Here is the Part 3 from my recent trip to Kenya, from 8th to 19th June 2013. You can read Part 2 here.
Take a look below for a little gallery of photos relating to this entry…
Day two of the safari began with an early start, getting into the park just after gates opened. Not long into the drive we were lucky enough to see a cheetah peering through the long grass at the top of a mound, watching our every move in a considered and regal manner. We ventured further into the park, after spending a good twenty minutes in awe at the magnificence of this big cat, and we saw vultures circling high above and ostrich running past in pairs. Next were a collection of giraffes that crossed in front of us and proceeded to walk at a deceivingly fast pace into the distance, giving us some stunning photo opportunities with the endless Mara scenery as a backdrop. We passed lots of baboons, which aren’t the prettiest when close-up, but I was happy to capture a stunning moment in a distant acacia tree when a baby reached across to touch its mother before walking down the trunk away from her. The baboons were silhouetted in the photographs, giving it much more impact, and I had taken several shots very close together so I have a nice a series of the baby walking away.
We made our way towards the Kenyan/Tanzanian border, sighting many more giraffes, a large herd of elephants, a few big eared female waterbucks and even a turtle (one of the ‘small five’, as opposed to the ‘big five’). The border was marked by a large stone with ‘T’ and ‘K’ engraved on either side of a line, a reference point we used to jump to each side of the imaginary boundary (whilst the girls moved to some Tanzanian bushes to relieve themselves – I don’t know which was more dignified!). Our stop was well timed, as a mother and baby elephant were strolling around nearby and so we were stood as close as 50 meters away at one point, which felt much more breathtaking than when sat in the safari vehicle.
At lunchtime we were driven across a bridge over a large river to a guarded picnic area, where we had one of the rangers take us on a quick tour along the riverbank to see the hippos and a monstrous alligator before settling down to eat the food the camp staff had kindly put together for us. Mongooses scuttled around us and brightly coloured birds swooped to pick up crumbs or misplaced food.
On our way out of the park we got the driver to stop so that we could look at a very young zebra foal with its mother, which was so young that its stripes were brown and white – absolutely adorable!
Our final day in the Mara consisted of a 5 o’clock start which turned out to be well worth it, as we witnessed a beautiful sunrise over the misty hills in the distance and then had a couple of hyenas run literally straight past our vehicle (we could hear their heavy panting as they went by!). Satisfied with the whole safari (I mean, how could you not be? We saw ‘the big five’ within 2 days!), we went on back to the camp for breakfast before making the long journey back.
The Great Rift Valley was much clearer on the way back, so we stopped again and were able to appreciate the view properly. Before we knew it, mostly due to constant power-napping, we were back in Nairobi and myself and Ashley said our good-byes before we visited Village Market to allow him to get a much needed haircut. From there we took a taxi across to Lavington Green to get lunch before being picked up by Richard, Tiva’s father.
Richard turned up and had to go via his workplace, so parked up in his surprisingly secure-looking compound and invited us into his office whilst he interviewed a potential new driver. Ashley had told me that he owned a safari company and it became apparent that he had obviously done very well for himself, judging by the large office building filled with quite a lot of staff and the collection of safari vehicles parked up around the back. Richard came back after 20 minutes, apologised and packed up – this included taking a handgun out of his desk drawer and slotting it into a holster. Ashley (after previously having been in Richard’s office) had obviously been awaiting that precise moment, as he looked in amusement at the startled expression I was wearing right on cue…