Where do I start? I’m sitting a tent in the middle of Africa, typing on my laptop by the light of a candle. And, bizarrely, connected to the internet! It’s the end of the 2nd day of the safari, and I have already lost count of the number of animals & birds we have seen. Like my title says, the trip so far has certainly lived up to expectations. It’s a great group of people, the organisation has been flawless, we are being very well looked after. Having our own personal photography teachers with us is so good. And the things we have seen …
It is all go here on safari, and there is very little time for blogging. It is now the end of the third day, and we have a 5am start tomorrow, so I’ll try to be brief! Actually, we are packing so much into our days, it’s hard to believe it has been only 3 days so far!
The first day started in Nairobi with an unscheduled visit to the giraffe centre (we got to hand feed giraffes again, but this time got a little talk about giraffes as well). From there we went to the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage, a conservation & research facility where they rescue orphaned baby elephants. They currently have 17 baby elephants – how can something that big be so cute? We were able to watch them being hand fed using giant baby milk bottles, and go close enough to give them a pat. But this was just a warm up & we headed south to Amboseli National Park, where we stayed for 2 nights. We travel in extended landcruisers with pop-up tops for wildlife viewing – they have seen better days, but negotiate rough terrain with the help of our expert drivers & guides, Frank & John) very well.
Amboseli is a huge national park, at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro. It was incredible. There is a lot of water there, because of the run off from Mt Kilimanjaro, and it just teems with wildlife. We went on 2 game drives each day, starting early in the morning, and another to catch the evening light. There are huge herds of elephants, wildebeest, cape buffalo, Thompson’s gazelles, ostriches, Grant’s gazelles, zebras, giraffes, baboons, lions, hyenas, jackals, we even saw a cheetah, which are usually quite elusive. Not to mention beautiful birds such as the Superb Starling, Egyptian geese, pelicans, eagles, kingfishers, crested cranes – the list goes on. We have also driven through crowded villages, had encounters with traditional Maasai tribes people, drove across a totally flat dry lake bed, all the while taking thousands of photos (and I am not exaggerating) and getting personal tuition from Chris & Jess. Chris has brought a huge 600mm lens which we take turns using. It weighs a ton & is quite challenging to use but gives great photos. Although often the wildlife is so close you don’t even need a long lens!
I can’t describe how thrilling it is to see these animals in their natural environment. All of us are here for the same reason and we just get so excited at every sighting. Sometimes I even put the camera down to just take it all in.
Today we left Amboseli, after another game drive of course, and headed north to an Ostrich farm where we are spending the night. We had a tour of the farm, and then ostrich casserole for dinner, but the main reason we are here is that it is close to an airport. Tomorrow we are heading out in small groups in a plane (with the doors removed) to fly over the Rift Valley. I can’t wait!!!
I am able to get online but so far have not succeeded in posting photos, so they may have to wait till we get back to Nairobi. But trust me, there are one or two! Better get to bed now, will try to post again & let you know how the flight went.