This post has been a long time coming. If you missed out on my last post about Ol Pejeta you can catch it here.
I arrived in Ol Pejeta late Friday evening and I was up bright and early on Saturday ready to make the most of the day. After getting to see Sudan, the last male standing and Baraka the blind rhino in the morning we went back to the lodge for lunch after which we were given the choice between two activities for the afternoon. One could either pick lion tracking or a bush walk. I was quite keen on seeing a lion in the wild so the obvious choice for me was the lion tracking.
Tummy full, off we went. I was quite excited, this being my very first lion tracking experience. However, the excitement soon died down. About 30 minutes into the activity there was no sign of the lioness and I was ready to give up. I really wanted to see some lions and our driver had gotten some news over the radio that there was a pride in an area not too far from where we were.
We were ready to turn back but our guide insisted that we continue on the search for the lion. Our (more like our guide’s) determination finally paid off and we eventually tracked down the elusive lioness.
We were pleased to see her but she was least concerned. She only had a half a tail, having lost the rest of it during a fight with one of the males in her pride. She lay down resting in the shade, not giving a care as we furiously clicked away trying to capture the moment. We spent a few minutes watching her as she lazily sauntered from one tree to another. Having had our fill we were off to see what more the day had to offer.
The data collected during lion tracking goes straight to Ol Pejeta’s ecological monitoring department and helps them find solutions to the challenges facing Laikipia’s lions.
Ol Pejeta is host to lots of wildlife, it has one of the highest densities of predators in the Laikipia area. Other than the lioness we tracked down, we came across the pride I had mentioned earlier resting in the shade of a tree but they were too far off for me to get a proper picture.
We had to drop off part of the group at Ol Pejeta House and on our way back it started raining. This was no problem for us but we had to help out a driver who had gotten stuck on the road. The roads in Ol Pejeta are well maintained and in the dry season you can manage without a four wheel drive car. However when it rains you’re better off in a 4WD
One of my favourite places in Ol Pejeta was this swampy area. Loads of elephants and beautiful scenery. They must be fond of the area because of the abundance of water.
I had planned to go for a night game drive because I have never gone for one and most national parks do not allow people to go for game drives at night, however by the time evening came I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep so I just had to pass on the night game drive. One more reason why I should be visiting Ol Pejeta again soon.
The next morning I was up bright and early for a morning game drive. It is quite chilly on the morning so do dress warmly if you intend to go for one.
A few minutes after we had left the camp, we went to pick up our colleagues at Ol Pejeta house and on our way there we ran onto a driver who told us about a pair of lions mating. The game drivers refer to this as ‘harusi’ (Swahili for wedding).
We drove to where the lions were and they just happened to be taking a break. Lions mate for day at a time. When a lioness is in heat, a male will join her, staying with her constantly Mating sessions last for less than a minute and take place in intervals of 15-30 minutes
The mating process is no walk through the park for the female. Lion penises are burned and during withdrawal the female gets hurt. The pain is necessary as it shocks her system inducing fertilization.
On our way back to the lodge we spotted a hyena abut I was only able to get a shot of it as it walked away.
God must have felt my disappointment because next thing I know we spotted a cheetah.
Cheetahs are quite graceful, the one we came across looked like it was trying to hunt (there was a herd of impalas across the road). It was quite a delight just to watch it. Spotting the cheetah was the next most exciting thing after spotting the lion. I have only ever spotted a cheetah in the wild once, in the Mara and even then we were driving far too fast for me to enjoy the moment.
We had an audience, right behind us was a giraffe which seemed to be watching us as we watched the Cheetah.
I was able to spot the big five, all except for one. I am yet to see a leopard in the wild.
I had not expected to spot as many elephants as I did at Ol Pejeta. We were able to spot a few families in the morning.
On our way back there was a family of elephants blocking the road. We had to drive slowly as one of the females was displaying aggressive behaviour. They finally moved into the bushes and we were able to pass.
I would have loved to see some wild dogs but we didn’t spot any.
I quite liked Ol Pejeta, one never had to drive for miles to spot an animal. It kind of reminded me of Amboseli.
How to get there
By road: transfers by road from Nairobi take approximately 3-4 hours.
By air: Nanyuki airstrip is 17 km from the camp, and a ‘meet and greet’ and transfer service can be provided(Please let us know your arrival time in advance).
Phone reception is limited in some areas.