Come on a safari with me!

Standard

IMG_1814

IMG_1815
The last two days of my week in Kenya were spent at the fantastic Maasai Mara Game Reserve.  I was accompanied by  my new friend Salaton and I felt extremely privileged to have the tribal chief as my personal safari guide!  We were driven in a 4-wheel drive van with a pop-up top, so I could stand up and take pictures.

This was my first real safari and I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I was expecting to see animals, of course, but nothing really prepared me for the enormous space of the Mara, or of how up close and personal we were able to get to the animals.  Since they have learned that these funny-looking two-legged creatures in the noisy contraptions are neither prey nor predator, they mostly ignore us completely…going about their business and allowing us to gawk.

I was able to see more than 30 different animals; most closely enough to get a good look and a good picture.  ALL the pictures here were taken with my little point-and-shoot camera.

We saw giraffes before we even got into the boundaries of the reserve…and later saw more, even closer.

IMG_1900 IMG_1899 IMG_1806 IMG_1807

As I had hoped, we saw many elephants.  There were even a couple of babies…but the mother carefully herded them away as we approached.

IMG_1840 IMG_1841IMG_1913

 

We saw several kinds of vultures…some in trees and a bunch feeding on the carcass of a dead elephant.

IMG_1902 IMG_1890 IMG_1831 IMG_1834 IMG_1835

I got a good shot of a malibu stork, which is the bird I saw flying from a distance on my bird watch last month.

IMG_1865

There were other birds, too….a secretary bird and a pair of Egyptian ducks with their little babies, no bigger than feather-balls.

IMG_1869

We saw a lot of zebras and wildebeests.  This was the end of their big migration (they tend to migrate together) and at one point, we saw a HUGE herd of them walking slowing across the plain.  There were also gazelles, impala, antelope and eland.

IMG_1867 IMG_1857 IMG_1870 IMG_1864 IMG_1819IMG_1919 IMG_1816

 

We came upon a couple of water buffalo, which apparently is one of the more dangerous animals, as they have been known to charge a vehicle!  And we also saw some warthogs…and some adorable babies, trotting along after their parents.  (“The Kenyan express,” Salaton said.)  I was unable to get a picture of the babies, but did get a snapshot of one hog hiding under a bush.

IMG_1823IMG_1882

 

Of course, everyone wants to see the majestic lion.  We came upon four different male lions.  May I present: The King Of Beasts!

IMG_1852 IMG_1854 IMG_1884 IMG_1885

Meanwhile, the female lion had made a kill and was guarding it carefully.  There was a flock of vultures nearby, waiting for her to be finished.

IMG_1862 IMG_1863 IMG_1864

We were lucky enough to see a cheetah – although not close enough for a good picture, I was able to view it through my binoculars.  It was sitting under a tree, looking like a huge housecat as it licked its paws and yawned.

Later on, we came upon a pair of lions.  Salaton said it looked as though they might be getting ready to mate, and indeed, the male put on a great show to the female – approaching her several times with his hips swaying and making huffing sounds.  He even went so far as to urinate most spectacularly right in front of her nose (and I got a picture of him doing it!) However, she was unimpressed and merely moved away from him.  He sat down again to wait for another opportunity.

IMG_1903 IMG_1907 IMG_1906

Just before lunch, we found a watering hole with at least a dozen hippos!  They did not come out of the water (which was probably a good thing) but we could see their heads and ears and hear their snuffling sounds…almost like whales…as they surfaced to breathe.

IMG_1875 IMG_1874

 

More animals included a bushback (very rare to see; as they are quite shy…) a jackal, an ostrich (which is HUGE and looks like a mistake in design!), some mongoose and a couple of crocodiles, swimming near the hippos.

IMG_1896 IMG_1891 IMG_1890 IMG_1873 IMG_1850

We encountered some Maasai boys just as we were having our lunch and gave them all our bread-and-butter sandwiches.  I remembered to touch their heads and say “supa” to them – who knows what they thought of me, a mzungu woman with white hair, a big floppy hat and green sunglasses!  But they smiled and said “supa” back to me.

It was a fantastic way to end my week in Kenya.

IMG_1877 IMG_1880

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s