24 January 2020 - 1 February 2020


Joining our second Great Grevy's Rally! Again in our favorite place: Laikipia Wilderness Camp. The header-image shows a pride of lions feasting on a young giraffe. This is nature but we're both glad that we didn't see the kill...


Click on the map (on the right) for a detailed map of our complete trip.   

- Duration: 9 days
- Distance travelled: 1325 km
- Photos taken: 4221
- Photos camera trap: 5749
- Photos published: 491


Day 1 - Registration for Great Grevy’s Rally 2020 & Hyena puppies

01/24/2020

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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 our 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 watched 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

01/25/2020

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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 stayed optimistic but when we stopped 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.

Photos for The Great Grevy Rally 2020 (DAY 1). Only two Grevys today!


Day 3 - GGR2020 Day 2 & a leopard with a kill

01/26/2020

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The second day of the Great Grevy’s Rally and we almost forgot 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. Next an 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. 

We finish the evening with yet another sighting of a Small-spotted Genet (Common Genet).

Photos for The Great Grevy Rally 2020 (DAY 2). Only three Grevys today!


Day 4 - Taking it easy with guineafowl and dik-dik

01/27/2020

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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 the Purple Grenadier and a Black-necked Weaver, both 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 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

01/28/2020

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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.


Day 6 - Finding Wildcat again

01/29/2020

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Yesterday we asked Steve if we could stroll along the river to look for amphibians and insects. He advised to visit a swamp instead as it was renowned for waders as well. We walk around the swamp and Steve is right, lots of birds. We find two Yellow-billed ducks, a new bird for us. There are lots of frogs but because of the long grasses they are long gone when we approach and we only see flashes and hear splashes when they jump into the water. But we do find a pair of Elmenteita Rock Agama, which are endemic to Kenya.

After coffee we head for Ellie dam where we will have brunch. And then we hit gold: we find the Golden-breasted Starling! They have a metallic green head, a golden yellow breast and belly and metallic blue wings and tail. They are stunning.

After tea and cake we leave for another afternoon game drive. Unfortunately it looks like it will be raining later so there won’t be a bush dinner. But the positive side of this is that we have time to drive up to the plateau and look for the African Wild Cat again. Steve has a better spotlight so we hope to get better pictures then in 2018.

Our camera-traps have taken many pictures but none of the elusive Aardvark. When we stop for sundowners the sun actually makes an appearance and we enjoy the warmth and the colours of the golden hour.

Night drives in Laikipia Wilderness Camp are a highlight we look forward to every day. When you search for something particular, you see less other wildlife which can be disappointing if you don’t find what you’re looking for. But today we are lucky, we found the wild cat, nicely posing for pictures! And when we drive back to camp we even see a black and white flash of zorilla aka striped polecat.


Day 7 - Bush Dinner and finding Nightjars

01/30/2020

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Today we decide to search for the wild dogs again which means we have to travel some distance to get to higher ground to pick up a signal. On the way we found a great spot to set up the trail-cameras - in an almost dry riverbed below an aardvark hole and Mugambi found leopard tracks in the wet sand. Fingers crossed one of them will pass our cameras!

We have lunch at the river close to camp, a beautiful spot for birdwatching. It’s confirmed that we’ll have bush dinner tonight, the first since our stay here and something we look forward to. In the afternoon we tried to get a signal for the wild dogs again but no luck. The Gunther’s Dik-dik is a favorite species of both of us and they are plenty. Because they are common you almost forget to take pictures but today we decided we wanted to get a really great picture of a Dik-dik.

The improved weather condition means that we’ll have bush dinner, but also that the nightjars are out and about. We see the tiny Donaldson-smiths nightjar and the Dusky Nightjar. We arrive at our dinner site and find pots and pans on the campfire. It’s the ultimate dinner experience, staring in the fire while eating a delicious home cooked dinner.

On our way back to camp we pay a visit to the hyena den and some cubs are sleeping outside, lying close together against the cold.


Day 8 - Impala in a tree

01/31/2020

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Today we’ll look for wild dogs again. We stop close to a kopje to try and get a signal from the dogs but suddenly we spot a fleeing leopard and an impala up in a tree. We wait a bit but she doesn’t return so we decide to check on it later.

The hunt for wild dogs leads us in the direction of Nanyuki but they seem to be on the Ol Jogi property and we have to give up. We do some birding instead and find beautiful birds, including the Pied Wheatear.

We have brunch at the waterfall. This is the best spot for lunch with shade, the sound of rushing water and lots or insects and amphibians.

In the afternoon we find a beautiful herd of elephants and resting bat-eared foxes. We go back to the impala carcass and see that it has been eaten from, but we don’t see the leopard. We decide to set-up one of the camera- traps to see if she comes to visit in the night.

Tonight we have a private bush dinner - our last evening and we are thrilled that the weather is permitting another bush-dinner. It’s just us, the cook and the guides and we have a nice chat. They are much easier to talk to when management isn’t around.

After dinner we set up the second trap in camp, close to Mugambi’s house, to see what visits us at night. It is our last evening and the weather is still lovely so we have a last drink at the campfire that awaits us at the camp.


Day 9 - All good things come to an end

02/01/2020

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When we wake-up it rains. We pick-up the camera-trap at the site of the impala-carcass. The carcass is in another position but the trap hasn’t recorded any pictures. It was difficult to find a suitable bush to set it up and the carcass was probably out of range.

We drive up the escarpment and have coffee. It’s a perfect spot with a view. We see how an elephant mother and calf are chased by a big bull. The bull catches up and we see the calf waiting while the adults go about their business.

All good things come to an end and after brunch we pack our stuff and get ready to leave. On the way to Nanyuki we spot several species we haven’t seen the whole week: greater kudu and gerenuk.

In nanyuki we say goodbye to Mugambi and meet CJ who will drive us to the airport. We stop half-way to stretch our legs and get some drinks. It’s the same spot as last time so we check if the fruit bats are still roosting in the same tree, and they are! We arrive at the airport at 6pm and it is raining cats and dogs. We find a nice place to eat and have one last ‘sundowner’ before we fly back to Holland. The weather wasn’t our best friend this time but we have had another fantastic stay at Laikipia Wilderness Camp.

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