Masai Mara

Trip Start Jan 05, 2009
1
5
17
Trip End Feb 05, 2009


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

The next part of the journey is to the large National Park called the Masi Mara. This park borders with Tanzania and we will be spending 3 nights here in very basic camping. The first night we head out on a game drive in the later afternoon. Because it is so hot here, the animals usually seek shelter during the day and the best viewing times is in the early morning or late afternoon.

During the game drive we saw a plethora of large and small animal species. Everything from elephants, chitas and many others. I am intrigued with the "big sky" savannahs that seem to go on forever. There will many kilometers with short brown grass that goes on as far as the eye can see. Every so often there will be an acacia tree to liven things up a bit. This is the "typical" African scene. The sunset last night was a spectacular show with a red fireball surrounded by layers of oranges and yellows.

The next morning we awoke at 5:30 to go on a morning game drive where the highlight was seeing some lions. The male lion was old and skinny. It was being followed by jackals that is a sign that the lion will be dying soon. Sad, but that's the way nature goes.

For our game drives we are using the same truck that we use for the long distance travels. With 15 people on board, it can become a bit of an issue climbing over each other when there are wildlife pictures to be taken. So far, my only complaint is that the vehicle is a bit too small for the number of people on the tour.

After the game drive we went to visit a school just outside the park. The school is a boarding school with about 150 students in total. Although the facilities were not very modern, the classrooms seemed to be very tidy and the children were well behaved. We sat in on a class with 4-6 year olds who sang a lively version of ABC's for us which included some dancing and clapping. The teacher explained that her kids learn best by singing the lessons. I should try this with my teaching! After we finished the tour, we were all milling about waiting. It seemed to be recess so I wandered off and started chatting with the older kids. They saw my camera and were intrigued when I took their picture and showed them on the screen. Before I knew it, there were about a dozen small children around me asking me to take their picture so they could see themselves. The whole thing was quite fun and if time allows I will try to visit another school when I am in Tanzania.

The pace of this trip is a rather relaxed one. For most of the afternoon we are free to relax. As I am sitting here writing this, there are baboons sitting about 25 feet away watching me with my silver computer on my lap. I better watch out as they re known to grab personal belonging and run.

The next day in the Masi Mara we went on a "long" game drive to the southern end of the park. To be honest, this was long very tedious day. While our truck is a sturdy 4 wheel drive vehicle, it get tiring sitting there for 7 hours bouncing around on the seat as we go over roads the resemble moonscapes. On this game drive we spent most of the day looking at the empty planes, but did manage to see a few hippos, lions and two rhinos. Halfway through the game drive, we happened upon a luxury resort where we stopped off for a beer and some ice-cream. The beer was cold and the ice-cream was colder. This is a luxury for this part of the world. I had up to this point almost become accustomed to drinking very warm beer.
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