Tuesday, August 27, 2013

proper safari

Before going back to The States for the summer holiday we decided to make time to go on a "proper safari."  Up until now we have gone to several wildlife rich parks in Kenya, but have always done our own driving.  All of those locations were also fairly close to the city so we did not feel like we were really...out in the bush.

We flew from Nairobi's small domestic airport out over the Ngong hills and south toward Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Reserve.  Here we landed on a dirt runway fringed with Cape buffalo and gazelles. We stayed in a "tented camp." I add the quotes because really it was more like a small hotel room with a tent over the top of it.  It still felt a little bit wild however -especially when we discovered really large muddy paw prints on a bridge right next to our tent!

We went out on two or three game drives with a guide every day and were super lucky to see all of the "big five" in just two and a half days.  The whole experience was really quite surreal.  Sometimes I had to remind myself that this is all very real and not a cool Indiana Jones ride at Disney Land!

The Mara River - one of the rivers crossed during "the great migration"

ready to go at the Wilson Airport

The Violet Breasted Roller

Our first elephants in the wild - amazing
how we crossed the river - no bridge- just right across the rocks and through the water - this is when I really felt like I was on the Indiana Jones ride!

a pack of young hyena pups

a troup of baboons
Oleana scanning to horizon early in the morning

on our first early morning game drive - a flat tire - and the guide could hear an elephant lurking right around the corner!

Mr. Lion

giraffes and grants gazelles

this is how close the elephant came to our truck! She turned away at the very last moment!

sleepy Mr. lion
a young bachelor male

the lions walked right past the safari trucks apparently taking no notice of us at all!

elephant love

the illusive cheetah

a young rhino - only 49 individuals left in this reserve due to extensive poaching

the impala that the leopard had recently dragged up into the tree.

a sleepy leopard resting after storing her kill in a nearby tree

Hippos napping
a good view of the elephant mammary glands - My family thinks I am a little unnaturally interested in this but I think it is quite fascinating that elephants have breasts just like humans and other primates - something I did not know before.

our open sided "Landy" that took us on all of the game drives

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