Posts Tagged ‘Big Five’
In 2010 and 2011, I was extremely lucky to visit Kenya in East Africa to photograph the ‘Big Five’ including elephant, white rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard plus many other species in several protected areas including the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Samburu national reserves plus Sweetwaters private reserve in the west and central areas of Kenya.
Mt. Kilomanjaro seen from Amboseli National Park.
This year in May, it was decided with the safari company to go south this time to some new but very famous protected areas including Amboseli and Tsavo (West and East) national parks near Mount Kilomanjaro on the border with Tanzania. I also visited Shimba Hills and Taita wildlife sanctuaries and finally Nairobi National Park near the city of Nairobi.
Mt. Kilomanjaro seen from Tsavo (West) National Park.
The highlight of this trip was catching a black-mane lion in the grasslands of Taita Wildlife Sanctuary on my way back to Nairobi near the end of my trip. A very luck encounter and a dream come true….!
Black-mane lion in Taita close to dusk.
Lazy lion yawning and showing his canines.
Then I was also extremely lucky to catch an elusive black rhino mother and her calf in Nairobi National Park on the last day of the safari. They were reintroduced from South Africa. These massive beasts are tough to see let alone photograph…!
Black rhino mother and calf down in a gully.
Another shot of the pair higher up on the ridge.
In most of the parks in Kenya, elephant and buffalo are common and easy to see and photograph. However, in Tsavo National Park, the world’s largest protected area, both species are red from the earthen clay found here and they stand-out. I spent six days in both sections of Tsavo and it was an amazing adventure.
A bull elephant in Tsavo (West) National Park.
Another red bull in Tsavo (East) National Park.
A Cape buffalo bull in Tsavo (East).
Then, I headed further south to the mist shrouded jungles of Shimba Hills near the southern port city of Mombassa on the coast. Here elephant are gray and buffalo are black as normal with other parts of Kenya.
Young elephant in Shimba Hills. This bull is in musth, a state where male elephants can be very aggressive. Note fluid draining from the temporal gland.
A Cape buffalo bull with an unusual set of horns in mist shrouded Shimba Hills.
Over the course of two weeks, I traveled more than 3,000 kilometers with my good companion, driver and guide Patrick Mjoroge, a Kenyan national with a good heart and loads of experience (more than 25 years) to help me get the best possible opportunities for photographing wildlife. He is an ‘eagle eye’ and saw the wild cat and jackal hanging in a leopard’s tree in Tsavo (East).
Leopard’s prey: A wild cat and a black-backed jackal.
My leopard camera trapped eating the jackal in Tsavo (East).
This was simply an amazing feat which allowed me to camera trap the leopard previously published under ‘A needle in the haystack’ and to make-up the ‘Big Five’ once again. Three times lucky I guess.
Me and Patrick in Taita Wildlife Sanctuary.
I’m now in the process of planning a forth visit to Kenya in early December. It will be another two-week trip down south hopefully to catch some more species that I still do not have like kudu and wild dogs. I’m working on a forth book about wildlife in Asia and Africa as a comparison, and hope to be finished sometime next year. That’s the plan anyway..!
Hope ya’ all will enjoy this post. Another post to follow on all the other species I collected in the two-week period.
Additional photos of the ‘Big Five’:
Lone lioness found in the savannah during mid-day in Nairobi National Park.
Elephants in Amboseli National Park.
Cape buffalo in Amboseli.
Mother elephant and baby in Amboseli. These are the longest tusks I have ever seen on an African elephant. This place is well protected with a mandate of ‘shoot to kill’ any poachers.