Safari 25: Joy and Sorrow

A true safari adventure allows you to get up close and observe the natural world in the raw, but as Porini Camps guest Clinton Richardson observes, Nature is unpredicatable and has its ups and downs …

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This series of blogs will take you on Clinton’s safari in Kenya as he travels from Atlanta (USA) to Nairobi National Park, Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Laikipia) and Olare Motorogi Conservancy (Maasai Mara). Let’s join him on his journey as he shares his insights into the conservancies, Porini Camps and the people (and animals!) that he meets along the way. All images are from Clinton’s photo site. Blog entries are from his Venture Moola blog at
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When we planned our safari we did not really know what to expect. Would we see lots of animals? Would we be able to get close? Would we see young animals? Or, would the area be depleted because of drought?
If you have been reading the earlier Safari Series entries, you know the answers to these questions. The abundance and variety of animals exceeded all expectations. And, skilled Maasai guides got us close, not just to the animals but also to the action and drama of the African plain.

All this was illustrated as we headed back toward camp in the Maasai Mara. The softened light of the hour before dusk was upon us as our guide headed us toward a hyena nest we had seen the day before.
This day, however, we were greeted by a large troop of baboons in the valley just next to the small rise where the hyena made its nest. There were at least 40 of them and they were on the move heading in the general direction of the camp. Some stopped to eat or sit but all were slowly making their way across the plain.
Our guide drove right up to the troop and then slowly through it on his way to the rise where the hyena were nesting. As shown in the first picture from the day before, there were several cubs in the nest. This evening, one of them was out and actively following mom as she wandered about.

The mom was both attentive and, from time to time, a bit wary of the attention. There was no feeding going on. Perhaps she was finished for the day. As you can see, she was attentive and gentle with her cub.

As I watched this warm family moment from my seat on the right side of the Land Cruiser, my wife reached over and tapped me on the shoulder. “Look to your left,” she said.
As I did, I noticed that all other eyes in the vehicle were fixed on a baboon with her newborn baby. Quite something to see two species with babies in such close proximity. The hyena were no more than 10 yards from the right side of the vehicle and the baboon was less than 15 yards from the other side of the vehicle.

But something was not right. As we watched the baboon cling to and groom here newborn we noticed that the baby did not move. She carried the baby close to her body and walked about.

The baby seemed limp in her arms. She was not responsive. And then, after settling in one spot, the mother released the stillborn infant and laid her in the grass.
The mood in the Land Cruiser dampened. We watched a bit longer to see if there was life in the infant but there was not. We soon headed back to camp.

First published 4 Apr 2019. All photos and text are © Clinton Richardson. All images are from his galleries at

About Clinton Richardson

Clinton Richardson has been writing and taking photographs for decades. His books include the critically acclaimed 5th edition Richardson’s Growth Company Guide 5.0 and the award-winning book about social media and ancient coins called Ancient Selfies. His images, including images taken on his trip, can be viewed at His Venture Moola blog can be viewed at

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