On my safari in South Africa in September of 2016, the dominant species of antelope, by far, was the Impala. In fact, in South Africa they call the Impala the MacDonalds of the savanna: they are everywhere, they have a big M on their butt, and they are fast food. 🙂 Because of my experience in South Africa I expected much the same in Kenya. Not so. The Thompson’s Gazelle was the dominant species…found in beards the same size as the Impala herds of South Africa, and we did not see any large groups of Impala. We saw individuals, and small herds of up to 30 animals…often in association with Thompson’s and/or Grant’s Gazelles, but nothing like the numbers or the concentrations I saw in South Africa. This handsome Impala buck is from Tsavo West. Sony RX10iv at 450mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This is the magic of being on Safari in Kenya. Standing up in the Safari Van, with our heads above the open roof, the wildlife often came to us. Of course it was the the skill of our pilot, John Osege, to put us in the right place at the right time for these views, and, over and over, he managed to do just that. There is nothing like it! Sony RX10iv at about 110mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
We also saw Warthogs everywhere we went on our Kenya Safari, but I did not come back with many photos. Again, put it down to prejudice. I have yet to learn to like Warthogs, and they are so common…or put it down to they were always far off and generally running fast. Or put it down to I never saw The Lion King. All of the images above, except the first, are from Hell’s Gate National Park, where foot and bike traffic has acclimated the Warthogs to human presence, and they don’t bolt as soon as the van stops. The first image of the Warthogs feeding is from Amboseli and was taken at full telephoto from a distance. I am sure Warthogs have many redeeming characteristics when you get to know them. Evidently “tastes good” is not one of them, or there would be far fewer of them. Sony RX10iv mostly at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Though we did not see the Wildebeests massed for migration (or crossing the Mara River in Masai Mara…one of the classic East African sights) while we were in Kenya, we did see them just about everywhere we went…in small groups and even wandering alone across the savanna. They are not my favorite African mammal…in fact they are pretty far down on the list. I an not sure why, but I find it hard to find the beauty in them. I am sure it is a prejudice I could get over, if I saw more of then, or learned more about them. Maybe I will try that before my next trip to Africa. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Our first afternoon in Masai Mara we found a group of elephants feeding right next to the road. It turned out we saw them in the same area all three days. It was near a small stream and a tiny marshy area, and they evidently liked the fresh green foliage there. This specimen was disemboweling a bush and went away with a large chunk of it wrapped in its trunk. I like the photo as a action portrait. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Driving through the marsh at Amboseli National Park, we found this Bohor Reedbuck, rarely seen in daylight, standing not far from the track. The Reedbuck is only found in the marsh and the marshy edges of Lake Amboseli in the park, and spends most daylight hours hunkered down in deep grasses, hiding from predators. Only the males have horns. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We saw Thompson’s Gazelles in every park or reserve we visited in Kenya. The images above are from Tsavo East, Amboseli, Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha, and Masai Mara. They were, on our visit at least, by far the most numerous of the antelope species, perhaps because their preferred habitat is also the most common in East Africa. They are on the smallish size, smaller then either the Impala or Grant’s Gazelles they often associate with…and the black slash on the side makes them stand out even at a distance. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths at the long end of the zoom. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We only stayed one night in Tsavo West, at Ngulia Lodge far in the southern section. On our way back out the next morning we went to Mzima Springs for Crocodiles and Hippos and whatever else we could find, and as we left the springs on our long drive to Amoboseli we encountered a large group of Baboons right by the road. Like any troup, there were baboons of every age, from full grown males and females to infants, and everything in between. They were moving along beside us so we slowed and stopped and they proceeded at a long diagonal past the van and across the road ahead of us. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. You can view any of the images a full screen by clicking or tapping the one you want.
The red clay of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya produces more than Red Elephants. It also produces pink Zebras. The Elephants consciously cover themselves in clay. The Zebras only occasionally take a dust bath…but there is enough dust in the air at all times to tint the white stripes. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
One of the classic images of Africa has to the the Mongoose standing sentry. In this case, the Banded Mongoose, and in two different parks. the dry savanna is in Tsavo East, as far east as we got, and the burnt savanna is from Masai Mara, as far west as we got. Mongooses, however, are the same the world over 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.