Photos: Amboseli at Christmas

A masked weaver bird constructing a nest from long blades of grass above our swimming pool.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya

I’ve written about Amboseli National Park before, including during the dry season. This time, we visited at Christmas on a last minute deal, having cancelled plans to visit Hong Kong. As this was our third visit, I took less photos, but got some amazing shots from our safari camp, Tawi Lodge, which is situated right next to a watering hole. You can be having lunch or a swim and suddenly notice giraffes or an elephant wandering over for a drink or mud bath. We were also there during weaver bird nesting season. These birds like to construct their nests over lakes or swamps, as the water makes it harder for predators to approach – and our swimming pool seemed to work just as well. Fimally, there was an extended family of mongoose living under the wooden decking, who would come out in the early morning and late afternoon to dig for food.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the visit, including a great sequence of two lions brothers hanging out and hunting.

An elephant comes to the watering hole by our lodge for a mud bath. The mud provides natural sunblock during hot days and, like in nearby Tsavo, has a distinctive red colour when dry.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
A mother cheetah and her four cubs pause in the shade of a tree during a hunt.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Two of the five cheetahs hunting in the conservancy outside Amboseli National Park.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Flamingos in Lake Amboseli. The mud at the shoreline is still dried out and cracked from the recent dry season.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
A solitary flamingo wades through the lake, looking for algae to eat.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Two young males lions, brothers, wake up from their daytime nap.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
The brothers rub heads in a daily bonding ritual (we saw the same sequence the next day).
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
One of the lions has a good yawn.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Together, the two lions walk towards the lake, where a group of buffalo are grazing.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Staying upwind of the buffalos, the lions settle down to wait for nighttime, when their better eyesight will give them an advantage in the dark. The building on the far side of the lake are an abandoned safari lodge.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
Two African crowned cranes fly across an earth road. Like many birds, crowned cranes mate for life and are almost always seen in pairs.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
A pair of African crowned cranes looking for food. These birds are also the national animal of neighbouring Uganda, and featured on the country’s flag.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
A family of around 20 banded mongooses were living under the wooden decking at our lodge. They often came out to look for food and would stand up like meerkats to check for predators. My son Zefi is learning photography and would borrow my camera in the early evening to go looking for mongooses. This is one of his photos.
© Zephyr Brown/2022/Kenya
The same mongooses fighting over the best place on a log beside the watering hole.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
A Von der Decken’s Hornbill perched in a tree at our lodge, spotted by Zefi.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
The masked weaver bird from earlier, caught in the act of grass weaving.
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya
And the elephant from earlier, having a drink after his mud bath. This elephant had lost half a tusk at some point. Tusks are useful but elephants don’t need them to survive (female Asian elephants don’t have any).
© Andrew Brown/2022/Kenya

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