Porini Lion Camp (Our last leg of the trip)

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October 14th 2016
Published: December 18th 2016
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Did a quick last game drive before heading out to the Porini Lion camp, which is our last stop before heading back to Nairobi. As usual we awoke at 5;30 to get the most time we could out of the day, so it was a 2 hr. game drive which we asked to be added onto our itinerary because the wife was sick the second day of the third leg. We had to find the sunrise fast. It was coming up and a backdrop was necessary, so off we went searching.... We came upon a lonely tree, a fitting beginning to another spectacular day. Lots of Hyenas around this time of the morning searching for half eaton carcusses so that they can steal a leg or two. They love to eat limbs. Usually they follow the lions and wait patiently and then crunch the leftovers.

10AM Off to the Lion Camp. As we left an old 85 year old Maasai warrior took a heavy bag from our travelling partner. This guy was in shape and walked proud carrying his heavy bag. It was a humbling beautiful thing to watch this warrior dressed in his warrior garb carrying the bag to the Jeep for departure. Sigh....

The next 2 days we were accompanied by Big John and John Marc. Off we went towards the Lion Camp but along the way we encountered a Leopard perched in a tree. The view of the Leopard was perfect. We were able to capture some unique positions up in the tree of this cat. 200 pics later I think I got a good one! As we kept going we saw Vultures pecking away at carcasses as well as a Jackal. We passed Elephants and Giraffes and Baboons doing there stuff. A box full of delights that day. Choice delicacies for the eye to see. After we booked into the camp we lazed until 4 PM and then started out on our next game drive. Immediately we found a troupe of Giraffes heading to some scrumptious trees. We quickly went off road (we can do this in the conservancy) We headed them off so we could get into a better position.. They regrouped. No panics. We saw lazy Lions this afternoon. Not a care in the world. We continued on enjoying the vistas and going over every hill with wondering what we would see next. It was a magical moment for me. I was able to capture Wilde Beasts perfectly aligned and spaced out. Nothing lost my eyes.

That night as a surprise at supper we were treated by ten of the Maasai staff to a traditional Maasai song and dance demonstration where the Maasai men were singing and dancing. It was a show of grunting and singing and jerking of their heads going around us in a circle. I liked the sincerity and the spirit of the group . They took it seriously and so did we. this went on for about a half hour. They asked some us to try the jumping ritual that they pratice to woo their women. Of course my back could not take it, but I wanted to so desperately show them my man hood in a strict sense of my high jumping. lol

Next day, first thing a pride of Lions at sunrise. Lotsa babies. The cubs were playing and very lively. The lions scare up a bird and I wildly shoot into the sun and capture a special shot. Thank you Lions. Wow. So much action. 300 plus pics later. The Leopard hunts, and we are there to see it. Stalking its prey. Not us. Its slinking in the grass towards the Elands. They are on high alert. They stand still, sensing movement. Not us. The colors and clear views are crisp. We wait in anticipation for the next move of the Leopard. Leopards need to try on average 10 times to get 20% lucky. This is not one of those times. If a Leopard sees a Lion coming after its kill, it will back away from the animal it killed and let the Lion eat its prey. I was able to capture in the same photo, A Hyena, and a bird and the Leopard. The Hyena is stalking the Leopard, watching as well as the bird. Patience is a virtue in this wilderness. He or she who waits, gets the meal.

Came across an Antelope that just gave birth. we saw the baby stagger around not 10 minutes after it was born. Its umbilical cord was still jutting out of its belly. Unsteadily on its feet it wobbled and waved, and stumbled all over the place. It managed to somehow stay close to its mother while searching for a drink. The wonders again of the wild. Will this calf live the night? They seemed separated from the herd. It takes a herd to raise a baby in this savanna. The odds are against it. Just as we turned to go we spot a Hyena carrying a leg. Click. Click. Click the camera went. Scavengers...

We went on a bit and came across another Leopard lying spread out calmly in a tree, It was stretching and yawning and just doing what Leopards and all the animals do towards mid day. Relaxing. As we continued to spy the Leopard it decides to start climbing down the tree offering an amazing view of it stretching itself out towards the other limbs of the tree as it is climbing down. Click. Click.

Once we left we head towards high ground. Action galore today. We eye a large pride of Lions as we head up towards a hill to eat another breakfast. We passed some more Hippos grunting and bathing in some water, another pride of Lions lazing in the sun. When we stopped and spread out the food, it gave me time to walk out in the open and look at the bones of passed animals bleaching in the sun.Natural beauty accompanied the bones. It all fit.

The end of the day was drawing near and the sky was partly cloudy. It would be another dramatic sunset. Just a perfect ending silhouetting a Giraffe as the fore drop encapsulating how I felt in this peaceful calm. There was a shout from the spotter. He pointed in the distance to a cliff and said "Lions". I looked. I did not see them. He has amazing eyes. We raced off towards the horizon and was not expecting to see six Lions lined up on the top of the cliff, staring out towards us. It was still a distance, so I had to shoot at 200 mm to capture the long distance shot. They calmly stared out. Not moving.

We got a call on the CB radio of a fresh Lion kill. We raced from the area and drove about 5km at break neck speed. We missed the kill but came across it as the Lioness was still grabbing the throat of the Wilde beast to put it out of its misery. We stayed watching it as it licked the fur off the body so it could get at the choice entrails. Its face was bloody and its actions were methodical. Shortly after, the rest of the pride trotted up to take its share. Another Lioness and her cub trotted up and the other Lioness left the scene.

As the sun fell, we left the area and headed towards camp. Still animals about as we went back. No shortage of Owls and various wild life crossing our path all along the way.

The next morning we pack up. But just before, we ask if we could tour the kitchen. I expected up to date appliances due to the food we were eating. But nooooo. The hot water tank is heated with coal.

So is the oven where they bake the bread and make the desserts. The cooler or fridge is constructed of an interior wall made of metal , then insulated with charcoal and mesh wire holding it together on the outside.. During the day the run water down the side of the charcoal walls to cool the vegetables inside. The chef was proud of the fact that they could be as efficient in this kitchen with the quality of the food and so were we.

As we took one last look around the Maasai came out and as we were saying good bye, our friend decided to do a magic trick. We were captured in tears as he pretended to take a phantom rock and have one of the Maasai warriors pretend to throw it. As it was thrown my friend actually had a bag and as he timed the fake rock to hit the bag, he flicked his finger to make the sound of the rock hitting the bag. It was amazing to watch the laughter at such a simple trick. They will never forget that trick. We finally said our good-byes to them all.

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