A Travellerspoint blog



Kenya Safari

sunny 26 °C

Day 5.

After breakfast we were picked up by Allen from Gamewatchers in a safari van for our long 4 hour drive to Amboseli national park. I slept on and off the entire way finding it hard to keep my eyes open. The scenery changed from busy city to smaller towns with road side stalls and people selling lots of produce and clothing.




In between the small towns were miles of wide open spaces, lots of baron land with only a sprinkling of trees here and there. And many many speed bumps. It was a bumpy ride but eventually we arrived at the Amboseli Sopa Lodge. We were met by a very tall Masai man in bright red checkered Masai dress and lots of jewelry who welcomed us with hot towels and fresh juice.
Our room is a round hut with three beds , very spacious and mosquito nets that unfold at night for protection.


There are many monkeys on the grounds all hoping for a handout, which is forbidden.


After lunch we had a rest in the room and then Allan came to pick us up to take us to the park for our safari. The top of the van pops up for better viewing. We were there for just over three hours and saw many zebra, giraffe, elephant, hyena, gazelle, wart hogs, wildebeest, a pride of lions and a pair of cheetah with a fresh kill. Not bad for the first day.


Back for a rest again, dinner doesn’t not start until 7:30P and then a low key night to prepare for tomorrow.

Day 6.

After breakfast we headed out to the park at 7:30AM for a day of game viewing. Again we saw lots of elephants, zebra and wildebeest.


We also saw a huge troop of baboon and some with babies. This one looked like it was just born, and really quite un attractive. They are a very social animal and many of the others came up and gave the little guy a poke or a tug to acknowledge him.


The elephants really are the king of the jungle, not the lion according to Allen. We saw a pride of lions lounging about with the male watching over things. The elephant came close and the female lions scattered giving him room. The male held his ground however and eventually the elephant went the other direction.

The weather is not hot, even a bit on the cooler side and very overcast. Unfortunately we were not able to see the beautiful views of Mount Kilimanjaro
The elephants were still spending the day cooling off by spraying dirt on them selves and mud. At some points they could be seen in mud pools enjoying themselves
A herd was trying to cross the road and felt we were too close so started trumpeting and swaying while looking at us until Alan backed up.



There were many young zebra, with brown stripes instead of the black of the adult ones. They travel in big herds when they can and join forces with the wildebeest as there is safety in numbers


A number of marshy areas and small lakes with lots of flamingo and bird life. It is funny to watch them plow under the water looking for fish and algae to eat


Hippos were wallowing neck deep in the mud but too far away to get a good look at them. Here in the park we must stick to the roads unlike the conservancies we are heading to next

A boxed lunch was taken at the top of a hill and a lookout site over the park which was beautiful. Many colourful birds hoping someone would drop a few crumbs for them

We spent the day on a washboard gravel bumpy one lane road through the park and were there for eight hours in total. Unfortunately my fatigue caught up with me today and I could not keep my eyes open. I slept through a lot of it with Chloe kicking me whenever we stopped at an animal sighting. It was very frustrating and amazing considering how bad the road was. I needed to catch up and today was the day.

After a rest and dinner we packed up for our departure tomorrow.

Rhino Camp. Day 7

At 7 AM we drove back to Nairobi arriving around 11 for our 1PM flight to Kamok airport. . Because we were early we stopped at Eka Hotel and instead of taking our box lunches to the airport to eat we had them in the restaurant there.

Wilson Airport is where all the small planes fly to the various camps and east to the beaches. We said our goodbyes to Allen and he left with our main suitcases to hold for us until our return. We are only able to take small soft sided bags on these planes. Our 12 seater left with us and two families all heading to Porini Rhino Camp. It was a non stop 40 minute flight and a bit bumpy but not too bad.


We were met by two open sided land cruisers and taken to our home for the next two nights. It is a small camp with only 8 tents, overlooking a watering hole frequented by many of the animals. A blind is being built, finished next week unfortunately for us, where you will be able to stand very close to the animals as they drink and bathe in the pool.

Our tents have two beds and full bathroom a desk and chair. We tell them when we want our shower and they put hot water in the buckets above. This is a no footprint camp, all solar powered and instead of plastic water bottles you get a metal canteen to fill from the water cooler which is great. If they leave and tear down the camp you would never know it was here.


The two families are from New Hampshire, one has two boys aged 11 and 13 who were in our truck and the other has a girl and three young boys. There are a couple of other guys here that we met later, one from New York who works in IT, and the other lives in Nairobi and is a journalist and Getty photographer who travels the world. He is heading to Khartoum in Sudan tomorrow to cover a big demonstration happening there.
We also have a Porini Camp director and his wife from Nairobi. The latter four are all leaving tomorrow.

David our camp manager went over the itinerary and general info about the camp after a light lunch and then after a short rest we headed out on our first game drive

We saw lots of zebra, a number of warthogs, jackals, water buffalo, and reticulated giraffe which are different from the ones we saw in Ambroselli and only seen here.


We were disappointed not to see any rhino, but tomorrow is another day. After watching the sun set we headed back for a short rest in the tent before dinner. A Masai guide walked us to our tent and waited outside till we were ready for dinner, there is no walking around on your own here after the sun goes down. And we know why as we were sitting in our tents we heard a lion roaring right outside. There are many hippo wandering by as well. We are the last tent right in front of a small muddy creek which would be favoured by the hippos. We were glad he was there to walk us to and from the mess tent.
We sat around the fire for a bit first.
Dinner was great, they catered to our vegetarian needs, and had great conversations with everyone.

It was really hot today, but cools down incredibly at night. Chloe got under the covers and all of a sudden did a small yell
“There is something in my bed!!”
I said it was a hot water bottle and started to laugh. She pulled out this large hot water bottle with a fur cover on it.
They should warn you about these things. You could have a heart attack thinking there is some small animal in your bed. We laughed a long time about that.

As I write this we hear something very big outside our tent munching on grass or something. Maybe a buffalo or hippo perhaps. We were given a whistle to blow if we need help..........

I hope we can sleep tonight. We both have ear plugs.

Rhino Camp Day 8, Friday June 28

I slept soundly until 4AM and then just waited for our wake up call at 6. A young man quietly said hello and then asked if he could come in, unzipped the tent and put some hot chocolate for Chloe and hot water and lemon for me on the table.

We quickly got ready to be in the land cruiser by 6:30A. We had our same group with Tessa and Keith, Cameron and.Sam. The jeep stalled a number of times and then Tessa finally asked if we could please have another jeep as we didn't want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere waiting for someone. The next jeep was the staff one so not as nice and very cramped but at least it worked.

We drove to the eastern side and saw a couple of baby hyena that were really curious and quite cute. More giraffes, zebra and buffalo of course, elephants with babies, and lots of wart hogs.



Finally we found a rhino. He was on his own, a black rhino, and stood and posed for us. Black and White rhinos have nothing to doug with their color, White really means wide, describing the shape of the mouth.
White Rhinos are vey social and travel in groups while black are solitary and not as nice.


We are in Ol Pejetra Conservancy which has the highest concentration of rhinos in Africa. It is set in 283,000 hectares and patrolled by many rangers willing to shoot any poachers that try to do any harm to the rhinos. The animals are all free to come and go as they please, but the rhinos are in a massive electric fenced area where they put rocks and things that rhinos don't like in the pathway so they never leave and stay safe. The rangers rake the dirt every morning and night to check the footprints to see which animals came in and left during the day.

Next to the Rhino were a bunch of Cape buffalo wallowing in the mud to keep cool and try to keep the flies down as well.


At 9AM we went to the park for our breakfast and then Chloe and I went off to check in for our 10AM 'horseback riding with rhinos' that we had booked. Walking to the barn I was on a big pile of rock in the centre of the road when I just slipped off and landed face first on the road. Chloe and the girl leading both thought I had a a heart attack or something. One minute I was walking and the next I’m on the ground. I stayed there for a minute making sure I was okay. It was very painful on my right side and my neck, I had a big scrape on my arm too. I was quite pissed off that this happened mere meters from the barn and worried I wouldn't be able to ride.
But I went anyhow and although a bit sore didn't fall off the horse at least.

We were able to go into an enclosure where no one else can go and were very close to a mom and baby rhino only a month old. We saw a number of rhinos, the large Eland which look like caribou, so many wart hogs and other gazelles. It was just great. Chloe got to canter a bit but there were so many holes in the field it was not safe to do much.



We had just over an hour and so glad we did this. On the way out we saw Barack, the blind rhino and then back in the jeep with everyone for more game viewing. They had been out and seen many rhinos and a baby giraffe and mom.


We found more rhinos and various other animals and then back to the camp for lunch, a shower and rest until 4PM. We were going to have a walk with the Masai Warriors but the sky opened up and it rained very hard. We climbed into the trucks and went for a game drive, eventually the rain stopped enough to take the top off again.

We came across a very large male lion with a fresh buffalo kill. We discovered that he had two brothers with him as well. It would be hard for one lion to take down a buffalo but three would succeed, and did.


The three were in different areas and were very tired from the kill, the buffalo had not been eaten at all. We sat for a couple off hours and just watched the three of them, all sleeping, looking around and watching in different areas.
Finally the lion furthest away walked over to the buffalo and started tearing it apart, you could hear the flesh being ripped and then the smell hit you. It was gross and fascinating all at the same time. We felt so lucky to have all seen this.

Sitting by the fire for a bit before dinner I then said my goodbyes to people as we leave tomorrow.

All in all this camp was great and we really enjoyed it.

Lion Camp. Day 9

We were able to sleep in until 7:30 this morning and had the camp to ourselves as everyone else was out on a game drive. Breakfast at 8 and off to the air strip at 9 for our 9:15 flight to the Mara.

We were once again on a 12 passenger prop plane and it took just about an hour, with one stop on the way. The scenery was great.

Our drivers Chris and Wilfred met us and we did a slow drive to the camp looking for various game on the way.


The camp has changed since I was here two years ago, more tents and a few other changes. Our drivers from before are at different camps and there is a new manager, Silas.
After our welcome cold towel and juice we had an orientation from Silas and met the kitchen staff. Two of them remembered me from two years ago, most of the others are all new.

James is a waiter and Daniel is the head waiter and remembered so many details of when I was here with Lana, even where I was from. He mentioned the elephant being born outside our tent on our last night and the lions waiting on our veranda roaring all night.
He is such a joker and a lot of fun. It was great to be remembered after all this time with all the guests that have come and gone since then.

We had lunch , did laundry, had a rest and shower


We are off for a game drive and were joined by two other women, sisters from the US who both seem quite nice. Anna and Katherine . There are only four in our truck and these one have much bigger viewing areas.

“What do you want to see? “

Leopards was pretty much the unanimous answer.

We drove for a while and then crossed a small stream. I said I could smell a kill, ( I have a very good sense of smell) and sure enough we found a fresh kill of a Topi, which is from the antelope family. It was at the bottom of a tree almost untouched, so we knew that she wasn't far from here. We could already see jackels and hyena in the distance and it wouldn't be long before they came to have their share.

A couple of other trucks were also looking in the area as they all radio each other, but being in the conservancy the only trucks allowed in here are those from the camps in the area so there were only four or five.
Finally we found her, resting on a branch of a tree, panting as she was tired from all the work of killing that huge Topi.


Fig is the leopard that Lana and I saw last time we were here and I knew she had a daughter in September so anxious to see her as well. Chloe spotted her in the same tree, they camouflage so well. We sat and watched for a while and then the younger one, Farrah, came down and went to the creek. Eventually Fig came down as well and walked over to the Topi, but decided instead to run past and go into different bushes.

Our truck went around and watched the young one for a while and then back to see Fig trying to drag the Topi. Leopards usually put their kill up in the tree to keep it from other predators, but this Topi is way too big and heavy. She gave up and went over to Farrah to think about a plan I imagine.


It was such a gift to see a leopard at all as they can be quite elusive , but this was amazing.

Eventually we headed off , all very happy with the sighting and anything now was just going to be a bonus.

A pride of lions was our next big sighting. One lioness with two really young cubs and a bunch of others of various ages. She would be taking care of all of them while the other lions went out to hunt.

They were so funny. Playing, wresting, curious about us, but much more intent on playing and tumbling about . We had our ‘sundowner’ there in front of the lions which could not have been more perfect.




I even had a glass of red wine, seeing as how the other two women did. We also had some snacks as well. I got quite drunk on one glass seeing as how I rarely drink. Everyone was making fun of me about it. The sun went down and we headed back to camp.

When we got to dinner both of the big tables were full so Daniel said we had to sit at a small table for two. We were joking that we were at the ‘kids table’

Daniel came with our soup and then asked about what we wanted for a main course. He was a bit hard to understand, but we agreed with stir fry. He was making fun of the fact we were vegetarian, even though he remembers that from last time.

Then we were taking about age and he said Chloe looked 12 and I looked 40
I said “ you can alway tell an older women she looks younger, but an younger women want to look older”. He would not agree with Chloe that she was 17 and kept insisting she was 12.
Chloe was just about crying she was laughing so hard. He is such a joker but we noticed he is very serious with everyone else. I guess he figures we can take it, especially because he has Chloe in stitches the entire time.

When it came to dessert I found the only fork I had left on the table was a massive meat carving fork. Chloe was dying with laughter by this time. We called him over and held up the two forks, one big one and the regular one.

He feigned innocence and said “oh that’s a meat fork. Who put that there?”

It made for a very entertaining dinner and I cant wait to see what he will do tomorrow.

We hear the hippos grunting outside our tent

Lion Camp day 10

I woke at 3:30 to hear a hippo just outside my tent eating grass, very loudly. I was still awake at 5:45A when we got our tray of hot chocolate for Chloe, hot water and lemon for me and 4 biscuits delivered by our guy into our tent. I wish I could be woken up like that at home every morning.

At 6:15 we were on our way for our full day to the Masai Mara to witness the wildebeest crossing. It was very cold and windy in the open sided jeep but we bundled up in provided ponchos with flannel linings to keep us warm. On the way to the Mara we saw many animals of course, but a few males lions and lioness who were on their honeymoon, which is where they leave the pride for a week to try and conceive. They will mate as many as 4 times an hour.


Then we came upon a bunch of young lions, two males under 2 and some females. When the males are three they must leave the pride to go off on their own to start their own pride or remain bachelors.

All of a sudden the lions are all looking into the distance , and getting a bit agitated , standing up and looking ready. It’s then we notice there are actually 7 lions, a few more in the distance. They start to approach a lone clueless warthog. Apparently wart hogs have very short memories. He will see the lions and then a few minutes later forget, which is what happened here, and he walked right towards them


We were all at the edge of our seat as we see the lions at the ready, and one of the farthest ones gets into chase to guide the warthog into the others. The wart hog started running, and man could he run fast. I don’t think he even knew he could run that fast. Eventually the lion gave up, the warthog is not that big a meal to feed that many anyhow. A lucky little poomba but he will probably forget the whole thing soon anyhow.

The roads on this side are just terrible. Well they aren’t really roads just tire tracks in the grass that everyone follows. You are not supposed to go off the road here like you can in our Conservancy. There has been a lot of rain, the grass is high and very green, but the roads and grounds and very wet and muddy. We were slipping and sliding quite a few times. The Land cruiser will and does go everywhere. Over rocks, through deep mud and rivers and rocks. It is a very jostling and bumpy ride, you need to hang on and feel like you will be thrown out at times. Chris is a very skilled and careful driver though and a few times will get out of the jeep to assess the road before continuing or finding another route.
Chloe just loved it . It was like a ride at Disneyland and safari all rolled into one.
Through the river we go.

We had to take a different route because of this and went through a small town on the way which was interesting. No women to speak of were seen but lots of young men out and about. On the way back we saw lots of kids and teens walking home from school.

There are so many more trucks over here. If we see a lion or something of interest there will be almost a dozen trucks there vying for the best view. We saw a lone tree that was in an area of less mud and Chris and Wilfred decided this would be a great place to have our breakfast. Another truck also saw it but Christ stepped on the gas and got there first. The other truck pulled up and they all laughed about it. The drivers from all the company’s all work so well together and help each other with sighting information etc. It is great to see.

Our breakfast was wonderful sitting on our little chairs under the tree looking at the the wildebeest in the field.


There was a fly problem however. And it only got worse as the day went on. Millions of flies and they would go in your ears, eyes all over your face. We covered up as much as we could but it was so annoying . With so many wildebeest and zebra and all the mud it is the season for flys. I saw a truck of other tourists in a jeep and the two drivers were talking as we all were waving our hands to keep the flies off our face and I joked.
“It is the Kenyan wave”

Not much further on we came to a small river and saw thousands of wildebeest and zebra on the other side. Waiting. and waiting. So we waited too, a bit out of sight so as not to spook them. Us and a dozen other trucks.
Every Spring the wildebeest travel from Tanzania to Kenya because there is more to eat. In the Fall they go back to Tanzania so there are two crossing times in the year.

Eventually one brave soul made the move to go down the hill into the river and they all followed. We raced down to the edge and watched as around 1500 of them came charging through. It was quite something. We had no idea how many were there until they started.


And then just like that someone decides to stop and they all run in the other direction and the crossing stops.

We waited around for about another hour and then saw that they were going to start again down the river. They like to cross in an area where there are not many trees as that is where the predators lie in wait for them. It is now super hot out and the flys are unbearable But we wait.

There are a half dozen zebra on our side and they go down to the edge of the river, probably for a drink, but they came back up and the zebra on the other side followed and then the wildebeest after them. It was around another 1500 or so. It is an amazing thing to watch, and how lucky for us to have seen two crossings.

We stopped for a picnic lunch on the Mara river which was full of hippos grunting and spouting water. It was just perfect.


Driving away after lunch Wilfred asks “ ok, now what do you want to see?’

I said a baby giraffe. Never really expecting it, but in less than half an hour there it was. A couple of them and a few adults in a field of beautiful long grass. A tower of giraffes.


"What next?" they ask

A cheetah.

In less than half an hour we came across a mom and very young cheetah on the side of the road.


We had an amazingly lucky day, but the guide and driver we had last time was the same. The Porini drivers are able to show us everything that we want to see which is incredible. The animal population is so much higher here than the last two parks, which is why I saved the best for last.


We passed a huge number of vultures devouring a hippo who must have just died. We passed again three hours later and there was almost nothing left


It was a very long but fulfilling day, we arrived back just after 5 so we had 11 hours in total. A rest shower and then back to the mess tent for dinner. We got to sit at the adult table tonight and met some interesting people from Australia and had some great conversations.

One of the guests was having her 30th birthday so all the staff came out and did some Masai Warrior dancing and singing which was wonderful. We all sang happy birthday and shared some cake before retiring for the night.

Day 11, July 01 st

Another 6:15AM departure for a game drive. We saw a few lions hiding in the grass and one in a ditch waiting for an ambush.


A lone cheetah who looked very pregnant


We saw a hippo and I said, “ I haven’t gotten a picture of a hippo yawning yet", and as if on cue he yawned .


Some cute tiny Dik Diks , the smallest of the antelope family


A lion on his way to get out of the heat and sleep in the bush. All the Topi were on alert but he must not have been hungry


We had breakfast overlooking the beautiful scenery and had some great conversations for close to an hour
Then we met with another truck for Anna and Catherine to go to the airport and fly to Rwanda for their gorilla hike.
We slowly drove back to the camp, stopping in to check on the leopards and saw Farrah by herself


A rest, pack up and then lunch with some new arrivals and more great conversations

We said our good byes to the staff and were really sorry to leave. This was our favourite camp and overall a fantastic safari trip.

It was an hour drive to the airstrip and we arrived back in Nairobi at 5PM and back to the Saab hotel.

We have a day here tomorrow and then we fly to Uganda for our gorilla hike.

Posted by debbep 11:51 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)


Lions and more lions. And some close encounters

sunny 27 °C

Day 19. February 23, Thursday

Our departure from the hotel at 10AM was a welcomed change and we were grateful to sleep Ina bit. We drove south towards the capital city of Kigali on very winding roads through the mountains. The scenery is breathtaking, even better than Uganda I think. The terracing of the fields is amazing and the weather like our spring days at home. There are lots of school children walking to and from school, they go in morning and afternoon shifts. The children always smile and wave when they see a land cruiser with tourists.

We reached Kigali and Brighton took us to a hotel near all the embassy's, a very nice area with manicured landscaping and huge buildings. He left us for an hour and a half while we enjoyed a delicious salad bar and two cappachinos each.

Our flight to Nairobi wasn't until 7PM but we went early because of some problems with the reservation. At the entrance to the airport you have to get out of the car and take out all the luggage while they search the vehicle. Our bags were sniffed by a German Shepard and the car has the mirror check underneath .

Cleared to proceed we go to the parking lot and say our good byes to Brighton. We find that we can not enter the airport until 2 hours prior to our flight. There is a guard and a young man there checking to see what flight you are on and a screen telling you if that flight is being called yet. No one gets inside unless they are flying in the next couple of hours.

Arg. I need to speak to rwandair about my ticket. I booked Lana and I 9 months ago through expedia.ca. On Kenya air from Ethiopia to Uganda and then rwandair from Rwanda to Nairobi. Twice they have canceled my flight for no reason. Last night when I went to check in on line I found it had been cancelled yet again!!! I spent an hour on the phone with two different agents and the second one gave me a ticket number and said I was fine, but I want to be sure.

I was directed to a sales office close by and explained the situation to the woman and she stared at the computer screen for about 15 minutes, mumbling to the fellow beside her. Finally I hear the old fashioned printer and she hands me a new ticket number and confirmation and says I am fine.

I asked if I could send my friend over to check her ticket and she begrudgingly said yes
Lana also got a print out with a new ticket number

Finally it is time to go in to the terminal. We go through another complete x ray and screening before heading to the rwandair counter to check in.
The young man takes our tickets and stares at the screen for a long time. He keeps apologizing for taking so long.
Finally our bags are checked and we get our boarding passes. Now we go through passport control, then a holding room until our flight is called. We had a light meal and finally went through another control point. This time they took all Lanas loose camera batteries away from her.

We are in a big room with seats and doors numbered 1 to 6. There are two flights to Nairobi 10 minutes apart, one non stop ( the one I booked) and one that stops in Uganda

We are told to line up, we get on a bus which takes us to a small plane and after I ascend the stairs I ask the flight attendant if this is the non stop flight
No. we stop in Entebbe for half an hour

"Oh. I am on the wrong plane! Lana, we need to get off we are on the wrong plane"

He checks my boarding pass. No you are on the right plane.

" which flight is my luggage on ?"

This one

I argue for about 10 minutes with him that I need to be on the other plane.

Sheepishly we finally take our seats, the entire plane has witness this drama. I figure out that the agent changed our flight and did not tell us. Worst airline ever!!!!!

The fellow sitting beside Lana let us borrow his cell phone to call the hotel to tell them we are an hour and a half later and so not to send the car for 9PM to pick us up.

Finally we arrive in Kenya at 1030pm

Nairobi airport agents checked everyone for yellow fever cards and also had a tv screen showing everyone in line and what their temperature was. If you were over 39degrees I guess an alarm went off.

The woman at immigration took my fingerprint scan on both hands and asked me lots of questions which I had a hard time answering because I was so tired by now. She never fingerprinted Lana or asked her any questions.

Our ride was waiting, we got some Kenya shillings at the ATM and headed to the Troy hotel. The room was so small you had to walk sideways past the bed to get to the bathroom and then stand in the shower to close the door.
But we were so tired we were just grateful to have a bed to lie down on

We are now in Kenya.

Day 20

Moses from game watchers safaris picked us up at our hotel at 9 am and transfers us to the Nairobi game park entrance where we are met by Gordon our safari driver. As soon as we enter the park we see giraffes and lots of impala. This park is the only one of its kind, a massive wildlife park in the middle of the city. Lots of zebra and different kinds of gazelle but we are on the hunt for Rhinos, the reason we came to this camp. There are over 70 Rhino here, more white than black but a very good chance of spotting one or the other. White Rhinos are grazers and black eat the leaves of trees.

We did spot a lion sleeping at the side of the road and a couple of lioness not too far feeding on what was left of a zebra . They were taking turns guarding it from hyenas and other scavengers. Right now they are full but want to save the rest for later. Lions kill around every 3 or 4 days, but are also opportunists.

Ostrich are mingling with the zebra, the males being the darker ones and females a light grey.

Our camp is in the only one in the park, Nairobi Tented Camp and our hosts are waiting for us with a cold towel and glass of cold juice. We are shown to our tent and then settle down to have a wonderful lunch. It seems we are the only guests at the moment.

Gordon is our driver and he takes us for an afternoon game drive after a welcome rest in our tent.

We found the Rhinos! Two white ones who were eating non stop. They are funny looking animals, ears high on their heads to hear because their eyes are so small they don't see well.
We watched them for quite some time and then they passed right in front of the truck so we were able to get a really good look at them.

It is close to sundown and on the way back to camp we spotted a couple of lioness sitting across the way from a watering hole. Waiting for some unsuspecting animal to come for an evening drink.

Once again we must be escorted to and from our tent , Tonight we sat by the campfire for a half hour before dinner, which again was magnificent.


Day 21

Gordon drove us to the park entrance after breakfast where we were met by another driver from gamewatchers who drove us to the small airport.

We are flying on a small 8 seater twin engine to a camp close to the Masai Mara. This is a conservatory called Olare Orok. The flight stopped twice on the way and provided great views of animals and landscape of the Maasai Mara.

We are met by James and Joseph from Porini Lion Camp in an open land rover. On the way to our camp we did a game drive and found a lioness with three little cubs, around 3 months old. We watched them play for quite some time.

There are lots of zebra and wildebeest and many with babies. This is calving season. Even baby wildebeest are cute. Wildebeest are one of the ugly 5. There is the big 5 and the ugly . The ugly are wildebeest , hyenas, vultures, warthogs and another really ugly big bird .

James says that God made the wildebeest last and just put together all the spare parts.

Porini Lion camp has 8 tented cabins. We are in number 3 "Simba'. It is quite large and faces the river. The hill on the other side has many animals roaming and we can sit on the chairs out front and watch them.

Lunch was served in the mess tent, there are 14 guests in total. The food is buffet style and very good . The staff is all Maasai. The conservatory paid the Maasai people (initiated by Sir Richard Branson ) and helped them to build fences and segregate their cattle and homes from the animals, as the lions were killing the cows. There's only a few camps in the conservatory and they all hire men from the local Maasai tribes to work in them as drivers, guides, hosts, cooks mechanics and cleaners. Only the guests staying at one of the camps in the conservatory can be there. The camps are so far from each other and so low impact that you rarely see any others.

Ours is run with solar power and compost toilets and is as environmentally friendly as possible
Resting in the tent I heard some banging and movement from the tent next door. A large troop of huge baboons were up in the tree and throwing down fruit to the others who would throw them on the ground to break them open. When they saw me they fell out of the tree on to the tent and used it like a trampoline bouncing a few times and then onto the ground. They are very comical.

At 4PM they call us for an afternoon game drive. While waiting in the 'living room' we see a few cameras on the chairs with two foot lenses that are massive. One woman from the group of 8 comes in wearing complete camouflage clothing with a matching humongous camera and another slung on her belt. These people are on a tour with a fellow from Canada, Jeffrey Wu who works for national geographic and comes here often. Everyone in the group has a camera lens worth more than my house! They are doing photography and a documentary for China.

A young couple on their honeymoon from New Delhi India is joining us in the truck. Driving across the great plain we see so many buffalo, giraffes and lots of animals from the deer family. Dik diks are the tiniest and the eland is the largest.

We are in a land rover now instead of a land cruiser. The land rover can go anywhere, it is like a tank going over huge rocks, through rivers and tackling the deepest mud.

Dark clouds are forming above us, we start to hear thunder and see lightening. In a matter of minutes the skies open up and the rain is pelting down. Joseph and James jump out to put the roof back up and put up the plastic windows . The rain is sideways now but they have fleece lined ponchos for us to put on.

We are sitting near a bush with a pride of lions we have been watching, but even they are finding the rain a bit much and move deeper into the brush. We just stay put until it subsides. They have had a draught until a few weeks ago, and now the rains have come with a vengeance at times . There were many buffalo and hippos that died during this period but now the grass is green again and they have lots to eat.

After some time the rain stopped and we continued our drive. On the other side of the river we spot our lions, they have come out of the bush.

Six cubs around 3 months old, four that are around 6 months and three lioness. They are running and playing, tumbling with each other. They jump on the moms who play as well. The older cubs are quite rough with the little ones but they all seem to be having such a great play time. They are so much fun to watch.

Dad walks out of the bush. He walks with such an air of confidence and superiority. He really is the king. He approaches and acknowledges each lioness. The cubs play around him but he lets them know that he has no time for their nonsense.

He lays down for a while while all the other play around him, running and jumping, and then he stands up and starts to roar. The lioness roar as well, they are marking their territory and letting everyone know they are there.

What an amazing show. We head back at dusk and have a few minutes to clean up before our 8 pm dinner. Our table mates are the young couple we went on safari with and another couple about our age from Norway. We had some great conversation and lots of laughing.

Day 22
Saturday feb 26

During the night we heard lions roaring and hippos grunting. We still managed to get some sleep and at 530AM we hear
"Good morning"
Our tray of hot lemon ginger and honey drinks and some shortbread cookies are being delivered with our wake up call

615AM and we are in the truck with our newlywed friends and head out in the dark to find some excitement. My wish list includes a cheetah with cubs

Joseph our driver is a budding photographer and has had lots of instruction about light and position because he drives professional photographers and national geographic people as well. As the sun is rising he takes us to this tree to catch the glowing sky.

Baby zebras start off with brown stripes and then turn to black. We find a herd of elephant on the hill and watch them for a while. We are looking for a place to have our bush breakfast when the radio crackles and Joseph asks if we want to see a cheetah kill or go for breakfast.

Cheetahs of course.

He races off across the plains and we find a couple of other trucks there as well. There are two cheetahs on their own and one across the road with a fresh kill. It is very hard to see her so we ask to go back to see the two on their own. They are six month old twins and are still fluffy and crying for their mom.
Finally she answers and they race off across the road. We follow
She shares the meal with them and we watch for quite some time until they all seem full.

Now it is our turn to eat and we find a spot on the plains where Joseph and James pull out a table, tablecloth and breakfast foods. It was a great spot and we took our time and talked a lot

Heading to the river after breakfast , a tributary to the Mara, we sat at the edge to see a herd of wildebeest and zebra approach from the other side. The zebra started down but stopped. They spot the large crocodile on the bank.

A few minutes later they decide to cross anyhow, zebras first followed by the wildebeest and many baby's.
The crocodiles are moving towards the herd. One is on the bank and gets trampled by a bunch of wildebeest.

A crossing this time of year is rare so we are very lucky. At the end of the group are a few zebra. Almost to the other side one falters and looks like it is struggling. The croc has him by the leg.

The zebra puts up a really good fight, the croc keeps trying to drown him, but the zebra keeps his head up. He is being pulled down stream now, every once in a while looking like he will break free, but the crock has a good hold on him

We see hippos watching the drama unfold and saying " why aren't the hippos helping him?"
Gaurav ( our Indian friend) says " that only happens in marvel comics "

Well. The hippo charges at the croc and the zebra breaks free. The hippo saved the zebra!!! We were all cheering and so exited in the car, we could not believe it!

Well that was our version

James has a different one. The hippo and crocodile are mortal enemy's and the hippo was defending her baby.

We like our version better

The zebra came up the hill and onto the grass, looking around for her group who is long gone by now. She is in very bad shape unfortunately, a big gash on her leg and her stomach has been torn open
She won't survive and will be easy prey for the hyenas or lions, having to go though all of that again.

It would have been better if she had been drowned by the crocodile, and James says he feels bad for the croc who worked so hard for nothing.

Feeling sad and exhilarated at the same time we make our way back to camp. We stop on the way to watch two topi fighting.

After lunch we had a siesta for a couple hours then back on the road again. Lions and more lions. They are so interesting to watch.




Day 23

Once again we are woken to our ginger lemon honey drink at 530AM and set off in the dark in the landrover to see what we can find.

A few minutes from camp the radio crackles and Joseph starts racing the jeep across the plains.
" did someone spot something.?"
Hyenas are trying to take a lions kill

Dozens of hyenas are on the plain and also lining the ridge overlooking the lions with their cubs and the fresh kill. A baby wildebeest and a mom ( probably trying to protect her calf so she died as well)

The male is there too so the hyenas are staying their distance somewhat but inching forward. It is pretty hard to watch the lions eating, especially the baby, but this is survival of the fittest.

We hear roaring from up on the hill, then the male beside us starts roaring as well. He gets up and calmly but majestically walks to the top of the hill. We follow him

His brother is at the top with the remains of another kill and is surrounded by hyenas trying to steal his food.
The other lion just lies down close by and goes to sleep. That is all he needs to do to keep the hyenas away. His brother was calling him for backup.

We went back down the hill and watched the cubs and lioness for a while, the sun is rising and casting a beautiful glow over the coats of the lions and the grasses.

On our way back towards the camp Joseph spots the missing lioness from this pride. She has two month old cubs and will keep them away from the pride for a while longer before introducing them . The young ones are very rambunctious and these little ones are not big enough yet to play that hard.

She comes out of the bush with her three little cubs. We are so excited as we have been looking for them for a couple days.

Ash and Gaurav have to catch a flight this morning so we start driving back to camp when we see lions on the side of the hill. They are stalking buffalo. There is a small family with a newborn and the lion has her eye on it.

It was fascinating to watch. The lioness would stalk and then run towards the group but one of the biggest buffalo would charge at her and chase her away. All the buffalo were surrounding the baby. The lion tried a few times then headed back to the hill and signalled another lioness who came down. The two of them stalked and rushed the group, each time being charged by the biggest buffalo.

Then the lions let the buffalo chase them, towards the hill where the other two lions were.

Very cunning

The buffalo were now on their own in a small group and the four lions surround them. They try to get the baby but the adults are not letting them near him

Finally the buffalo ran to the safety of all the other zebras and buffalo and the lions gave up. It was incredible to watch. All the other animals were just standing there watching too.

What an exhilarating morning



After lunch we had a rest until our 2:30 PM Masai village visit. I am not sure how these guys find anything, I would be lost for weeks out here. They seem to know the way, a built in GPS in their brains I guess. We drive through rivers mud and over lots of open plains as well as acacia brush forests

We soon see the small village of rectangular shaped homes inside a compound surrounded by a fence made of branches and prickly acacia tree branches. This is to keep the wild animals out. There are as many openings (gates) as families inside. This village has 5.

We are met by a. Masai man of around 30 years or so who calls himself Stanley, and then his helper who was also called Stanley. They told us their Maasai names but I don't remember them

We paid our 2,000 Kenya shillings ( about $20 usd) and he told us some information about the tribe and this village

The houses are made of sticks mud and cow dung, and built by the women as they are in Tanzania.

Inside there is an area for animals and another area for sleeping and cooking. It was very smokey so I did not go inside.

The men came and entertained us with a traditional dance of rocking forward and back accompanied by low humming. Each young man does a jump, to see who can jump the highest. They are all very good but our guide James was the highest jumper. There are sometimes competitions and the winner can get a bride for free without having to provide a dowry

Lana and I were invited to join them and we had some fun.

I made fish faces to the kids who thought it was fun and tried to do the same. I then played a counting game with them and hi fives which they enjoyed.
Lana was learning how to make fire.

The women came dressed in traditional clothing and performed with some singing and swaying forwards and back
Lana filmed me while I joined them, I tried to figure out the words, the lady beside me was trying to help but she kept laughing so I don't think I got the words right.

Then a woman came beside me and encouraged me to dance, and I complied with a great deal of enthusiasm which had everyone in stitches. They hi fived me at the end. It was great fun.

Now comes the market. All the women spread out blankets arranged in a semi circle with goods for sale , lots of beaded jewelry and crafts. We did not bring much money so i only bought some ear rings and a keychain. Lana bought one of the Maasai necklaces. The prices were fairly high.


Driving back to the camp we were lucky enough to find a 'tower' of giraffes which were great to watch for about an hour. I love to watch them walk and run. They are so graceful

Ten minutes later we came upon a big herd of elephant that included a one week old baby. He was so cute following so close to mom. He was getting really tired and tried to climb up her leg, lying down when ever he could. We stayed and watched them for about an hour as well.

(this hippo was walking past our tent when we came back)

Of course we saw more lions . The male was 'courting' one of the females, following her around and letting her know he was ready, but she was playing hard to get

A juvenile was hanging with the couple but the male let him know he needed to get lost.
It was taking a very long time so we headed back to camp

Day 24
Tuesday February 28

At 5:00AM a bush baby ( monkey) starts squealing outside our tent and wakes us a half hour before our wake up call

Today we are on the hunt for a leopard. There are a few here but they have been elusive and no one has seen them for quite a while. It appears everyone has the same agenda this morning and we see a few trucks scouring the bushes along the river bed.

A truck from our camp passes us and said they just came from seeing the leopard so we race off towards another area of bush and river. Two other trucks are already there

The two year old leopard came out of the bushes and walked in front of our truck towards some other brush. He is in the hunt position

Behind us we hear a big noise and it is coming from the tiny little Dik Diks warning the other animals that the leopard is near, look out
Soon all the animals are making loud noises letting every know to be careful

The leopard gives up. All the animals have scattered now

Behind us is a large troop of baboon. Quite often you will find a leopard near baboons, they are mortal enemies. Baboon is the favoured meat by these cats and they usually go after the young ones.
We have a large troop of baboon at our camp so I ask the question. Yes there is another leopard who lives very close to the camp

The cat moves on through the bushes and it takes us some time to find him again, he is camouflaged so well.

The baboons are still hanging around and finally one of them spots the leopard and calls to the others.
Six or seven baboons surround the leopard and a couple of them are huge. They are taunting him.
The cat does not move a whisker and lays perfectly still, playing dead almost but ignoring the baboons and not rising to the challenge
He would lose
Baboons are ruthless and will rip apart another animal quite easily, the leopard is quite outnumbered.
Eventually the baboons leave, the cat stays still for a while but then gingerly makes his way to bushes on the other side of the field, keeping an eye out for the baboons. We see that he has a nasty gash on his stomach, most likely from his last kill putting up a fight.
James said it could most likely have been a wart hog.


Breakfast time.

A table and stools are set up at the side of a river and we enjoy fruit, little pancakes and toast while watching the hippos

More game viewing and back at 1pm for lunch. There are a number of nurses and doctors from the USA who come every year to volunteer at hospitals and are taking some r and r before returning home


The wait staff are wonderful and very attentive to my no meat fish or egg requests. They also joke around a lot and we have great fun.

This afternoon we did not want to do another game drive but just relax at the tent and catch up on my writing etc. The boys insisted however so we compromised on a short one, 5:30 departure instead of 4. We wonder if maybe they get paid by the game drive so we don't want them to lose out.

It seems to rain every day around 6pm and today was no exception. It didn't last long however and there are fleece lined rain ponchos in the truck to bundle up in

Hyenas are a very ugly animal, but even baby hyenas are cute. We found two little ones on the way

'Fig' is a female leopard and quite famous in this area. She is six years old and the mother of the one we saw this morning. Right now she is moving a lot to keep distance from her son who has just been sent off on his own. Leopards are solitary animals and leave their young when they reach two years.

We find Fig in a tree just hanging out. She is keeping out of the rain. We watched her for quite some time and she eventually came down and walked for about 10 minutes to another tree where she had the remains of a kill from the morning.

Leopards are quite small, smaller than cheetahs. We hung out with her until it got dark, had some snacks of cashews and home made potato chips and then headed back to camp.

Even baby heyenas are cute


The sky is a light show with the lightening brightening up the black horizon.

Dinner was great at usual and the conversation interesting with the many guests from all over the world.

After dinner we had a dance performance by all the camp staff, 12 of them, dancing singing and doing the jumping. It was a wonderful last night

Day 25
2: 30AM I woke from a deep sleep to hear something big walking across our plastic patio on front of the tent. Then a loud roar.

"Holy shit"

Lana is awake too and says. "Those are lions"
They are right outside our tent, there are at least two of them. One has a loud roar and the other a softer one. A male and female I think

This goes on for about an hour. We can hear others roaring in the distance,. These ones are calling them

Then it is quiet. We know from watching the lions over the past four days this means one of two things. They have left or they are lying down in front of our tent

I realize now that I did not ask about night security. We are one of three tents that are far from camp. Is there a guard nearby?

I was just dozing off when I heard a loud trumpet from an elephant, followed by a lions roar (yes they are still here)
Lions roar in the distance and then the ones out front answer. More elephants trumpeting.

Holy cow

This went on and off all night till 5:30AM. I dozed in between.
This was our morning to sleep in ! We decided against a game drive in favour of more rest, but it was not to be. The game drive came to us

Then came the hippos, very noisy and hyenas squealing

At first light we looked out of the tent. The elephants are standing on the edge across the river. No sign of lions, but that does not mean that they aren't still there

Out hot drinks came at 7 which we enjoyed outside on our patio. We could see the huge paw prints on our patio.

Patrick the manager of the camp came by with one of the VIP guests to show him where all the action was last night. The entire camp could hear it. He told us that an elephant gave birth and the lions were after the newborn. The hyenas were after the placenta.

What an adventure!

Breakfast was all a buzz with the excitement of last night

On the drive to the airstrip we detoured to see the newborn. So tiny ( for an elephant) three of the adults would surround the baby and travel in a tight circle with him in the middle at all times. They are nowin an open field and there are 10 or more elephants in the herd as well. The baby can hardly walk, wants to lie down and rest all the time, tries to nurse once on a while


What an amazing last day send off. This is the most exciting trip I have ever had that is for sure.

In the Nairobi airport now waiting for our flight to Europe. Doing this quickly as we didn't have internet for a week so probably lots of typos and maybe some pictures are out of order.

Loved Africa!

click here for video

here is a video of my safari

Posted by debbep 06:42 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

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