Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Safari, Day 2, Part One

6-30-13, Porini Mara Camp, Kenya

As an animal lover, I think I might just be in heaven. Right now, I am watching zebras stream across the savannah behind our tent, one after another in a line. Twenty minutes ago, I watched a swallow dive repeatedly as a monkey ambled across our camp, just ten feet from me. Five minutes ago, I heard two roars: the first sounded like an elephant, which we have not been lucky enough to see yet; the second roar was so fierce that we thought it was a lion, though the Masai guides insisted it was an elephant. Whatever it was, it caused me to leave the umbrella table where I was drinking my beer and seek company. I didn't want to be alone if a lion came running through the camp! 

So far, we have only seen one of the big five, the Cape Buffalo. We hope to see a lion and an elephant before we leave camp. We doubt we will see the other tel, which are a leopard and rhino, two animals that are rarely spotted in this part of the Mara. 

Aha! I just spotted the monkey again! Watching him walk slowly across the yard on all fours is akin to watching a house cat stalking through grass. 

Back to our day: This morning, we started our day off with tea, coffee, juice, and a wake-up call delivered by a Masai man. We then went on a two or three hour game drive, definitely our best yet. We saw silver-backed jackals, ostriches that were conducting a mating dance, loads of zebras (they are hugely abundant here), five baboons, and about six or seven giraffes munching from the tops of the same bunch of trees. Just as we did last night, we saw many types of antelopes: two types of gazelles, impala, topi, bushbacks, and a new find, elands. 

Later, we went on a bush walk with our two guides, plus another and a military guy with a gun--just in case. We actually didn't see any animals other than birds, but it was nice to get out and connect with nature on foot, plus we were able to get a little exercise. It was a fantastic first half of the day. When we got back, we had lunch, and then had an hour and a half to rest before having tea and heading out in the safari vehicle for a visit to a nearby Masai village and another game drive. 

A game drive in the Ol Kenyei Conservancy with Josphat (left) and Shadrack (right), our guides for every game drive. We loved them and they are extremely talented guides/spotters! 

Our tent

The view from our tent--we saw giraffes cross in the distance here, as well as elephants, various types of antelopes, and ostriches. 

Evening cocktails on a game drive, set up and served out in the open; called a Sundowner

Warming my feet by the fire; we did this each evening before and after dinner with red wine; the fire is also built to keep away animals. It works for all animals except for Cape Buffalo, the most deadly. 

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