Charlotte Rhodes has come to Kicheche so many times she has Amazon deliveries waiting for her upon arrival. In 2009 she saw her first leopard cubs, thirteen years later she has perhaps done better. Take it away Charlotte:
‘I often get asked about my favourite moment of my safari. This time it is impossible to answer.
I started with Natito and her two two month old cubs. She had denned them in an area difficult for vehicles in a steep but beautiful granite valley. My first night we saw her but from some distance as one of her cubs greeted her.
The following morning, well before sunrise she was sitting on a large granite slab. She drank and then, as she approached the den, her two cubs came out. I have visited Kicheche camps many times but this was the first time I’ve seen leopard cubs play together, and on the charcoal rock which amplified the allure.
There are many small lion cubs in the OMC at the moment. In the same morning we saw an Iseketa female carry her small cub after a buffalo encounter and later an Enkoyonai female incredibly carried three of her cubs over a kilometre each to a new den site. She must have burnt off most of the male warthog she killed and ate the afternoon before with this transfer of carry-on luggage. The Iseketa pride are quite unsettled at the moment though and we saw the four males chasing the rest of the pride with the females defending their cubs.
Kweli and her now three fourteen-month-old cubs were active all week, alongside a lone female (Neema’s sister). The cubs are finally starting to contribute, catching a baby warthog and taking a gazelle fawn off a jackal. The first four days were cloudy, so I cheekily pointed out to James that on my last visit in July it had been the same in the OMC but Jimmy Tinka (Mara Camp veteran guide) had delivered a lioness in front of a blushing burnished sunrise when we stayed at Mara North. The next two days he more than rose to the challenge, with incredible light and backlit cheetah. And great news is that Neema is heavily pregnant!
There are many other reasons I repeatedly come back to Kicheche and the conservancies. The warm welcome back from the team, James’s great guiding and many laughs and the things that can’t be captured in photos – the feeling you get from being there, the chorus of the birds and insects, the haunting calls of lions and hyena at night and the vivid flash of colour from an agama lizard or kingfisher.
I feel like it’s home.’
We are glad you do C.R. thanks so much for this glorious picture and prose update.
Proper safari … proper final too: both similar: drama, goals achieved and got all Messi at times.