I’m taking the trip a little out of order, but thought it was about time to share the safari with you all! The day started bright and early with a quick breakfast at 6am–really just put together pb&j sandwiches and an apple for the trip. I grabbed about three gulps of coffee and we were out the door. On the road by 6:30 am. I really was impressed with the sometimes timeliness of such a large group. I liked the way Kamal, our host, described what we were about to see on safari. “Now you will see how God gifted Africa. He gave her something special that he did not give to Europe.”
This time, instead of all 17 of us being in one big bus, we split into 3 safari vans–you know those kind that the top pops up on so you can stand up and take pictures. Yeah, and so you are easily accessible to all the animals… I didn’t take a picture of one so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I have to say that the seats on the bus and the vans were very spacious and comfortable. That was good, because our drive out to the Masai Mara was over 5 hours. We drove through the crazy roads of Nairobi–animals, people walking, donkey carts, and cars seem to have equal access– and out into the countryside. After a couple of hours, we came to the Great Rift Valley. Our driver told us that this was the basis for the movie The Lion King. It really was beautiful, and so very grand and spacious. Not sure my pictures can do it justice.
After we got through the Rift Valley (where we saw some baboons and some zebras just along the side of the road!) we turned off onto a, well, dirt road just doesn’t describe it. It was dirt, but it was full of rocks, deep ruts, and just general bumpiness. And we were on that road for a good two hours! We learned later that most folks flew into the resort. Here’s a typical scene. Most of the time the goats and the cattle were on the side of the road. You can kind of see a Masai guy there with the cattle. They are just like you see in the movies. Very tall, thin, dignified, and almost always wearing a red blanket. I wanted to take closer pictures, but it seemed politically incorrect.
Here’s a picture of the never-ending dirt road. Doesn’t really do it justice. It was NOT this smooth in real life.
We came upon this guy before we even got to the reserve!
I think these animals were the first official animals we saw after entering the Masai Mara. You’ll have to forgive my lack of names for all the deer-types.
We came upon these ‘crown birds.’ That’s what the guide called them. I think we have a fancier name in America.
Then we came to this whole group of LIONS just lazing around under this tree!!! This was so exciting. We were so near to them that later I realized that if one of them had wanted to, they could have reached me through the open window (I was sitting in the front seat) in one leap! Fortunately, (we heard this later,) they had killed and eaten a zebra the day before, so that is why they were so lazy. Still. It was really something to see them so close. We had to be real quiet, and the drivers turned the vans engines off, because they said that sounds really bugged the lions.
Their paws were huge.
This is the female that was close enough to jump into my lap. Isn’t the young male cool looking?
And that’s just the beginning! To be continued…