Flying into Shaba, I peered out of the small plane’s window trying to spot game on the ground. The end of the dry season had left the river low and most of the vegetation was leafless and dormant waiting for the rains to come. Every once in a while I’d spot the vivid pink of a blooming Desert rose (Adenium obesum) or the bright red pods of a Terminalia orbicularis. The grey of the dry vegetation only made these colors more vibrant and the White-cheeked bee-eaters and Lilac breasted rollers shimmered.
|Adenium obesum or Desert rose|
|Terminalia orbicularis seed pod|
Shaba is home to some dry country browsers. Though they are all selective leaf and shoot eaters, it’s interesting to see how each one fits in at a different level, the dikdik eating leaves up to 30cm above the ground, where the impala takes over, followed by the gerenuk and Reticulated giraffe. Then every once in a while an elephant pushes down a tree that even the giraffe couldn’t reach.
|The end of the gorge in Shaba.|
We drove an hour to the beautiful mobile camp that had been set up just for this trip. The black volcanic rocks promised fun with the UV light in the night when scorpions which glow fluorescent yellow in UV, would be coming out of their hiding places to hunt for insects and other tiny prey. Granite outcrops and an amazing gorge cut by the river beckoned us to boulder them, and how refreshing it is to jump in the river after a morning game drive as the mid-day sun reaches its height. Because the wildlife is much harder to find, most people get sent to other parks, but for the other guide on the trip, and myself, this was a great opportunity to have fun.
|Walking the gorge.|
The Maasai Mara complimented Shaba giving us great sightings of cheetah, leopard and more lion than wildebeest at this time of year. I’m always impressed with the abundance of wildlife year round in the Mara. If its not wildebeest, its topi, or zebra, or eland in astonishing numbers. Hippo, hartebeest, elephant, warthogs, Maasai giraffe, hyena, black-backed jackals, a couple wildebeest, reedbuck, banded mongoose and the list goes on. Combining the Mt. Kenya hartebeest, oryx and white & black rhino we’d seen at Borana and Lewa the trip mammal list came well over 50.
|The young male leopard.|