Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kenya Update - 12/17/07


• Randy and I were picked up at the Safari Park hotel and taken to Wilson Airport in Nairobi where we boarded a small aircraft to the Masai Mara.
• The flight took a little over an hour as we flew at a pretty low altitude and made three stops on dirt runways along the way…the distance between a couple of the stops was 3 minutes and 5 minutes…the countryside was absolutely beautiful! We flew over the great Rift which runs from the Dead Sea all the way to Mozambique.
• As we took off from Wilson we flew right over Kibera and from the air you can see how close the slum is to the surrounding compounds of the very wealthy. I got a good picture of it.
• When we touched down at our airstrip we were met by our safari guide whose name is Jonathon. We got on board a big 4 wheel drive Land Cruiser and he took us to Keekorok Lodge where we’ll be staying. When we were taken to our room the porter said, “on the other side of those trees is a hippo pond, where they usually stay and eat…they often come up to the courtyard and feed as well…if they are in the courtyard just stay in your room until they return to pond”…I looked at Randy, and we were both like…OK, will do! Several times I have heard loud snorts and grunts coming from the area of the pond and it sounds like it’s right outside my room!
o The Safari works like this…Each morning at 6:30am we go on a game drive until about 9am and then go out again at 4pm until about 6:30pm
o We went on a game drive at 4pm, and within the first 30 minutes we came upon a pride of about 6 Lions just resting in the shade.
o We also saw some Elephants, Wildebeests, Buffalo, Gazelles, Mongoose, Hyenas, and a bunch of other animals.
o The highlight of the day was coming upon a pride of about 10 Lions as they rested and played with their cubs! They were so cute! We watched them for quite a while and then all of a sudden one of the females got up and started to head off into the bush, then another and another and it soon became apparent that a herd of unsuspecting wildebeest were about to become snacks. It was amazing to watch as without a sound this family of lions communicated with each other to move into position for the kill…the herd was a good distance away but with great patience the lions slowly began to stalk their prey…we actually followed one of the females as she crept paw over paw through the brush and every time she would glance back at her reinforcements they would do the same…she crept right next to our vehicle unfazed and completely locked in to what she was doing…we sat there and watched this drama unfold for quite a while until it was getting dark, and our guide said that we had to go back to the lodge…we were all bummed because it was an amazing thing to watch from our front row seats!
o We returned from our first game drive, and had dinner at the lodge.
 The dinner tonight was a little more conventional as opposed to what I ate the other night (I forgot to mention that at Safari Park I had some of the following meats for dinner)
• Ostrich
• Goat
• Lamb
• Crocodile
• Buffalo
• Wildebeest (just kidding, we left that for the Lions)

• After dinner Randy and I spent some time talking about the things we saw as well as more strategizing about YMI
o We also met a young warrior from the Massai tribe…we talked with him for quite a while asking him about his culture…it was very interesting!

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