"We are dedicated to providing exclusive , bespoke, upmarket,

tailor-made, luxury safaris and exotic holidays for the discerning client looking for the ultimate, authentic, classical Kenya safari, away from the mass tourism sector". 



Dear Friends of Governors!

February was another exciting and busy month for the Governors Campcollection. At Loldia clients have been delighted by the diversity of wildlife and different experiences on offer here. It has to be one of the top places anywhere to see Bat Eared Foxes, which are wonderful animals normally nocturnal but seen recently in the day at Loldia; ourresident Eland Bull in front of the house has a new friend - a male Giraffe has recently arrived; the Eland and Buffalo herds are thriving on the top plains; our resident Leopard were often seen on the lawn at night; there is a new Raptor Rehab centre nearby and guests have enjoyed that; the water birds have always been exceptional on the Lake shore and hippo are always seen from the boat. All in all the wildlife has been excellent this month. The new tarmac road means we are only 15 minutes from the main road to Nairobi, and our honeymoon and family guests  continue to say that the tranquillity of the gardens and the Silver Service and fine-dining are a wonderful treat. Loldia really is the perfect place to start your safari.

The Mara always excels and you will see from the report below that February was no different and in Rwanda new soft furnishings and the prospect of a new room available from June is helping cement Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge's position as the premier place to stay to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla and to enjoy Rwanda - a very special country.
On the Community front the Mararianda Charitable Trust and SACOLA in Rwanda with whom we partner closely continue their excellent work, and we have had some very special milestones reached with repeat visitors - two couples staying with us today are marking their 15th and 30th return visits respectively, and in 2015 one couple marked their 50th return visit to Governors Camp. We are very honoured that they have chosen to spend so much precious holiday time with us.

February Wildlife News Masai Mara

4 March, 2016

Weather and grasslands

February this year has been relatively dry; we have had warm and sometimes humid days, strong winds and cool early mornings with pastel sunrises opening the curtain to a new day, temperatures have been as low as 19°c and high as 31°c. Rainfall for the month was 51.4mm, with the heaviest rainfall of 18mm falling on the 1st. The Musiara Marsh water level is now quite low and also the Mara River. Grasslands are slowly drying out although good stands of grasses will be seen on Rhino Ridge, Paradise Plains and Musiara Plains. 

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds 

On the plains

Elephant dominate the open plains and woodlands, the warburgia trees are still fruiting and this has brought many elephant into the woodlands and camps. The Marsh attracts large numbers of elephants during the heat of the day with many families with calves of all ages crossing the Mara River to move towards the Marsh. There can be much bellowing and trumpeting as they move into the woodlands. Within the camps we often see the large resident bull elephants that come through and shake the warburgia trees to get the fruit to come down. 

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds 

Many resident Zebra have come through into the north east areas of the reserve especially on the Topi Plains areas. These make up the first of our annual migrations and are from the Loita migration.

Large troops of Olive baboons are feeding off the warburgia fruit in the riverine woodlands, moving later in the morning to the open grassland plains to forage. The dominant males in these troops will take small prey such as Thompson or Grants Gazelle fawns and Impala; they feed either on their own or with their favorite consorts.

Impala are in good numbers with both breeding and bachelor herds' resident within the woodland verges between the camps. In the late evenings as the sun is going down impala ewes can often be seen running around in circles as if chasing each other while kicking their back legs high in the air, this is known as 'empty kicking' and is something to behold.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds 

There are large herds of Topi on Topi Plains and the males are rutting. The resident lion prides are feeding off the Topi in this area. There are also Small herds of Cokes Hartebeest on Topi plains. Warthog with 6-7 month old piglets are spread out across most areas of Musiara and the adjacent conservation areas.

Masai giraffe are also in residence. The dominant males eat the leaves of the warburgia in the forests, while the breeding herds tend to spread out since they are catholic browsers, meaning they are able to feed in many different habitats. The coats of the giraffe have dark blotches or patches which can be orange, chestnut, dark brown or nearly black in color and then separated by light hair usually white or cream in color. Male giraffes become darker as they age. The coat pattern serves as camouflage, allowing it to blend in the light and shade patterns of savanna woodlands. The skin underneath the dark areas may serve as windows for thermoregulation and help dissipate heat, also being sites for complex blood vessel systems, with the help of large sweat glands. Each individual giraffe has a unique coat pattern. Giraffe do not have 'horns' but instead have Ossicones that are derived from ossified cartilage, and the Ossicones then remain covered in skin and fur, rather than horn.

Hippo frequent the camps and as the grass is drying up within the camps they are spending more time out beyond the woodlands and into the open grassland plains. They are often seen sunning themselves on the sand banks, hippo secrete a substance from their skin and two distinct pigments have been identified in the secretions, one red and one orange. The two pigments are highly acidic compounds. They are known as red pigment 'hipposudoric acid' and orange pigment 'norhipposudoric acid'. The red pigment was found to inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria, lending credibility to the theory that the secretion has perhaps an antibiotic effect. The light absorption of both these pigments tends to peaks under ultraviolet light or direct sunshine, thus creating a somewhat sunscreen effect. 

On the 11th a pair of Bat eared foxes were seen in the south Topi Plains, they appeared to be in a hurry and in fact were not far from the Madomo lion pride that were still eating the remains of the Topi they had killed.

Cape Buffalo are in good numbers with herds in the Bila Shaka, Topi Plains and Rhino Ridge, out of this there are many resident bulls that are now within the west marsh and Topi Plains. Lion prides feed heavily off these buffalo herds.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds 

Black Backed Jackals in monogamous pairs will be seen hunting and scavenging in all possible places within the Musiara areas.

The other common predator/scavenger is the spotted hyenas, and they are in abundance with Paradise Plains, Bila Shaka, Topi Plains and Rhino Ridge holding some large clans,

the spotted hyena compete strongly with the resident lion prides, much of what they are eating has been killed by them. It is not uncommon to see spotted Hyena hunting rutting Topi during mid-day, male lion that are in the immediate area hear the hyenas whopping calls and will quickly rob them of their kills.

Photo courtesy of Dave Roberts 


Lately we have seen lots of Open Billed Storks in the marsh, they can be seen circling in large flocks, the African Open bill feeds mostly on aquatic snails and freshwater mussels. However, it will also eat terrestrial snail, frogs, fresh water crabs, fish, worms, and large insects. It uses its bill to detect its prey, and can use it to pry open molluscs. They feed singly or in small groups. Small numbers of White Storks have also been seen on the open plains recently. Common kestrels are still being seen in relatively large flocks. Saddle billed storks will commonly be seen in the west and east marsh, in the late morning of the 28 a male saddle billed stork was seen foraging in a shallow pool of water and then suddenly it caught a large cat fish, he spent a lot of time trying to get it to go down the hatch. Black Headed Herons and Grey Herons often in large numbers are being seen frequently dotted about within the marsh and grasslands.


The Marsh Pride with adult lioness Charm, four of Siena's sub-adult cubs (a male and two females that are 26 months old and one is Charm's 19 months old female), all are spending much of their time within the Bila Shaka, East Musiara Marsh and sometimes as far the north Musiara Plains. They hunt resident Topi, Warthog and Buffalo calves. On the 11th, 21 different lion were seen within one hour's drive from our camps. The Marsh lioness Charm and the four sub-adults, including the male's Red and Tatu were in the long grass areas of the south east Bila Shaka Plains, the grass here is long and finding them can be tricky. They all looked well fed, having killed and eaten a Topi in the early hours that morning. The two males Red and Tatu were last seen together on the 29th near the north end of the Musiara plains.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds 

The five marsh lionesses are being seen further south east of Bila Shaka, earlier on in the month two of these lionesses had five cubs between them, and lioness Yaya still has her two cubs that are 3 months old while we have not had any sightings of Chemi Chemi's cubs since the 13th of the month. We are not sure why she has lost her cubs, perhaps being her 1st litter and prey being difficult to come by caused stress and pressure to abandon cubs for hunting, Yaya a more concerned mother would often be seen with all five cubs. There has been Spotted Hyena seen frequenting the grounds where these cubs were and also a Martial Eagle has recently taken up residence in the Bila Shaka, it is well known here in the Mara that Martial eagles prey heavily on lion cubs.

Photo courtesy of Moses Manduku

The all male lion coalition the 'Musketeers' have not been seen in and out of the Southern Paradise Plains for a long time now, Scar is still being seen in the Trans Mara and seems to cross the river very infrequently, he was seen briefly in the early week of the month in the Paradise area. Sikio, Hunter and Morani have strayed over occasionally with Morani being seen most often.

On the 11th the Madomo lion pride of 10 lion, with four lionesses and four six month old cubs had killed and were eating the remains of a Topi in the south Topi Plains; here grass levels are a little shorter with Topi being seen in large concentrations. Both black maned lion, Lipstick and Blackie are with the Madomo pride and they reside mainly in the southern areas of Topi Plains. The topi males are still rutting on Topi Plains and in the south Bila Shaka grasslands. Grass levels in the southern areas of Topi Plains and Bila Shaka are much shorter than many other poorly drained areas; it is on these grass flats that Topi will congregate and hence this pride manages this area well. This pride is a very active and has progressed well since the two black maned males have come into the pride; Madomo the lead lioness has been through hard times in the past two years.

The Paradise Pride of three lionesses and six, 18 month old cubs were seen to arrive in the Bila Shaka area on the 26th of the month where they had killed and eaten a Zebra near Milima Tatu, on the 28th they had killed and eaten a Hippo early that morning in the oxbow near the Governors Private Camp. Later the marsh lion with male Red chased the Paradise Pride away, stealing the hippo and feeding on it.


Romi the female Leopard who has two cubs that are seven months old were being seen again more frequently within the riverine woodlands of the Mara River. Lately she has been seen close to the northern area of the West Marsh.

Siri the female Leopard near the Serena pump house area with her 20 month old male cub were being seen either close to the Serena pump house hill or the Chinese hill further south down the river, they are both very active within the boundaries of the river.

'Bahati' the female leopard on the Talek River area and on the confluence of the Talek and Ngiatiak rivers, she has two cubs that are approximately eight months old, latterly she has been on the Talek river area and has been hunting impala ewes, warthog and Grants Gazelles.

The female leopard Saba has two 14 months old cubs a male and female who frequents the Olare Orok River. She preys on impala, warthog and Thompson Gazelles; the grass levels here are short and she habituates in a prime rich area. There is a male that is often seen in her home range and we suspect this is the father to her two cubs.


Malaika the female with her two, 20 month old sub-adult cubs (a male and a female), has been seen again south of the double crossing and into the triangle side of the Mara, these two now sub-adult cubs have been seen hunting successfully on their own, with the female being the more active of the two.

Musiara the female cheetah with her three, 8 month old cubs has been seen more frequently than other cheetah sightings, she is at the double crossing area and also into the Ngiatiak and Olare Orok areas in Masai land. She has been actively seen feeding and hunting Impala and Thomson Gazelles, here there are short grasses which is very suitable habitat for cheetah.

Photos courtesy of Dave Roberts

Nora the single female has the one 6 month old male cub; they are being seen in the southern areas of Masai land, in the latter days of the month she looked like she was limping and this is not uncommon for cheetah and may have come away badly from a hunting accident.

Amani is another female cheetah that we hear has up to 4 new cubs in the Masai areas South East of the Mara, reports need to be confirmed, she had been seen by guides as far west as in the Serengeti she has also been within the triangle, earlier on in January she was being seen briefly near the double crossing area, she has travelled extensively in the last two months.
Why we love March in the Masai Mara

21 February, 2014

We love March in the Masai Mara and we think you will too, here are all the reasons why we think you should experience the Masai Mara in March:

It's a quieter month in the Mara, less people about about mean you have more wilderness to yourself to explore. With the first few drops of rain the mara springs into life. The rain falls in late afternoon and evenings, making for cosy evenings in camp and spectacular sunrises and sunsets provide wonderful photographic opportunities.

Photo courtesy of Dave Roberts

Out on the plains the wild flowers, like the fireball lilies begin to bloom.

Photo courtesy of Geoff Hughes

In camp the Warburgia trees are fruiting which brings many elephant families into our camps and the woodlands around the camps. We also see good numbers of Elephant in the Marshes. These family groups often have young calves amongst the herds and the males are often in musth looking for females in oestrus. We also see troops of Sykes monkeys foraging for warburgia fruit up in the tree canopy above the camps. With the elephant passing through camp the mongooses spring into action scratching about in the elephant dung looking for insects to feed on. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Vermaak 

The Mini migration:

March is the month for the first big annual migration of the year when zebra and wildebeest arrive in large numbers (approx. 300,000) from the Loita hills and conservation areas and cover the plains around the Masai Mara. Wildebeest are also calving or have just calved by this time. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Vermaak 

Baby Animals:

There is a plethora of baby animals about from warthogs, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, zebras and eland calves amongst the big herds. Giraffe also give birth at this time of year. Hippos give birth and even from camp we have sighting of mothers and tiny hippo calves on the riverbanks and quiet river bends close to camp. There are literally babies everywhere even the genet cat who took up residence at Il Moran had kittens in March last year which she hid near the bar tent and we have had sighting of Serval kittens out on the plains.

Photo courtesy of Will Fortescue 

The topi and hartebeest calves are around 4 - 5 months old and the Hyena begin their annual specialist topi hunt.

We have been known to have sightings of aardwolves, shy nocturnal creatures, this is a rare and special sighting.

With the start of the rainy season the marsh fills up with water and small rivers appear in the grasslands leading to the Marsh. Catfish come out of their mudburrows and find their way along waterways to the marsh and rivers. Fish eagles and storks feast on the fish. This phenomenon has also brought about some unusual sightings like one year when we saw a sub adult male leopard catch a catfish, rather proud of himself he laid the fish down and took a moment to adjust his whiskers, the catfish sensing his chance made a heroic leap for the nearest stream and made a way to safety pursued by the surprised leopard who never caught up with the clever little fish!

Marsh pride of lion often have cubs at this time of year and we have good sightings of them around the Marsh feeding on topi, warthog, buffalo and waterbuck. Before the mini migration arives there is fierce competition between lion and hyena for prey as seen in this amazing photo taken last march of Hyena and lion sharing a kill.

Photo courtesy of Will Fortescue We continue to have good sightings of cheetah and leopard. 

Photo courtesy of Dave Roberts 

It's a great time of year to see the European migrants before they head off on their long journey back north. Migrant birds include Abdim Storks, Woolley Necked Storks and one year some lesser flamingos were seen in the Musiara Swamp.
We welcome you to the Masai Mara to enjoy March this quiet month when there is still plenty to see for a rewarding wildlife safari.

Photographic Safaris 2016 

We are running a series of Photographic Safaris in Masai Mara with world renowned photographer, film maker and wildlife guide Warren Samuels. This is a safari staying at Governors Private Camp where you will get the chance to hone your wildlife photography skills under the expert guidance and tuition of Warren Samuels. 

6 & 7 night Photographic Safari at Governors Private Camp 


Photographic instruction given in the car each day.
Evening slide shows on wildlife photography illustrating some examples of how to take good wildlife pictures,
Client Image Appraisal sessions
Screening on wildlife documentaries that Warren have been involved in, which he will present together with a brief lecture on the "making of" of each particular film. For those that would like it, Warren will be available to provide extra photographic coaching outside of game drive hours in the camp photographic gallery.

Dates and Costs

26th June 2016 for 7 nights - US$ 4892 per person sharing
3rd August for 6 nights - US$ 6012 per person sharing
18th September 2016 for 7 nights - US $ 6928 per person sharing
2nd October for 7 nights - US$ 5948 per person sharing
26th November 2016 for 7 nights - US $ 5808 per person sharing
11th December 2016 for 7 nights - US $ 5808 per person sharing 

This Safari Package Includes

Transfers in Nairobi from International Airport to Domestic Airport, flights to Masai Mara, 6 or 7 nights on safari at Governors Private Camp hosted by Warren Samuels, Participation on the Photographic workshop, Park Fees in Masai Mara, daily game drives in shared 4wd vehicle, breakfast, lunch and dinner in camp, 

soft drinks, beers, house wines and local spirits, laundry, return flights to Nairobi and a transfer to the international Airport for your flight home. 
For details or to book your place contact mike.mcinnes47@gmail.com 

Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2016 

A juvenile black eagle takes off from a waterfall © Ernest Porter 

A male lion greets a new day in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya ©Björn Persson 

A jackal plays with its food in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park ©Lynne Kruger-Haye 

A portrait of a male mandrill in a rainforest in south-eastern Gabon ©Giovanni 

It's time for a drink near the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Namibia ©Rian van Schalkwyk 

A lone elephant takes the first steps towards a new day in the Maasai Mara, Kenya ©Björn Persson 

A giraffe in Nairobi National Park, Kenya ©Paras Chandaria 

Reflections at Zimanga Game Reserve, South Africa ©Charlene Bacchioni 

A crested barbet in flight at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, South Africa ©Ernest Porter 

Meerkats on the lookout at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa ©Johan van Zyl 

A portrait of a lion in Kruger National Park, South Africa ©Bjorn Persson 

Elephants of Etosha National Park, Namibia ©Yael Graicer 

The eye of a leopard in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa ©Sean Cresswell 

A flat-headed agama in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania ©Tomer Razabi 

Fishing at Lake Awassa, Ethiopia ©Diane Bateman 

Greener pastures for a rhino ©Mark Winckler 

A praying mantis eats a bee in Durban Botanical Gardens, South Africa ©Pierre Bassani 

The king of the continent at Gondwana Game Reserve near Mossel Bay, South Africa ©Mark Winckler 

4 wonderful facts about baobabs 

Written by: Fausto Ciardo, camp manager at Selous Impala Camp 

The African baobab (Adansonia digitata) is one very special tree on the continent, and here's just 4 reasons why we treasure this majestic arbor at Selous Impala Camp. 

Baobab in Ruaha ©Flo Montgomery 

Baobab at sunset in Ruaha ©Rebecca Phillips 

1. They have amazing longevity

As the oldest natural things in Africa, they are living monuments; outlasting every plant and animal around them. These trees have evolved to have formidable resilience in order to survive in some of the driest, rockiest areas of this continent. Despite this hostile habitat African baobabs live longer and grow larger than most other trees in the world - this is the great paradox of their existence. Carbon dating has confirmed that some very old baobab trees have been around since the Great Flood, which took place up to 5 000 years ago. 

The huge gap in the trunk of this baobab was made by foraging elephants, who love the bark as well as the fruits of the tree. ©Rebecca Phillips, manager of Mdonya Old River Camp in Ruaha 

2. Baobabs have many medicinal and spiritual uses 

In Africa, the baobab fruit has been used medicinally for centuries to treat everything from vitamin C deficiency, fevers, malaria and gastrointestinal problems to heart disease, varicose veins and liver problems.

The fruit from the ancient baobab tree is an extremely rich source of polyphenals, which are known to be beneficial in reducing the glycaemic response - the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. Now scientists from Oxford Brookes University have established that these polyphenals can be transferred into food products, raising the possibility of creating a range of 'functional foods' produced specifically to reduce the effects of Type 2 diabetes.

Wherever baobabs grow, they are central to traditional healing practices. Medicinal compounds are extracted from fruit, wood and leaves. Even today, the trees and the ground around them serve as stages for treatment rituals. Baobabs are vital in sustaining local people both culturally and nutritionally. They are often revered as homes of spirits or at least conduits to the ethereal world. Animists still also imbue the tree with its own spirit. And many Africans, whose spiritual lives remain uncluttered by the constraints of modern religion, find the base of a huge baobab a good place to pray to an omnipresent god. 

Baobab flower ©Andrea Pompele 
Baobab flower ©Rebecca Phillips 

3. Baobab fruits are a super food 

As more scientific research on the remarkable nutritional value and health benefits of the baobab fruit emerges, people across the world are beginning to show an interest in products made from this up-and-coming superfood. Pure baobab fruit powder made from the dried fruit and baobab seeds are just a few examples of baobab products that can now be found in health food stores in the UK and the US. 

The baobab fruit is being billed as king of the superfruits, and it has just been given EU approval to be used in smoothies and cereal bars.

The fruit is not only low in sodium, sugar and calories, but it has: 

·  six times more anti-oxidants than blueberries;
·  six times more vitamin C than oranges;
·  six times more potassium than bananas;
·  more magnesium than coconut water;
·  twice as much calcium than milk;
·  66% more iron than spinach when calculated by the gramme.

4. They provide shelter to man and animals

Baobabs undoubtedly dotted the African savanna while our ancestors still lopped along on four legs. The trees would have provided them with easily gathered fruit, while branches gave shelter from rain, sun and predators. As man gradually started to stand upright, his hands began to shape tools and he may have begun to harvest honey from bees' nests in the trees, to appreciate the goodness in the leaves and to use hollow trees as cave-like homes.

Leopards adore the wide branches of baobabs ©Rebecca Phillips 
Lions take shelter under a baobab in Selous Game Reserve 

An open air safari vehicle from Selous Impala Camp finds shade under a baobab

Baobab trees in Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania currently show green leaves and good health. It appears that they have appreciated the recent rains and we are grateful to them for hosting bush breakfasts during game drives or providing shade for a lazy afternoon nap! If you're interested in exploring the Selous and seeing these majestic trees for yourself, contact Adventure Camps Tanzania. 

A baobab on a walking safari from Lake Manze Camp in Selous 

A picnic in Selous ©JW Nielsen 

Mother warthog takes on leopard 

As a lodge manager in the Timbavati one of my duties is to routinely check the roads are clear of branches left by elephants. While on one of these checks, we spotted some warthogs coming out of their burrow. We slowly drove past, counting them as they were running out, and it was then that we saw a leopard behind us with a piglet in its mouth.

We slid to a halt and I grabbed the camera, which was lying on the floor of my vehicle. I had no time to change the settings as I aimed the lens at the leopard, which was still on the ground with the piglet.

As I pressed the shutter button, the warthog mom smashed into the leopard to save the piglet. 

The leopard shot off to safety with the piglet, but the mother warthog was not giving up and smashed into the leopard a second time. They both took a tumble in the dust, but the mother warthog was unfortunately defeated and ran off. 

The leopard sat for a few seconds with his meal before moving off into the thick bush. 

I have lived in the bush a long time and have seen some amazing things, but I was extremely privileged to see something like this is and it is an event that I will not easily forget.