'Twas the night before Christmas When all through the camp Every animal was stirring From lions to elephant (sorry) They had roared and they had sung And managers had glared In hoping that dawn's angel Would soon be there.
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:
Well at least someone did! This week we have to talk about Kevin ...... again. Mr Kevin Rooney is not on debut at Kicheche and returned for his full game last week. His safari to labour the football (soccer) analogy, was like a five-all extra time derby all rolled into one.
There is a guide at Bush Camp that answers to 'mwalimu' (teacher) but perhaps should be known as 'mchawi' (magician). He also answers to Patrick Koriata and is as charming, funny, knowledgeable and perceptive as the very best of them.
Single parent, double, surrogate or foster, the faunal kingdom is underwritten by families. Right now all Kicheche camps resemble one big nursery: cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions, even primates are all dropping their young. Fortunately for the predators, so are the topi and even some late arrivals into the antelope creche, so the larder is burgeoning.
In 2008 a single cheetah clambered up the gnarly weathered trunk of a single Boscia deep in the heart of Olare Conservancy. Kicheche Bush Camp was nascent then and this sort of sighting was a thrill as guides felt this was surely the arboreal preserve for leopards.
Meet Nancie Wight, Charles Wandero you know. Nancie is quite the Kicheche servant but even her back catalogue did not include tiny leopard cubs on granite.
Whatever the arena, whenever weighing up an adversary, there is much to contemplate: speed, size, number, hunger and risk. When it goes awry it can be disastrous but also spectacular.
For many months now Kicheche has been inundated with constant messages from people utterly thrilled to be back on 'home soil'. Some have counted down the days from many days out and most are not shy on expressing their emotions upon arrival.
Laura and Dan visited all three Mara Conservancies and were kind enough to showcase some images. These two may be close to having a plaque etched for them but they are utterly cognisant that it is the four legged fauna that are really the stars. I'll therefore let them do the talking, you pick your favourite.