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The Big Cats of the Masai Mara - February 2019

Kenya Photographic Safari

Posted on 21st September, 2021

Stu Porter

Cheetah attacking Topi antelope Masai Mara photo safaris with WILD4

We had stunning weather and fantastic sightings on this Safari to Kenya's Maasai Mara.  Not only did we have some great photo opportunities with Lion, Leopard and Cheetah, we were also very proud to roll out our second modified Safari Land Cruiser on its very first safari.

Splitting our 10-night stay in the Mara enabled us to explore two very different areas, where we got some super sightings in good morning and late afternoon light.  We really had some great luck with giraffe at sunrise and sunset.  Near Lookout, we spent some time with a black rhino and the spotted hyaena den site was busy.  We photographed some great birds, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Black Backed Jackal, Hippo, Impala, Topi, Thompson's Gazelle and Eland.

However our main aim was to focus on the Big Cats and amongst the highlights, were multiple sightings of 3 different female leopards.  One, in particular, was very active around the Rekero Crossing area and we watched her use the distraction of a short rain shower, to try to sneak up on a herd of impala.  Unfortunately, two spotted hyaenas tried the same tactic and spooked the Impala in the opposite direction!

Lions were present again in good numbers.  We watched the famous male  - “Scar”, feeding on a hippo carcass at the Mara River.  He was limping badly but actually looked in pretty good health for such an old fellow.  We saw a number of other males, as well as a lioness with two small cubs, in the area of Topi Plains.

We saw four cheetah chases, three of them involving the 5-strong male coalition.  Their first chase ended in an impala kill but was lost to some opportunistic lions.  The second was rather ambitious as one cheetah tried to take on a full-grown male topi, which would have been fine if the others had joined in, but they were a bit slow to start the game!!  What was interesting was how the cheetah ran alongside the topi and physically tried to bump it off balance - a technique I had never witnessed before.  The third chase sent hundreds of animals fleeing in all directions, with no end result.  The fourth was a successful chase by a female cheetah.  She ran right through a group of warthogs to catch an easier target, a baby Impala.  The Mara certainly lives up to all expectations as far as Big Cat sightings are concerned and the general wildlife is always great too!

Huge thanks to the staff at Entim and Intrepids Camps and a very special appreciation goes to our amazing guides, Mamai and Eliud.  Your patience, help and incredibly hard work make it a great pleasure to work with you both.
Thanks to Linda, Ulhas, John & Jenny for joining us as much appreciated previous clients, on another WILD4 African Photographic Safari to Kenya's Masai Mara!!

Please enjoy a selection of photos from the trip.  Best wishes, Stu

Grey Backed Fiscal Shrike, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Grey Backed Fiscal Shrike
Secretary Bird at Sunrise, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Secretary Bird at Sunrise
The legendary Male Lion Scar, with an injured back right leg, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safa
The legendary Male Lion Scar
Spotted Hyaena at densite, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Spotted Hyaena at densite
Maasai Giraffe, Maasai Mara Kenya - WildlifePanorama
Maasai Giraffe
Mating pair of Lions, Maasai Mara Kenya
Mating pair of Lions
Scar at the Hippo carcass at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Scar at the Hippo carcass near the Mara River
Scar, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Scar
Male Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Male Cheetah
Black Backed Jackals with kill, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Black Backed Jackals with kill
Pied Kingfisher, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Pied Kingfisher
Lions near the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Lions near the Mara River
Hippo yawning at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Hippo yawning at the Mara River
Bee Eater tossing an insect, Maasai Mara Kenya
Bee Eater tossing an insect
An opportunistic Lioness charges towards the 5 male Cheetah and their Impala kill, Maasai Mara Afric
An opportunistic Lioness charges towards the 5 male Cheetah and their Impala kill
The Cheetah reacting to the in coming Lioness, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
The Cheetah reacting to the in coming Lioness
The Lioness steals the Impala kill and runs off with it as other members of her pride follow, Maasai
The Lioness steals the Impala kill and runs off with it as other members of her pride follow
Female Leopard drinking, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard drinking
Giraffe at Sunset, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Giraffe at Sunset
Male Impala with stormy skies in the background, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Male Impala with stormy skies in the background
Leopard stalking Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Leopard stalking Impala
Impala herd at Sunset, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Impala herd at Sunset
Female Leopard hiding close to the Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard hiding close to the Impala
Giraffe at Sunrise near the Ol Kiombo Airstrip, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Giraffe at Sunrise near the Ol Kiombo Airstrip
Young female Leopard in the early morning hiding out in some rocks, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Young female Leopard in the early morning hiding out in some rocks
A Tower of Giraffe feeding on a large Gardenia Tree, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
A Tower of Giraffe feeding on a large Gardenia Tree
Young female Leopard near Double Cross area, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Young female Leopard near Double Cross area
Male Lion near Topi Plains, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Male Lion near Topi Plains
Giraffe at Sunrise, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Giraffe at Sunrise
The female Cheetah that ran through the middle of a group of Warthogs to catch a baby Impala, Maasai
The female Cheetah that ran through the middle of a group of Warthogs to catch a baby Impala
Leopard crossing a rocky river, Maasai Mara Kenya
Leopard crossing a rocky river
Male Cheetah and vehicles, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Male Cheetah and vehicles
Young Leopard, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Young Leopard
Three out of four Thompsons Gazelle watching the approaching Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Keny
Three out of four Thompsons Gazelle watching the approaching Cheetah
The Cheetah getting up along side the Topi - both were at full speed, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
The Cheetah getting up along side the Topi - both were at full speed
Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
The Cheetah hits the Topi in the face
Another attempt at the "bump" technique, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Another attempt at the "bump" technique
Still on his own with no backup - the male Cheetah tries to wrestle with the Topi, Maasai Mara Afric
Still on his own with no backup
Backup has arrived ! but not enough, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Backup has arrived ! but not enough and the Topi escaped this time
Herd of Topi watching the 5 male Cheetahs, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panora
Herd of Topi watching the 5 male Cheetahs
Zebra and Topi running from the same Cheetahs, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Zebra and Topi running from the same Cheetahs
The 5 "boys" in the late afternoon, still empty handed, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
The 5 "boys" in the late afternoon, still empty handed
Sunset Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Giraffe and tree at sunset Masai Mara, Kenya