Safari Moments That Stick With You Forever
By Britta Foulis – Content Marketing Manager
As we close the curtains on another year, what could be better than looking back at some of our most epicsafaristories? We’ve rounded up some of our favourite stories from our past guests and guides as well – genuine experiences that will live forever in their minds.
We hope the following tales inspire you to head on out of your comfort zone and do something new and exciting this year – perhaps even booking that dream safari trip you’ve been dreaming to go on?
Bee Invasion at The Highlands
as told by Cai Tjeenk Willink
During the construction of The Highlandsin Ngorongoro, we had gotten to the point where the camp was nearly finished. One thing we noticed was that the prolific bee population in the area had become very interested in these new structures that had arisen in their forest.
Once the chimneys were installed in the rooms, the bees decided that the domes were a perfect place for new nests! For about 2 weeks we had thousands of bees infesting our chimneys and rooms, and we had no idea how to manage this situation. Eventually, with advice from bee experts, we bought (and donated to the local community) a lot of beehives, and once these were placed in the general vicinity of the rooms, the bees started to relocate to more preferred nesting grounds and left the comfort of our domes for our guests to enjoy as intended!
as told by Stephanie Binns
Sammy, my guide took me out on my own private game drive one evening in the Naboisho Conservancy. We saw a beautiful sunset and then went looking for what we could find. Sammy came across an elephant in a nearby bush, as we got closer, we saw that a whole herd was hiding in the thickets. It’s amazing that these gigantic animals can hide so easily behind the cover of the bushes! We sat there watching them grazing on the trees and bushes, the crunch of the bark and breaking of branches was clear and crisp to hear.
To the left of us, 20 meters away, we could see a pride of lions, well actually a male lion with 4 juveniles, 1-year-olds, 3 boys and 1 girl. Sammy drove us over to them so we couldsee them up close.I asked Sammy why the mature male was looking after them, as from what I had read this was usually the duty of the female lions. He said that these juveniles, would either be his direct children or a niece or nephew and that the unlucky guy was just busy with babysitting duty. The juveniles played with the big male, purring and pawing at him, wanting him to play along with them.
Sammy suddenly looked to our right, he could hear buck making warning calls. He got his binoculars out and starting looking in the direction of the bleeting. Sammy waited and watched and said “Cheetah!”. I was very excited, as Sammy pointed the vehicle in the direction of the cheetahs. Off we drove, for about 5 mins, until we came across 2 brother cheetahs under atree. I was so impressed that Sammy had been able to hear and see the cheetahs from so far away, what a sighting! I was so fortunate and had the whole sighting all to myself. We had just missed the brothers make a kill. Their paws and faces were bloody, and they were laying in the shade of the tree, cleaning each other after their morning snack. We sat there and watched them for a good 20 mins, then one of the brothers got up and walked away, we followed him to see what he would do, maybe he was still hungry? There were a lot of buck around. He walked quite a distance from his brother and then started to call for him, what a wonderful sound to hear. The brother was clearly very full and lazy now thanks to his breakfast snack and decided he wasn’t going to move from the shade of the tree. We watched as the roaming brother made his way back to under the shady tree for a nap. Only then did another vehicle arrive, so it really was a real privilege to have these brothers all to ourselves.
Sammy’s guiding skills are impeccable and he is a real asset to Naboisho Camp and their team of talented guides!
Those Who Learn To Survive, & Those That Don’t…
as told by Kanael Kaaya, a guide at The Highlands
The female cheetah and her cub had been looking for prey all day in the heavy forest of the Ndutuarea but in vain. They decided to take a break under the shade of a treewhen anAfricanWarthog showed up and started to gaze at the cheetah family. The cheetah cub had onlyrecently started to learn how to hunt, so he doesn’t have the skill to confront a full-grownWarthog yet.
Remember the head of a Warthogis a single bone structure, so youhave tobite its neck to bring it down. But the little cheetah cub wouldn’t know that yet – he had never experienced warthogs before. He just circled around it until he was chased away in complete humiliation by theWarthog.
That’s when the cheetah cub noticed a wildebeest calf who had lost his mother. The cheetahcub was approaching the wildebeest calf that he had just discovered when the mother cheetahlaunched a surprise attack on the wildebeest calf herself.The wildebeest calf who had been wandering around started to gallop away in utter fear. But, it was too late. The wildebeest was grabbed by the neck almost instantly.
The cheetah cub had been learning how to hunt and survive, but the wildebeest calf obviouslyhadn’t.Hehadn’t learned the necessary survival skills from his mother. So,to have a mother or not in the wilderness is a matter of life or death for the baby animals.
The mother for the calf who was grabbed no doubt had wanted to keep its calf safe. But the calf would never survive a single day without the protection ofhermother.
An Unforgettable Experience
as told byMonique & Chris Fallows
On our last morning at Dunia Camp, we were driving in the Moru Kopje area when we spotted a lioness walking in the road just ahead of us. As we approached our focus was on this lioness when I became vaguely aware of what I thought was a herd of Thompson’s Gazelles in the grass on our left-hand side. As I was about to point this out I realised it wasn’t a herd of Gazelles, but quite literally a herd of lions! There were just brown shapes everywhere and in numbers neither Chris nor I had ever seen before.
We were extremely fortunate in that the grass area they were crossing was bisected by a road. Fortunately, we were able to quickly drive around and witness the entire approach of this Super Pride as they crossed through the grass and over the road directly towards us. All three of us, Zawadi, Chris and I, were in a complete panic. We had never seen anything like this and we were all shaking with excitement. I know that I certainly could not hold the camera steady and neither of us had any idea how to photograph this…there were just lions everywhere!! We had long lenses, medium lenses and then wide angle lenses…it was complete chaos!
Image – Chris Fallows
One of the things that stand out as being the most bizarre in those few moments, was the sound. Normally you would associate the sound of moving grass with a large herd of moving gazelle, but this time round it was the sound of many moving lions!
Once we had calmed down to a panic and they had crossed the road we were able to count them. Forty-three in total! It was a true super pride. Super Prides are almost something of a myth and this truly was something I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to see in my life. To make things even crazier, there were no male lions so this was not even the whole pride.We have done some research and there are extremely few accounts, past or present, of prides made up of these kind of numbers.It was one of those wildlife encounters that took days to come down from and I still sit here writing, but not quite believing, what we were so fortunate to see.
The Death Of A Mother
as told by Kanael Kaaya, a guide at The Highlands
February; 2018 at around 06:30 am…
A wildebeest calf that was born less than a month ago, follows her mother everywhere she goes. The wildebeest calf runs when she smells her mom run, and she stops when the smell of mom stops.
At 06:30 in the morning the mother gnu woke up in the forest area and diligently set off into the plain to have a drink of fresh dew from the grassland. There are crocodiles in the river – this is why wildebeest don’t go to the river to drink. So,the mother gnu had to quench her thirst with the dew from the grass.
The wildebeest takes her calf to become part of the herd, as she is doing this I noticed that one of the other wildebeestcalves and its mother had made their way out of the herdand were stopped when faced with a lion. The mother gnu immediately shoved her calf behind her andconfrontedthe lion herself. Well then the lion didn’t waste time, immediately he leapt and sank his sharp teeth into her, and the mother gnu fell to the ground to her death.
The calf had run off after being scared by the fight between its mom and the lion but returned a short while later to the scene, by following the smell of mom. The calf approached mom, following its instincts to stick as close by as possible, only to be attacked by another female lion and falling prey to the same fate as its mother.
A New Dawn
as told by Britta Foulis
I was lucky enough to share a vehicle all to myself with two incredible guides from Encounter Mara, Joseph & Agnus, who showed me the beauty of the Mara.
After heading out for a morning game drive, we came across a lone hippo out of the water – Agnes let me know that he had most probably been in a fight and was now sulking in the bushes. Sure enough, as he made his way slowly out, we could see he had a few bite marks and wounds on his body. We left him to wallow in the shame of a loss on his own…
About 10 minutes later we were slowly making our way back towards camp when Joseph thought he saw something. He pulled the car up, close to some bushes and trees and switched the engine off, “Do you see it?” he asked me. I looked into the bushes and thought I could make out a shape hidden deep inside…
“It’s a lioness”, Joseph said, “we’ve been looking for her for a while now.”
That’s when I saw them – two of the tiniest lion cubs nestled up beside her tummy! Joseph told me that when a lioness is ready to give birth, she will find a spot far away from the pride and hide herself away. Once the cubs are born she stays with them for 3 or 4 months, looking after them and protecting them before introducing them to her pride. He said that all the guides in the area were on the lookout for her and that we were the first ones to see her new cubs – what a special moment to share and something I will never forget!
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