Nyati - Buffalo
African buffalo is large bovine and its ancestry remains unclear. It is not ancestor of domestic cattle and owing to its unpredictable nature is highly dangerous to humans. The African buffalo have never been domesticated!
It is very robust specie with long and stocky body and short but thickset legs. Savannah buffalo weigh up to 900 kg. and its front part of the body is more powerful and heavies than the back. The horns have fused basis, forming a continuous bone shild which can not always be penetrated even by rifle bullet. Wounded buffalo is in particularly dangerous for hunters because it hides in the bush waiting pursuers whom suddenly and mercilessly attack.
Buffalo prefer habitat with dense cover, but also can be found in open woodland. The have few predators and are capable of defending themselves against lions and even killing them. It takes several lions to bring down a single adult buffalo. Their herd is varianle in number from rather small groups up to huge herd with thousand individuals.
Local Swahili name for buffalo is "nyati", but is also called "the back death" or "widowmaker". It is widely regarded as a very dangerous and very aggressive animal. It is reported that buffalo kills over 200 people every year.
Simba - Lion
Lion is one of the five big cats, and the second biggest living cat after the tiger. It belongs to vurnerable species, having seen a major population decline of 30-50 percent during the second halh of the 20th century. They inhabit savannah and grassland, and unlike other cats is very social. Groups of female lions hunt together, preying mostly on large ongulates, although they are also expert scavengers obtaining over 50 percent of their food by scavenging as opportunity allows.
Lions mainly sleeping during the day and hunt during the night. The male lion is highly distinctive by its mane, and is the only member of cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism. Lions spend much of their time resting and are inactive for about 20 hours per day, their activity generally peaks after dusk.
Lionesses do most of the hunting for their pride because they are more effective hunters, as they are smaller, swifter and more agile the the males. Male lions are encumbered by the heavy and conspicuous mane, which causes overheating during exertion. They have a tendency to dominate the kill once the lionesses have succeeded, but rarely share food they have killed by themselves.
Lions usually hunt in coordinate groups and stalk their chosen prey. Their stamina is pretty poor and they only can run fast in short bursts and therefore had to be close to their prey before starting the attack.
Kuro - Waterbuck
Waterbuck is large and gregarious antelope which form herds consisting up to 30 individuals. These groups are either nursery herds with females or bachelor herds. As a specie it can not tolerate dehydration and thus inhabits areas close to sources of water. The ancestral home of the Waterbuck is considered to be the eastern coast of Africa.
There are number of subspecies of the waterbuck, the one which inhabit Kenya is ellipsen waterbuck. It is recognizable for white ellipse in the rump. Waterbuck is of robust build, its shaggy coat is reddish brown and becomes darker with age. This antelopes are rather sedentary animals and barely migrate from their territory.
"Kuro" is the Swahili name for waterbuck.
Tembo - Elephabt
I was very lucky because an huge elephant pack, consists of more than forty animals, have obstruct the road on our way back to the camp. Some of this gigantic animals stood no far than three or four meters from our car and I had enough time to snap lots of fantastic pics. After five minutes, our driver became very concerned because some of the elephants started to move ears, which is clear sign of their agitation. When he started to move the car, one of the elephants blocked possible side passage and he had to stop. Although scared, it was very exiting experience. After a while, the elephant let us to turn the car.
Tembo is Swahili name for elephant, and probably one of the first word one will learn in Swahili.
Twiga - Giraffe
When I saw them for the first time my impression was, they look alike to skyscrapers. One thing is for sure, you cannot miss giraffe in savannah first because of their height and second because of the colors of their skin which makes them visible from a far distance.
Did you know that giraffes never sleeps, most of the time they eat or ruminate. They never drink a water either or they do it in very rare occasions. It is because of their constitution which put them in life danger when drinking water. If drinking water they have to get down on their knees and that is the only moment when lions can attack them. Giraffe don't makes any sound, they communicate by eyes only. All this things I have learned from our guide. Giraffe is really amazing animal.
Twiga is Swahili name for zebra.
Nyumbu - Wildebeest or Gnu
Wildebeest, also called gnus, are a genus of antelopes and inhabit eastern Africa, from Kenya down to SA. There are several subspecies and Kenya is dominated by Blue Wildebeest, which is the biggest of all. It is also the most abundant big game species in East Africa, both in population and biomass. The population trend is stable and their number is estimated to be around 1,500.000
Wildebeest often graze in mixed and huge herds with zebra, which gives heightened awareness of potential predators. They are also alert to the warning signals emitted by other animals, such as baboons.
Wildebeest compete with domestic livestock for pasture and are blamed by farmers for transferring diseases and parasites to their cattle. They are regular target for illegal meat hunters. Meat of female is more tender than that of males, and is more tender during the autumn season. Wildebeest is also providing leather of very good quality
"Nyumbu" in Swahili name for wildebeest.
Pundamilia - Zebra
This cute but timid, white & black stripped animal can be seen everywhere around the game reserve, it is persistently following herds of wildebeest (called also gnus) because of their ability to find fresh pasture. Again and again I am amazed by the mother nature and the balance it preserves. Such a huge number of zebras are created in order to secure enough food for predators and yet, many of them still survive.
Zebra stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and donkeys, zebra have never been truly domesticated. They are generally slower then horses but their great stamina help them outrun predators. When chased a zebra will zig-zag from side to side, making it more difficult for the predator to attack. Zebra have excellent eyesight, eyes are on the sides of its head, giving it a wide field of view.
"Pundamilia" is name for zebra in Swahili.
Kiboko - Hippopotamus
For a close encounter with a hippopotamus we had to leave the vehicle and walk few hundred meters. Our guide was a local Maasai who is familiar with the territory but also, who knows well the malignancy for which the hippo is known. He immediately warned us to be extremely careful when getting closer to the water where hippo lives. The small lake is inhabited by twenty or so hippos who were entertained with games in the water. From the water sticking only their eyes that are watching us closely. Occasionally, on the surface of the water showed huge hull but it was rare. Our guide was very pleased because hippos have not experienced us as a threat, we were less happy because wee did not see them out of the water in their imposing size.
Hippopotamus or "kiboko" in Swahili, a large mostly herbivorus animal is the third largest type of land mammal after elephant and rhinoceros. It is recognizable by barrel shaped torsos, wide-opening mouth and large size. Despite its stocky shape and short legs, hippo can easily outrun a human. They running over 30km at short distances.
Hippo is highly aggressive and unpredictable animal and is ranked the most dangerous animal in Kenya!
It is semiacquatic specie inhabiting rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps, where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of river and groups of five to 30 females and young. During the day they remain cool by staying in the water and emerge at dusk to graze on grasses. Crocodiles are particularly targets of hippo aggression likely because they often inhabit the same riparian habitats as hippos. Crocodiles may be either displaced or killed by hippos.
Hippo is very aggressive towards humans, whom they commonly attack whether in boats or on land no apparent provocation. In Kenya, on an annual basis, most people are killed by hippos.
Wildebeest & Zebra
Wildebeest often graze in mixed herds with zebra, which gives heightened awareness of potential predators. They are also alert to the warning signals emitted by other animals, such as baboons. This grouping strategy reduces predation risk because larger groups decrease chance of being hunted and predators are more clearly seen in open areas.
Wildebeest usually lead the herd, while zebra follows, and the rangers told me that is because is more intelligent animal and therefore more able to find pasture.
- continuing ....
I knew giraffe is tall animal but had no idea she is that amazingly tall, dominating whole landscape like city skycrapers. My guide told me many facts about it which I never heard. Giraffe never sleeps, she just close her eyes for a few minutes during the day. She never drink a water, taking it from the leafs most of the time. If very dry season giraffe is forced to look for a water, drinking it out of the springs or rivers. In such a cases, she kneeling down shortly taking two or three gulps only because it is the only moment when lions can attack her. Most amazing is that giraffes do not make any sounds, they communicate by eyes only. If baby giraffe needs milk, she looks at her mothers eyes, that is the way her mother says yes do it.
First tour of the game reserve
Our first tour started immidiate after lunch and we were all very excited. I felt like a small boy after getting favourite toy, it was the real start of my African adventure hoping not to be the last one. There were only six of us in matatu and we had plenty of room to take the pictures out of its open roof. Cannot be sure but I made probably more than hundred snaps in first half of hour. What I saw at that stage was just an amazing experience.
Sunrising at Kimana looks spectacular, breath-taking, fabulous..., something I'll never forget! It starts with the poor light, yellow in colour, changing to to blue very slowly. After few minutes the sky is coloured completely in yellow and it looks just amazing, never before have seen such a colours of the sky.
Sunrise about six in the morning, no metter if summer of winter time, and the daylight is pretty short here, much shorter than in Europe.
The dawn in the savannah looks spectacular and very colourful. Never before I saw such a beautiful colours. There were seven people in our matata (car) but we were speechless looking at the beauty of the nature all around. My pictures can tell more than my words, enjoy them.
The first light of the day is pretty dark but still you can see alot of animals in their first activities. Elephant sleeps very shortly, no more than two hours, antilopes are very vivacious runing all around and it's impossible to take them with the camera, while zebra and gnu stands or lie waiting the dawn to come.