Baboons vs leopard in the Mara

The leopard before the baboons came along…

– Masai Mara, Kenya.    The usual suspects in the Masai Mara include the great migration of over a million wildebeest and zebra, impressive male lions roaring across the plains, and groups of elephants munching their way through the savanna and woodland. But we have also learned over the years to always expect the unexpected….and on a recent trip to the Mara my guests were fortunate to have front row seats to an unusual and thrilling altercation between a troop of baboons and a leopard.

When we first arrived on the scene there was a stunning female leopard scanning the area from a tree, and a second, smaller leopard – perhaps the female’s son – on the ground near the base of the tree. The second leopard then climbed into the tree. The female then spied a troop of baboons headed towards the tree and she made her way down. But the young male stayed in the tree….

Being mobbed by 10 baboons!

The baboons arrived at the tree and ten immediately climbed up and started to mob the leopard!  There were snarls and growls from the leopard and the baboons were wahoo-barking and shaking branches. The leopard was cornered out on a small limb at least 30 ft up from the ground. The standoff lasted for at least 20 min and the baboons got to within about five feet of the leopard.

Lucky for the leopard it was starting to get dark, and the babs seemed to decide to move on to a different sleeping tree. The leopard just stayed in the tree as we then turned away to head back to camp for the night. The Mara never disappoints, and you just never know what you will see when on safari there.

Photos courtesy of Dave Simpson.

Recap of the 2012 Lewa half marathon

At the finish

– Laikipia, Kenya.

On June 30th Steph and I completed the Lewa half marathon. Held within the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this annual race is considered one of the toughest marathon and half marathon courses on the planet. This was only my second half marathon, and was Steph’s first – and she did it just 10 months after her back surgery! We ran together and were very happy to finish the race in 2:10:10. Amazingly, the winner of the half marathon ran the 21km in exactly HALF the time it took for us to complete the race! It was very humbling seeing some of Kenya’s great runners at the starting line, but the atmosphere and the landscape were amazing and made it all worthwhile. The first 10km flew by. The seemingly endless hills between kilometers 13 and 16 were challenging, and the last 5km felt like 15….but we finished with a strong 100m sprint across the finish line.

Flying over the start and finish lines

The race is actually a huge fundraising event for Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust, with money going to a number of conservation and education projects in the area. We hope to organize a team and run it again next year, unless we are too busy with safaris!







The starting line

Helicopter surveillance for the race








On the run….

The finish line!






The rhino protection team from Lewa and Borana at the sarting line. They ran the half in army boots, carrying 35lb packs and guns!

Newsletter from the Kenya Wildlife Trust

-Nairobi, Kenya.

The Kenya Wildlife Trust has just posted their July newsletter on their website. I serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees at KWT, and many of my guests have contributed to wildlife conservation and education projects through the trust in recent years. Right now I am particularly focused on raising desperately needed funds for higher education scholarships and carnivore research and conservation. This safari season we have already been out tracking Amboseli’s lions with the Lion Guardians and have had a wonderful ‘hyena talk’ from the Mara Hyena Project researchers. Enjoy the newsletter and please consider supporting some of the current projects!