Thursday, February 14, 2013

Giraffes in the skyline

About ten minutes from downtown Nairobi you can drive through the gates into the Nairobi National Park.  The park literally shares a boundary with the city with a giant wall and electric fencing separating the two. Many people go into the park with a guide or on a tour, but us locals, we can just drive in and wander around - without getting out of the car of course!   
Just after entering the park we got quite excited when a woman in a big Land Rover stopped to tell us that she had just seen two female lions with five cubs just walking down the road!  She gave us directions to the spot where she had last seen them and wished us luck.  Unfortunately, after driving to the spot she had indicated, we learned from another group that the lions had gone off into the forested area a few minutes before.  Drat! 
Oh well.  It was only the beginning of the day and there were many more animals to see.  We drove on...kind of aimlessly because they did not give us a map at the entrance.  We would spot an animal in the distance (thanks to our expert spotters in the sunroof!) and then try to drive toward it to get a better look.  Sometimes this worked and sometimes the roads didn't cooperate and took us off onto another area altogether. 

African Cape Buffalo

Crested Crane and Gazelle

Giraffe just ten yards from our car

We saw this group of giraffe grazing from a distance and we noticed that there was a road that ran right along next to them.  We drove very slowly and carefully until we were right up next to the group.  Actually there were about eight of them spread out in the area.  They were totally non-pulsed by our presence and just went on about their business.  In general, unless you startle them, the animals in the park are used to cars and allow you to come quite close to them. 
"Leopard Cliffs Lookout" one of the only spots you are encouraged to get out of your car...the girls were not convince this was a good idea!

Giraffe and the Nairobi Skyline

The real thrill of the day was a little driving lesson from Appa!  The girls each got turns taking the wheel, something they had never been given the chance to do before.  And believe me, this was no smooth road!  There were puddles and pot holes to weave in and out of - such fun.

Mama Rhino and baby

This Rhino and her baby were quite far off when I took this shot which is why it is a bit fuzzy.  We tried to get closer, but it was not to be.  Every road that we thought would take us closer to them turned out to go the other way.

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