Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Petting Rhinos and Cheetahs

Our next destination, after our 4 days at Masai Mara (2 days at Nyumbu Camp and 2 days at Serena Lodge), was Amboseli. It would have been too tiring to drive there directly so we decided to do a stay-over in Nairobi.

On our way out of Masai Mara, we came across this Southern Ground Hornbill who seemed very willing to pose for us. I swear she batted her eyelids at me as well but when she saw Michelle, she backed off!

Since it was a black bird being shot against a very bright background with very harsh lighting (mid day sun), it was difficult to get the full dynamic range in camera. So, for the first image  I created 3 images from a single raw file to create an HDR image. The 2nd image is a single shot and you can see the colour and impact is much less than the first one - though there was quite a bit of dodge/burn to bring out the details in that one. 

I always try to keep my HDRs as real to the scene as possible only using to show the dynamic range that is impossible to capture in camera with a single frame. However, I decided to experiment and do one of those extreme HDRs which has become an art form in itself.

Once we got in to Nairobi, we explored some of its other attractions.

We were able to pet this Rhino – what an experience. Its incredible to see such power and magnificence up close and be able to touch it.

During our safaris at Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara, disappointingly, we didn’t see any leopards in the wild (we were not that lucky in Sri Lanka as well). So, one of the first enclosures we went to was to see this beautiful animal. However, he was not in a good mood and was not too pleased to see us.

These were shot through a cage so it was a bit difficult getting a proper shot without the chain fence showing. 

The monkeys were not afraid of humans and this guy was bold enough to take some apples from our hand. 

Next, we headed out to do fulfil one of the main reasons that Michelle wanted to go to Kenya – to pet a Cheetah!!! Cheetahs are our favourite of the big cats. They do not display the ferocity and anger of the other wild cats and in fact are attacked by a variety of predators including wild dogs and jackals. It’s a good thing that Cheetahs are the fastest land animal (able to hit 60mph in under 3 secs – faster than some super cars!) because their prey is constantly stolen by lions, leopards, hyenas, etc.

Another great experience and a lifelong dream fulfilled :D


  1. What an experience! Can't help envying you :)

  2. Very nice photos. Where in Kenya you can pat rhinos and Cheetah. We are going Kenya tomorrow on Sept. 22, 2010. Thank you

  3. Haha is it just me or do you have the exact same look on your face as the cheetah in the middle picture?

  4. Kenya is one of the most magical places, really. I was there 18 years ago as a fourteen years old girl and this year I went back with my own daughter. Still so magical and wild.

  5. Hi Please let me know where you were able to do this. I'm born in Kenya however left when I was 4 years old.. Now after 25 years im flying back. Petting a cheetah is top on my bucket list. any info would be great

    1. Hi Shikha

      Sorry this is not something open to the public. We had a friend who was able to get us special access to do this.

  6. Petting a cheetah must have been a life changing experience.

    Amazing !!!!

    1. It was - unfortunately my words cannot describe it.


If you like this blog post or pictures, please leave a comment to let us know. Thank you.