A couple of the comments from the last post reminded me of some things I had forgotten to say. When I signed up for this trip, the possibility of a safari was mentioned. But it was not the main point of the trip, and my true thought process was that I was not going to plan on a safari being a part of the trip. If it was, that would be an extra added bonus. So when we got our schedule for the trip (like the third day we were there!) I glanced at it and saw 7-10am Tuesday: Safari. And I thought to myself, Wow, that really is a little safari. Then I looked again, and saw that the safari started on Monday morning. We were going on an overnight safari! I also thought that it wouldn’t be much different than visiting a wild animal park here in the states. It was SOOOO different. I can’t really describe to you the vastness of the reserve. It truly felt like you were just out in the wilds of Africa. Well, you were. It is just protected now. And probably the animals are a little more used to cars and trucks than they used to be. I also thought, like Jill mentioned, that we might see an animal or two, but they would be at a long distance. But we were SOOOO close to so many of the animals, as you will see. The drivers are very skilled at spotting the animals, and then they stay in contact with one another by walkie talkie or cell phone. Oh yeah. That was one of the biggest revelations to me. There, in the middle of nowhere, with miles and miles of nothing, these guys had perfect cell phone reception. I can’t even sit in my own house and have a decent conversation on my cell phone. There’s something seriously wrong with that.
Anyway, after the lions, we saw a couple other interesting animals. This character was called a secretary bird. So appropriately named, don’t you think? I was really fascinated by this bird, because I think it is one animal that I have never seen in a zoo, or on a nature show. Our guide said that it is a scavenger type of bird.
He was in a hurry to get somewhere!
We saw lots of deer-type animals. Maybe these are impalas?
So, when I heard that we were going on an overnight safari, my immediate question was, “What kind of place are we staying at?” Not because I’m picky. I just wanted to know whether it would be worthwhile to bring my hairdryer and try to wash my hair there. J, our leader’s wife, gave me a thumbs up and said “its a NICE place.”
I have to admit that as we took that never-ending dirt road to the middle of nowhere, I thought to myself, oh, this is going to be Africa nice, not regular nice. We continued our drive through the Masai Mara, went up a little hill, rounded a bend, and there it was–Paradise!!! We walked in the front door of this resort, hot and covered with dust, and were greeted by an attendant who handed us a warm moistened wash cloth to wipe our faces and necks off! Followed by an attendant collecting our grimy washcloths!! Followed by an attendant with a tray of cool fruit drinks!!! Oh, yeah. This was a NICE place.
Here’s the view from the expansive patio.
We dropped our bags off, and went in to have lunch. It was a buffet, but someone said it was similar to the type of buffet that they have on a cruise ship. They did have lots of native type foods, but also plenty of American and European type foods as well. Oh yumm. Can anybody tell me why such a foodie as myself never thinks to take pictures of food??? You’ll have to take my word for it. It was GOOO-OOOD.
You can kind of see the rooms off in the distance of this picture. Each room stood individually. They were supposed to look like Masai mud houses.
I didn’t care so much about the exterior, but look at the inside of this room. Heaven.
Each room had its own little deck. I opened the doors and walked out on the deck and saw this little animal looking back at me. It was another strange animal that I had never seen. Later I showed this picture to our driver and asked him if he knew what it was, and he said in his charming accent, “Oh that is a skaral.” “What was that?” I had to ask about 3 times. The third time one of my traveling companions helped him with the pronunciation. “That is a squirrel.” Oh.
After cleaning up and relaxing in our rooms for a bit, we met in the lobby to go out on safari again. There were some beautiful landscapes and skyscapes along the way.
Then we climbed a little ridge and came upon a river. I saw two animals I NEVER expected to see on this trip: HIPPOS!!!
There were a ton of them in this river. It was hard to tell which were rocks and which were hippos.
And CROCODILES!!! Can you believe it? These guys were gigantic! I’ve been saying they were 27 feet long–that’s what I thought our guide said. Evidently crocodiles aren’t that long. But they were BIG.
And they had big teeth.
Water buffalo were plentiful.
More giraffes. I took this picture because it showed all the little birds landing on his neck. They are looking for ticks, our guide said. Ewwww.
Back by the lions, who were still snoozing.
Oooh! We spotted our first rhinoceros! There had been a lot of talk about ‘the Big Five.’ Which I thought referred to the five most difficult animals to spot on safari. Evidently, the traditional meaning is ‘the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot. Anyway, rhinoceros was one of them, so we were pretty happy to see it. The other four were lion, water buffalo, elephant, and leopard. We were doing pretty good on our quest to see the big five!
Oh yeah! This was the best. Elephants are my all time favorite wild animal. In fact, my nickname forever was Elly. And I can ‘trumpet’ a mean happy birthday. Only to select people. But I digress. Can you believe we saw elephants close up??? There was always a group of elephants, and usually they were surrounding the babies, so I was really excited when I could get a pic of the mom and her baby. Our guide said this baby was only about a month old!
Our day was almost done (you have to be off the reserve by 6:30pm. Probably more for your own protection than for the animals) when this animal was spotted! What a find. And what a magnificent creature! (Cheetah.)
We saw these hyena pups cavorting by the side of the road. Their mom skulked by but I didn’t get a clear shot of her.
We drove back to the resort so happy and satisfied with all we had seen, and were treated to this glorious sunset.
Had another delicious meal, and I headed off to my room for a wonderful shower, and to wash my hair, and to spend a little time working on my little quilt project that I had with me. Slept so well in that wonderful bed. We would go out on safari one more time before heading home.