decide to set up the cameras close to a different hole. After sundowners we visit the hyena den on our way back to camp where we are welcomed with G&Ts at the campfire.