April 1, 2013.
After a good night sleep, we skip the morning tea and go for an early game drive at 06.15. The weather has cleared after yesterday's rain and we have a good sight of mount Kenya from the Equator mark. We see a few white rhino's at a distance and then we find the same lioness that we saw yesterday. We recognize her as she had a scratch wound on her back.
This time she is not alone but walking with three other lions. We follow them for a while until they disappear in the bushes.
We are very lucky to see also some more endangered black rhino's. In our 2011 trip to Kenya in Masai Mara we only saw one black rhino and from a distance.
For the first time on any of our African trips I also manage to get some nice jackal portraits.
Around 8.30 after an excellent morning drive we return to camp for breakfast. It is still Easter weekend so the camp offers a complimentary "champagne breakfast". After breakfast we pack our bags and continue towards Samburu game reserve.
Jackson buys two newspapers and we are trying to find the April's fools joke but do not spot it at first glance. It turns out to be an article that the Chinese have decided that the Kenyans would have drive from now onwards on the right hand side of the road.
The more north we get the more dry the landscape becomes. In Isiolo (approximately 285 km north of Nairobi) we have to register with the police and give our "whereabouts" as we leave the secure zone and entering into the tribal areas. The Turkana and Samburu tribes have regular fights about cattle. Isiolo is mainly a muslim town with a large muslim population originating from Somalia.
Our initial plan was to enter Kenya in August overland from Ethiopia through the Moyale border but Jackson advised against it for security reasons. We will still be going to Southern Ethiopia (tribal Omo region) in August but what was planned to be one trip has now been split into two separate trips.
For security reasons this trip will not take us up further north than the Samburu game reserve. Along the road we see many colourful Samburu and Turkana along the road herding their cattle.
We arrive at Samburu Game Lodge (http://www.wildernesslodges.co.ke/samburu_info.html) for lunch. It is very calm here compared to Sweetwaters. There are only a handfull other guests. We have two very nice cottages overlooking the Uaso Nyiro river filled with crocodiles. As we are now in the lowlands (about 857 meters above sea level) the temperature is higher (around 30°C).
As there are not many people we get a set lunch. The food is excellent and it is a nice change from the buffet food to have your food served at table. Eva, our waiter is very friendly.
In the afternoon the children enjoy the swimming pool and at around 4pm we leave for our afternoon game drive. We are searching for leopards and are lucky to find a young leopard with its mother hidden in a tree. It is difficult to see it as the tree has a lot of leaves.
We are patient and after about an hour the young leopard leaves the tree to climb a neighbouring tree which gives me the opportunity to take a good photograph.
The leopard has no intention of leaving the tree again and it is getting dark.
After some more waiting the mother also appears and takes a rest at a distance on the river bank. It is after sunset and the lightning conditions are getting bad. Luckily my camera allows for high ISO settings.
The mother leopard is calling her cub.
The light is too bad for a short shutterspeed even at the highest ISO so I try my best at panning to have the shot not too blurred. I kind of like the result.
The leopards disappear in the bushes and it is time to return to camp for diner. What a fantastic day today. We joke with Jackson and tell him that he is becoming old as it took him two days to find the big five while in 2011 he managed to get them all on the same day (smile).
At the lodge we phone the airport to enquire for the delivery of our missing bag. It turns out that they found our bag but not in Tanzania as expected. Our suitcase happens to be in New Delhi, India. It will take a while longer than anticipated for it to be rerouted to Kenya.