"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Kenya Journals, Ch. 14: Moving Day on the Masai Mara

Chapter 14
Moving Day on the Masai Mara

If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.
— Karen Blixen (Danish author best known for “Out of Africa”, her account of living in Kenya)

It’s moving day.   We leave Mara Intrepids camp (and all the bugs that take refuge in my tent during the night*) and take our time getting to Governor’s Camp, some 22 kilometers away.  By “take our time” I mean several hours.

All the luggage is loaded into the back of two safari vehicles and we’re off.   As we approach a scenic open area, a lion pride is sacked out around the carcass of a wildebeest.    It’s obvious the lions have fed well during the night and they are now sleeping it off during the golden morning sun.

Note the small animal directly above the lioness on her back.   That is a black-backed jackal waiting for the lions to leave.

Two cubs chew on the rib cage, but there isn’t much meat left.   

Nearby, at least a dozen black-backed jackals wait for the lions to leave so they can have a chance at whatever is left.

Some wait patiently.

Others sleep.

Others, not so patiently.

One brave jackal yaps repeatedly at the lions and decides to just go tell those lions to go away.   The lions pay no attention.

And when we finally go on our way, it’s still a stalemate between sleeping lions and impatient jackals.

We ford a creek crossing where a hammerhead stands, waiting for breakfast to swim by.

A red-headed lizard is sunning itself on a rock.

On the other side, we see a small band of elands.   One is missing one of its unique spiral horns.

A secretary bird walks among the gazelle, looking for grasshoppers.   

A few Grant’s gazelle graze and we draw near the closest one.  Flies dot its neck, no doubt seeking warmth in the chilly morning air. 

It tolerates us for a while, then indicates enough is enough.

We pass a few zebra in a particularly scenic spot.

Then we encounter a dik-dik.   It becomes apparent almost immediately because the dik-dik is standing still and tolerating our presence.

It also appears anxious, and stares into the trees and bushes that hide a creek bed.

Most unusual horns on this one.

The dik-dik has reason to be anxious, just by its presence here, but we think there are darker reasons.   This shallow ravine is where leopards live, and after observing the dik-dik’s behavior, we come to the conclusion that a leopard might have caught the dik-dik’s mate.

And then we find the vervets.   The first one we see is a male who is sitting on the ground.  His bright blue testicles mark him as the dominant male.

Yes, yours.

Another vervet scampers into the open on a nearby tree branch and entertains us with its facial expressions.


Did you know that the collective noun for vervets is a “shrewdness of vervets?”  This make absolute sense to me when the vervet begins using sign language to communicate with us.



It looks shocked.

I guess we said somemthing naughty in vervet.

Or uproariously funny maybe?

It gives up on us as being intelligent creatures, and we drive on.

Then Charlie spots a leopard.   Jay maneuvers the vehicle back and forth, but the two leopard cubs are across the creek in thick vegetation.

We never can get a shot of them in the open.

Finally, we give up on them, and I mention that I’s sure like to see the bird that made that unusual noise back at Intrepids camp, the Tropical bou bou.

At that moment, one lands in a tree right in front of the left fender of the Land Rover.

When I’ve finished taking photos of it, I say, “Now I’d like to see a malachite kingfisher.”

Jay drives maybe 20 feet and spots a kingfisher in a tree right beside the road.

Greg  and Charlie ask if I can call in birds at will.

It isn’t a malachite, but a gray headed kingfisher.   I don’t care.   Any kingfisher is good.

And then we’re off across the savannah where herds of gazelle and topis and zebra are grazing.


This hippo was in a small pool right beside the road.

We approach a forested area, turn onto a narrow dirt road, and we have arrived at Governor’s Camp.

* NO one else had nightly bugs visit their tents.   I guess Mary and I were the lucky ones.

Governor's Camp location is in the center.


  1. Jeanne, your photos are what one would expect to see in a National Geographic Magazine. You are surely mastering your camera skills.

  2. Well ... if I were a black backed jackal, I do not think I would yap at a pride of lions still claiming their kill. Just sayin'. Those secretary birds are TALL!! The dik-dik looks so dainty, almost fragile. However, there probably is not a surviving animal on the African continent that would be considered fragile. The vervet was very entertaining. I could not understand his sign language, but his body language was a hoot. And, just for the record, "I" DO believe you have the ability to call birds at will! Your posts are like being there ... hugs. Patti and Cap