A lot of travelling this week – happily we have had the chance to visit some other parks apart from Maasai Mara.
Last weekend, while Francis took Daijie and her daughter Jennie to the Maasai Mara, I met Kira and his family who live in Canada. Jocelyn and David and their three children Keza, Lukas and baby Maika joined Kira for a weekend also in the Maasai Mara. Nearly all the wildebeest have crossed the Mara River now so the savannah is full of grazers. It’s quite spectacular viewing animals as far as the eye can see. They will graze their way through the Mara for the next few months before returning to the Serengeti later in the year.
Daijie and Jennie continued on from the Maasai Mara to Nakuru, where we enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the staff at Punda Milias Camp. They spent a day in Lake Nakuru National Park where they saw four white rhinos chasing one black rhino! These species rarely interact, so it was quite special.
Continuing north around the Subuki escarpment overlooking another part of the Great Rift Valley, we crossed the equator into northern Kenya. Jennie has the certificate to prove it and also she has seen the evidence that water does indeed swirl down the plug hole backwards in the southern hemisphere. The day finished at Umoja Women’s Camp near the gate to Samburu National Reserve.
Samburu gets very hot so it’s necessary to leave early in the morning to catch the animals before they hide in the shade. And this morning was a very lucky one! As they were watching the impalas and warthogs, Daijie turned to spot a lioness also watching the same animals. The glint in the lion’s eye told Francis a hunt was about to begin. So they watched and waited while the lioness sized up her options: impala or warthog. She decided the warthog was an easier target and despite the impalas’ vocal warnings, one warthog became breakfast that day. The giraffes, zebras, and birds all stood by watching and perhaps breathing a sigh of relief that they survived another day.
Finally Daijie and Jennie also got to tick off the last of the Big Five in Samburu: the elusive leopard. And what a great sighting – he was jumping in the tree, now on the ground, walking in clear view. They were so lucky and have great pictures! Unfortunately the OTA camera was left behind.
After the game drive, we visited the nearby Samburu village that is supported by the Umoja Women’s Camp. It is a village providing refuge to women fleeing domestic violence. A recent grant is allowing the community to build a primary school close by so the children will not have to travel so far for education.
We returned to the equator and Ol Pejeta Conservancy, home to the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya. Most of the chimps have been rescued from abusive situations where they were kept as pets or gimmicks to attract customers and tourists. Nowadays they have plenty of space to run around, natural vegetation and fellow chimps to interact with. They still like showing off a bit, so during visiting hours it is common to have several chimps parading to guests.
Daijie and Jennie are close to finishing their safari with us, as they head to Amboseli today. It’s been quite an adventure so far so let’s see what the last few days bring.