Maasai Mara

Encounter Mara, Part 1

To try and remedy the slow-loading, I’ve changed the page names and separated them into several pages. I am also optimizing the photos to reduce their size, which should also make for a faster load, meaning more time on my end so there’s less on yours. I’d be interested if you notice any big difference in the images and load times.

Let’s continue the journey south and west from Nairobi National Park to the Naboisho Conservancy. Although, to me, the conservancy seems not much different than Maasai Mara, it’s actually a little bit to the north and east of the Maasai Mara proper or so I understood.

The plane is very small and you are only allowed to have 15 kg of luggage and only soft-sided bags. That’s cause they smush them all in so everybody’s bags have to flexible.

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I didn’t have my camera ready when we took off so by the time I got it in hand, I missed getting a photo of two white rhinos. Even from up high, the shape and size of the rhinos were clear. As for the camera, you know I clutched it from them on. I love taking photos of the landscape from planes. The last photo, above, shows some elephants, the first wild elephants I’ve seen in Kenya. Here’s as close of a close-up of what looks like a group of four as there are two together under a tree.

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I wondered if this was a sign of more to come or if these would be the only ones I came across.

I’d never been in such a small plane before and there’s always stories and complaints about their being soooo uncomfortable and their being lots of upsetting, bumpy motions so I was a little nervous. But it was great; no problems at all. Safari Link had excellent and informative magazines about the area and I learned about some things, like the Marsh Lions, that I hadn’t known about. People were excited that the photographers of that show were actually in the Mara at this very same time.

The landscape was definitely different than that of the Nairobi area, rocky and more spacious, that’s for sure.

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We passed a Thompson’s gazelle. They are the tiniest things, even the adults. And they’re so cute. You’ll find it’s hard not to say ‘cute’ a lot when you are looking at animals in Africa, or anywhere for that matter. Along with ‘cute’ there’s ‘adorable.’

Then a giraffe or maybe two, you never know how many might be there. It’s amazing how they can just disappear.

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I noticed that those coloured patches on the giraffe aren’t just the same skin with some different colour. If you look closely, those patches are actually bumpy and raised.

Who knew?

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From there we passed a bird. Not just any bird, a crowned lapwing And are these some feisty birds! (All in good time.)

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This olive baboon was busy pawing at the ground and eventually moved off but I couldn’t tell if it got anything from all the effort.

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This is Maasai country, after all, and that means cattle.

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The Massai and the Conservancy work together to find a way for both humans and animals to thrive. It works well, up to a point, but I;ve read articles that indicate areas of friction. Attempts to control against one predator may well be devastating to other wildlife.

Another giraffe, but this one is much paler than any others I’d seen, indicating a greater variety in colouration than I had been aware of. Just being in the presence of these animals teaches you so much you hadn’t known or understood.

This giraffe looks younger than the other one, to me, but what do I know? I can’t see the bumpiness on the colours. Perhaps it’s something that develops with age. I noticed hair growing from those darker areas on the other giraffe and wonder if there might be an age factor in that.

You can see clearly that this one has a veritable spray of hair growing on the horns which indicates this a female. Perhaps whether male or female is something else that the raised areas could be affected by. As an untrained tourist, there’s not enough time and too much distance to notice the important and distinguishing details of what you are seeing. The guides are there to find animals but not all are necessarily able to answer more complex questions, even if you remember to ask. Although, when it comes to getting your guide to do what you want, nothing beats just coming out and saying what you do and don’t like, once you figure it out. More on this later.

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Next we spot a group of topi. This is a kind of antelope I didn’t see before on my journeys in Southern Africa. Here the topi are joined by a giraffe who does its best to disappear in the trees as does a topi. Although we have understood for a long time that animals evolved their markings and colouration to better hide, I now wonder whether plant evolution has encouraged plants to look like animals and what evolutionary advantage there might be for the plants for that.

In the photo, below, there are some  young topi. The young are much lighter in colour, probably to blend in better with the grass. The one lying down is probably less than a year old, based on the tiny horns just emerging, while the one in another photo, standing and nuzzling its mother, would be a bit older.

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After this pleasant ride of about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, we arrived at the camp, Encounter Mara.

The luxury tent main room.

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The view through the mosquito mesh. I didn’t not see any mosquitos but did take doxycycline for the entire trip, beginning 2 days before and for 28 days after.

The bathroom.

All you could ask for in comfort while still being truly far from home. Fantastic.

More next time from Encounter Mara in the Naboisho Conservancy.

***

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Encounter Mara, Pt. 2

Afternoon Game Drive, Pt 1

It was lunchtime and I dined with the only other guests, two teachers from Vancouver, Canada, the second Vancouver, while I happen to be a resident of the first Vancouver in the State of Washington. We dined semi-al fresco in the dining tent with a few fewer dishes than originally planned. Seems that baboon I had seen outside my tent had moved on to where the lunch was waiting and taken our salad. He was a cheeky fellow; a big cheeky fellow and it took some doing to dissuade him from snatching another course.

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The teachers had visited a Maasai school and a village and were pleased to have brought some gifts that were appreciated. They had been in some other places in Kenya and although they saw lots of wonderful wildlife, they said what they really wanted was to see a serval cat.

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From our dining room table we could see some wildlife some distance away having their lunch.

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Soon it was time to head out!

My guide told me they have a number of lionesses in the area who had cubs a few months ago  but unfortunately a group of rogue males had come in and killed the cubs. But one crafty mama lion, Simaloi (not sure of the spelling), had moved with her babies into the Reserve near the entrance which was why we had driven in from the back.

We drove for about 6 minutes, and the sky started an amazing show for us.

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A few turns later we passed a couple of Coke’s hartebeests looking rather demure and a topi.

Another ridge and something entirely different.

One of what I wanted to see most on this trip!

A lion cub. OMG, there’s two more a little ways up the hill.

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We spent the next two hours with these guys and their mama, Simaloi.

Here is an overview of the terrain with the cubs. You gotta look close to spot them and then we can see the loner joining up with his or her two siblings.

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I’m not really up on lion anatomy and I have no idea if you can tell from the head at all so I am not entirely certain how to tell whether these little guys are male or female but this one is giving us a pretty clear view of the appropriate region and I’d say, “it’s a boy!” Agree?

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I also think he is the same one we saw by himself earlier.

And here are the other two. They are two together so probably the same two who were together when we drove up.

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What name can you give the colour of a lion cub’s eyes? Other photos I’ve seen they look brown but these are unnameable.

We are now eighteen minutes into my first afternoon drive. Yeah, pretty glad I didn’t fly back home from Nairobi National Park. Amazing.

The two are having a clutch and tussle.
Looks like they could be males also.

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“Hey guys, it’s time to head up the hill.”

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Come on guys! ….. Guys?……Sigh.

Come back for the next installment and find out what we missed in an earlier photo. Discover what’s at the top of the hill.  More to come but because I’ve been moving house there’s still way too much to do on that front.  I really want to continue this lion adventure soon but we’ll see.

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Encounter Mara, Pt. 3

Afternoon Game Drive, Pt 2

Our first game drive didn’t get far as we had stopped just barely outside the Naboisho Conservancy. We left off last time with the three cubs at the bottom of the hill with one of them seeming to urge the other two to join him on a trek up the hill. 

Here’s a little one who’s got hold of something. Is it something to eat? Looks like a clump of turf. Yum.

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All three cubs finally got up and started climbing up the hill and we drove around to the top, to see what was what. On the way, the sky renewed its best efforts to upstage what was happening on the ground. Gotta love those amazing rays!

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But the sky can’t totally eliminate the lure of the land and so our attention turned away.

I mentioned earlier that my guide had told me that this afternoon, the little lions had had their first taste of meat. We drove to what they feasted on, or perhaps just sniffed and nibbled. We saw the topi that their mother had caught. From the looks of it, neither the cubs nor the lioness were very hungry as it was mostly intact. But the way it works out here, by morning all of it would be gone after being eaten by a variety of scavengers who, thankfully, help clean the environment of dangerous, decaying animals.

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We also passed an almost dried up waterhole and I discovered that the large boulder or perhaps glare from the sun I had seen earlier was really a large hippo trying to find a way to stay wet in these drought conditions.

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You can see him/her here much clearer than in the earlier picture, which was posted in the last installment, and again below. I hadn’t known what I was looking at then but f you look closely, you can just sort of make out the contours of the hippo in the curved depression, below the solo cub, near the bottom of the slope.

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So what was at the top of the hill the cubs found so attractive? In the case another famous animal, we just don’t know why the bear went over the mountain but in this case, we were pretty sure we would soon find out. But, at first glance, there was nothing. 

Well, nothing except the sky and a rainbow, partial but still counts. Surely they weren’t coming up the hill just to enjoy the heavenly opticals. I considered it a sign welcoming me to the Maasai Mara.

But then we saw. The one thing a lion cub doesn’t want to get too far away from, at least not when the cub is only about three months old, and having just had his first taste of meat that very afternoon. You guessed it, Momma!

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Not just any momma, this was the smart one, Similoi, who, alone, had saved her cubs from the big, bad boys. She was keeping them safe everyday by living inside Naboisho Conservancy.

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Wait, I just noticed, there’s two of them. One on each side.

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I can’t tell if the two we see at the top of the hill are the two who were together or if one is the intrepid loner who was leading the charge up the hill and one of the pair who were less interested. This one seems pretty interested now, at any rate. You can clearly see the spots that lions have. As they get older, the spots fade but sometimes can still be seen in adults but very pale.

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A lion piggyback ride.

Snooze time for two anyway.

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But not everyone is asleep. Meet Bogie. I mean, he’s got that Bogart look and add to that a Lyle Lovett mouth.

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The coolest cat I’ve ever seen. No way this is not a boy. 

“Hey, Mom.” Here comes company.

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Such a nice cuddle. Sometimes you get what you want.

And sometimes you don’t. In this case, the milk shop was closed.

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Will the milk shop ever open? Will the third cub return? Answers to these and more – in the next installment. Please come back and visit again.

***

Encounter Mara, Pt. 4

Afternoon Game Drive, Pt 3

The final, installment of the first afternoon game drive at Encounter Mara, inside the Naboisho Conservancy. When we left off, an important question remained.

Important questions must be answered.

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Yesss! The milk shop is open at last, at least for this lucky guy.

So a couple few some more photos of these guys and time to move on.

What a beautiful mom. And look, we finally have the entire family together.

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What a tasty tree. “If I could just get a better grip, I’d have it.”

“Maybe it would be easier if I open my eyes.”

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There’s a really determined-looking guy. Where’s he headed? Like him, we can’t stay in the same place. Really?

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I mean we couldn’t spend the whole game drive just looking at these amazingly adorable lion cubs, right? Well, we almost did.

But after all it had been 2 hours. In the end we finally headed off on a whole 5 minutes drive. Apparently there was something else to see. So goodbye little lions.

What?

My driver points to something over there but I can’t see anything but the ground and the grass.

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There’s nothing there, am I right?

Wait.

It would seem that all that is brown and yellow is not grass.

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Hellooooo cheetah family.

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Here is either a mother and cub or two cubs. Turns out it’s a lot less easy to tell which is which. The cubs look more like the adults than lions cubs look like mature lions. These cubs are about eight-months old and it seems they have outgrown the frolicking age. Or maybe they’re just chilling.

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In this profile shot of the cheetah on the left-hand side, you can see the leanness in, and breadth of, the face that you can’t get head on, meaning she is the mother.

I’m told there’s a third one on the other side of the small hillock they are resting on but I can’t see it. Good luck getting a good picture of all three. But it’s not exactly like two cheetahs aren’t enough.

Oh, but wait again. Now we can see that the cheetah on the left is also a cub because of the fuzz still on the back of his or her head. Maybe the comparative leanness is imaginary because I haven’t really seen the other one in a similar profile.

DSCN1970-minSigh! Cheetahs are not only mesmerizing, they are enigmatic. These aren’t the first cheetahs I’ve seen, as you might know from the Southern Africa page, but they are the first that weren’t adults.

I’ve overused the adjective ‘adorable’ so I’ll leave that to you.

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Soon the pair of cubs breaks up. One stays on the spot and the other leaves.

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Ah, there he/she is and now we see what an adult looks like.

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The cub is behind the, without a doubt, adult, mother cheetah.

Here you can see where the three are in relation to each other.

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Siesta. Time for a short snooze for Mum.

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Junior looks interested in having a snack but Mum’s having no part of that.

Soon she’s off.

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The youngsters follow and we do too.

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But they don’t go far. A higher spot for Mum to use as a lookout for any signs of dinner.

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But, who’s that in the grass? Look carefully, just over the flank of the larger cheetah, you can see a curved tail and two ears.

DSCN2192-minSurely that’s not junior? But if it is, that means he has a lot of confidence to be out there alone and if it isn’t, then that would mean this is not Mum and cub but the two cubs watching Mum in the grass. But that can’t be right. Sigh. I really can’t tell them apart.

Anyway, did someone say dinner? Time for us to get ready for ours back at the camp.

In a minute it becomes clear that the curved ‘tail’ and ‘ears’ haven’t moved at all. Camouflage, ain’t it great! I am totally convinced that it works both ways: the animals look like the bush and the bush looks like the animals.

A last look at the cheetahs. (I have since discovered info that has led me to believe is it likely that this is the female leopard Malia and her two boys. Added 12/25/17)

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Finally, all three together but getting them to look at the camera or not duck behind a leaf is like herding, uh, cats.

Time for us to end this Day of the Big Cats. What will the morrow bring? Or even on the way back? At this moment I feel that anything is possible.

Join in next time. Let me hear from you.

***

Encounter Mara, Pt. 5

Finally, we had to leave the cheetahs on the prowl for their evening meal while we headed back to camp for our own. We didn’t have far to go as the two big cat experiences of this first afternoon game drive took place within only a couple of kilometers of camp.

On the way back, we spotted a lovely dik dik.

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Which wasted no time in peeling out of there.

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Apparently where there’s one dik dik, there’s most likely another not far away.

Sure enough, in a moment we saw another antelope nearby but on closer look, it didn’t look very dik-dik like, no huge eyes and slender face. Checking in a book or two later at home, I decided this was probably a reedbuck.

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i was able to catch a golden pipit in the few seconds before the golden glow of a sunset took over.

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And then it was night. A wonderful dinner followed by a cozy night’s sleep snuggled in with a Maasai wa— NO! not warrior, water bottle.

The next morning, early, pre-dawn wake up. Time for another game drive, thinking how great it was to be in a place where almost all of my expectations and city-learning didn’t apply.

On the drive out, we spotted our resident lioness and nearby her cubs were frolicking in the tall grass of the conservancy. Hard to pick her/them out.

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I sure could have spent another 2 hours with them but they disappeared into the bushes so I was spared having to make a difficult decision but apparently, there were other things of wonder out there beyond the conservancy’s boundary.

We drove past various animals:

a Thompson’s gazelle.

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trees full of vultures and a juvenile with lovely white plumage on a branch with an adult nearby.

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The black back of a jackal

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Maybe this is what they have been looking at and now abandoned.

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2450, 57, 63 and maybe why.

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What are they up to?

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Really, jackals? Buffalo? These guys may be small but they sure think big. Somebody come and sober these guys up before they get hurt.

Ahhh! It becomes clearer. As if a mother buffalo was going to let that happen. Not going to happen.

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These are a herd of female Cape/African buffalo with young. There are very young buffalos and some a bit older. One has a small white patch on its forehead. Could it be an injury? But even the little buffalos seem too big for tiny jackals. (But what do I know?) Could they be waiting for smaller animals to be flushed from the grass or other predators to bring them down and they scavenge the remains? Their bite-sized prey is heavily guarded and the jackals can do nothing, for now, but watch them.

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Along with the jackals behind, there’s more ahead.

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Although the drama continued on the ground, we moved on. But there was another, smaller drama in the car. I was getting annoyed by a certain situation where I’d say, “Oh, there’s an ‘X,’ and wanting to take an immediate picture and having my guide, Dsenchura, driving off. This had happened a couple of times already and I’d gritted my teeth and said nothing.

Now, I decided I had to let him know. He said he was taking me to where I could get a better shot but what I wanted was to take that first picture of when I spotted the animal. I wanted to capture that experience. I also knew that there was always the possibility that the animal would dart away before that ‘better’ photo ever happened.

I explained, that what I wanted was for him to stop when I said I saw an animal and let me get a picture. Then he could say something like, “Let’s see if I can get you to where you can get a better photo.” And, guess what? That’s exactly what he did. From then on, I got my first picture and then got much better ones. It was great and to think I almost hadn’t said anything.

Goes to show that when we share what’s bothering us, in a nice way, of course, the other person then knows how we were feeling and what would work better for us. And a thoughtful person, or a truly professional guide, would not be bothered but instead would appreciate your letting them know and act in accordance.

Unfortunately, far too often we don’t speak up, perhaps knowing or fearing we are not with the kind of people who will accept our criticism.

Next was a termite mound. This was a siting that wasn’t going to run away.

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A superb starling. Well named, that.

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A northern white-crowned shrike

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A tawny eagle

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This is a defassa waterbuck, a different kind from the one I saw in South Africa, the common waterbuck. This one doesn’t have the white circle on its rump rather it has a more diffuse white without the distinct circle around the rump that the other one has. I wonder if defussa means diffuse? Love that heart-shaped nose.

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The beauty of the Mara is there in every individual animal but, unlike Sabi Sand in South Africa, there are very few individual stars. Seeing the sheer numbers and being surrounded by the abundance of wildlife is an entirely new feeling than what I got in Southern Africa. These are feelings that go beyond words, or perhaps they simply predate language entirely.

Two giraffes

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Whoa! Make that three as there’s another one inside a tree just ahead of the other two not in this shot.

One of the two is a female. You can tell by the hairs on her ossicones. Ossicones are the two protrusions on the top of giraffes’ heads. The other one is a male. His ossicones are rather bare. Seems the males lose the hair from their fights with other males

She’s interested in browsing the tree.

He’s interested in something else but he just can’t seem to get her attention. Okay, she’s not interested nor interesting or something. 

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He’ll go visit the one that’s almost inside that tree.

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Notice, that this female has raised her tail somewhat while the one in the photos above didn’t raise hers at all. Look closely at what the male giraffe’s doing with his mouth, I had no idea at the time what he was doing and didn’t even notice it but since I’ve gotten back, I have learned a lot more about African animals from watching Safari Live online. (Talk about time consuming!) They do live safari game drives, everyday, two times a day. But that’s another story. Still what I have seen and learned there will have to crop up from time to time, including now. 

The male is doing something called a flehmen response or grimace. This is a way for an animal to pass an odor into a special organ, Jacobson’s organ, that allows the animal to investigate that odor. It is used for intraspecies communication and can alert others to the state of the animal that left the odor being tested. Lions and leopards as well as many other animals do it.

I also heard about ossicones on that show.

After checking the odor in this sophisticated manner, the verdict comes back: no luck.

Ah, well. Might as check out the view up here.

Yum.

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While he’s eating from the top of the tree, she’s practically becoming one with it.

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She ‘s got to be careful of the sharp and very long thorns on the acacia tree.

We can see that junior has given up and left the two females to browse in peace.

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We decided to do the same and a few minutes later came to a larger group of giraffes who were on a slope below us. It’s not often you get an eye-to-eye view of these guys. We really ogled them. I think they felt the same. Of all the animals, I think giraffe are the ones most interested in us, in a non-threatening way. Just curious and willing to gawk.

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A few minutes later the group headed off. They have now decided that the giraffe in the Mara are a distinct species.

2778 the most common camera angle of a warthog photo- from the rear while it’s running away. They are very skittish animals so it was quite far off.

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A grey-headed kingfisher – Sorry for the blur.

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If you look down quick, in the bottom of the image below, you can see a tiny dik-dik. They are often in pairs. Back farther, in the distant shot, on the left-hand side, there’s a giraffe trying to blend into the tree. I didn’t notice it before I inserted it here.

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And, look close, there’s the other dik-dik.

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A grey heron not in a pond.

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That’s Dsenchura getting ready for the bush breakfast. And me.

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There was a lot of food.

We take a break for breakfast. We’ll be back on the road again soon. Promise. Enjoy!

TBC

***

Encounter Mara, Pt 6

After Breakfast

A bush breakfast is special. Just being out on the ground was magic. As for the food, there was enough for six of us. I was taking doxycycline as an anti-malaria preventative and you can’t have dairy a few hours before and after taking it so that meant trying to get across that it wasn’t no dairy at all but only at certain times. That turned out to be a lot more challenging than I expected. Seems for some, it’s either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but not switching on and off based on the time of day. And when it comes to dairy, few are more into it than the Maasai. I too love my dairy.

There was coffee and tea and juice. We had cereal and bread and butter and jam, eggs and fruit. The thought of wastage was disturbing and I hoped there was a use for the leftovers. The only consolation was knowing that if we were “stranded in the jungle,”* we’d have enough food to last for at least a week.

Of course, stopping for a bush breakfast lets you take care of other business as well – off camera.

After we finished, we drove on for a while. It’s beautiful just being out in the savanna. The air is clean and clear, with nary a billboard or skyscraper to be seen.

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Looks like another antelope down there.

We approach a small body of water.

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It’s a nearly dry river.

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On the opposite bank, it’s clear we aren’t the only ones heading this way.

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The elephant toward the rear is quite elderly. We can see this from the deep indentations in her head and at the hip area. The subcutaneous fat has diminished leaving folds of skin and increased wrinkling. Although all elephants have wrinkles, the older ones have wrinkles on their wrinkles.DSCN2946Elephant herds, are extended family groupings. They have a dominant matriarch, often the eldest female. This elder may no longer be the matriarch given her location near the rear of the herd. Perhaps she has abdicated in favour of a younger, albeit mature, daughter. 

Elephants get six sets of teeth. When their last teeth are worn down and the elephant can no longer chew, starvation awaits.

Their tusks are teeth and begin from way up in the head that’s why poaching is so destructive because they cut out the tusk out way up in the head. Elephants are very social, intelligent. They rely on memory and communication to pass down ways and locations for finding water, food and child rearing. Poaching means the herd is unable to properly function, hungry and searching for water in the wrong places, often too near to humans, and they are left with with few parenting skills and unruly youngsters.

The herd moves off but one young male remains to keep guard or just because. At about the age of 15, males tend to be ushered out of the family group due to disruptive behavior issues. This is one who is still young enough to remain with the family.

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Elephants can hold up to 10 plus liters of water in their trunks., depending on how large they are. They use their trunks to bring water into their mouths. Elephants are picky about their water and want the cleanest and clearest they can find. This has caused problems with elephants locating underground water pipes and going after them, pulling the pipes out in search of that clean water.

Finally, the youngster moves away. Perhaps he has decided we are not a threat. You can’t hear elephants’ footsteps. You might hear a branch break or a twig snap and maybe even a slight shifting of sand but otherwise, they are completely silent.

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When the elephants leave, a hammerkop comes to inspect the water quality, or something.

Hammerkops build the most humongous nests. So big, that other birds can have their nests on top of it. Maybe we’ll find one.

We follow the elephants from a distance and reposition ourselves farther along the river in the direction they are traveling.

We catch up with them again. I can’t be 100% sure but I think these are still the elephants we just saw but now we are on the same side of the river as the elephants while one youngster stops to nurse. The trunk has perhaps as many as 100,000 muscles that operate in pairs. It takes a long time for an elephant to master that incredible instrument. If the youngsters had to manage their trunks to suckle, they would die long before that happened. Elephants use their mouth to suckle directly from the mother’s mammary glands which are in front between the front legs, which I now know are actually arms with a wrist and elbow.

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Soon they cross back over the waterway.

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And we watch them browsing over there.

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And drive some more. This time they aren’t ‘over there.’ They’re right here.

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A few are browsing quite close to us.

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But, the best is yet to come. And the rest of the herd catches up. And they aren’t just on one side.

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We have elephants on the right of us and elephants on the left of us and to the rear.

Now you see them, now you don’t but you know they’re there just having moved a tiny bit and are almost swallowed up by the tree.

I was it a state of shock with part of my mind just grooving in the moment with them and another part saying, “OMG, I’m surrounded by elephants!”

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We can even see the inside of the elephant’s mouth and its tongue!

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But soon, all good things must come to an end.

After a good 40 minutes with this group of elephants, we take our leave because there’s more of Africa out there.

Next time: Epic showdown between earth and sky!

* “Stranded in the Jungle, By the Jay Hawks, the original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmwxbHLrvBcand  most popular by the Cadets link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aG_Ur9zQL6g

 

 

 

 

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Encounter Mara, Pt. 7

More of Africa

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It’s lovely sitting looking at the browning grass.

More of a drying up river

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A young wildebeest follows its mother as we head back for lunch and siesta.

The view from my room includes impala who come to graze from inside the relative safety of the conservancy where there is still some grass left.

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Then it’s the ubiquitous tea time and, finally, we head out once more.

We watch the sky get crazy beautiful and see the rain falling far off.

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WA Meyer’s parrot in a tree.

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Driving along, I spot some baboons in another tree. I’m looking in part of the tree and my guide is looking at another so for a few moments our conversation is very confused.

I see two grooming, which acts to strengthen communal bonds and solidifies their social hierarchy.

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But up top, my guide has seen that there’s a solitary baboon eating flowers. 

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And on we go again. Such a lovely afternoon. Ok, why have we stopped here?

 

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Nothing to see . . . except, uh…., those paws, oh! 

Not just paws. 

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Dsenchura says that she is one of the lionesses whose cubs were killed by the marauding lions a few months earlier.

Not too far away a young topi. Where’s Mum? Good thing the lioness is sleeping.

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Uh, oh. I spoke too soon. Lioness no, but jackals, yes.

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Another sleeping lion. He looks to be dreaming about climbing that tree.

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By this time, I had seen quite a few sleeping male lions. As far as I can tell, sleeping is just about all they do. Well, except for that brief incident back in Nairobi National Park.

The wildlife is wonderful but it’s not just the animals that are so special about being in Africa. At this point, a sleeping lion can’t compete. The sky had its way with us.

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We watch for a while then drive forward and come across two more sleeping lions just a short distance away.

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He’s awake! And posing for us.

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But alas, all that sitting up and yawning has takes its toll.

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Leaving the lions to their well-earned rest, we pass a black-bellied bustard.

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The the sky caught our attention. At first I saw a bright, white cloud that looked like a creature with a mouth that seemed to be toying with a small, whitish cloud.

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But when I got my head out of the screen, I could see there were other colors that the camera couldn’t really pick up. I had never seen anything like it before. Since I took that photo, I researched optical phenomena and it looks to me like this is what is called cloud iridescence.

The only way I could get the camera to see it at all, much less close to as colorful as it looked to the eye, was to stop the exposure way down which made the sky look black. 

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Almost anywhere in the neighborhood we looked, we saw more and more vivid iridescence as the sky continued to put on a magnificent show. Surely these are sights that prompted many cultures’ myths and legends.

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To people and animals, alike, the smell of distant rain was in the air. Somebody, somewhere was getting the benefit and that was good. When would it be our turn?

Next time:

On the night drive home we have a rare sighting. I took it as a birthday present because the following day was my birthday. And just how do the Maasai celebrate a guest’s birthday?

In the meantime check out my youtube channel at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJFAl-QJfnzbcIsET

or you can search on YT for joy in hk

So far I have uploaded to my channel several videos of my trip/s to Africa. Expect it to be updated more often than the blog.

 

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