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Published: July 30th 2014
We set off from Nairobi in our 4 wheel drive vehicles. Drove out through the busy Nairobi traffic and were grateful that we don't have to drive ourselves as there do not appear to be any rules particularly on roundabouts. Kevin decided that the rule is " who dares wins". We headed towards the area where the Masai live and with about 80 ks to go, we hit the corrugated road which we followed to the park. We started seeing the Masai tending their cattle on the side of the roads. They dress in the colour red supposedly so that the lions can recognise them. They each leave each other alone. We started seeing wildlife as the landscape changed to the plains. Zebras, giraffes, elephants and wildebeest.
Arrived at Ol Tukai (Swahili for palm) lodge , an oasis in the desert. Palms everywhere as well as baboons and monkeys which would provide great entertainment at lunchtime watching the Masai monitor using stones in his slingshot to keep them away from the humans and their food. The national park sits near the bottom of Mount Kilimanjaro, but unfortunately the top was in cloud. Our rooms are in the elephant walk and
we can see elephants who come to graze nearby from them.
We had two drives a day and sections of the roof of the vehicle are removed so that we can stand and get a better look at the wildlife and better photos. They have provided us with some amazing, but gruesome, sights. The first one was a python who had caught a gazelle and was crushing it before devouring it. We did see a male gazelle come across the road , walk past the dead gazelle and keep moving obviously looking for one of his mates.The guide said that it would take about 7 days to digest it completely. Amazingly the next day there was no sign of it, so the guides presumed that the hyenas had got to it and taken it from the python.
The next morning we saw some hyenas retrieve a dead baby hippo from the water and rip it into pieces. It was interesting to see the pecking order as some took the lead eating and running away with bits while others just stood and watched. Hopeful I suppose, that there would be some left for them.
We also visited a
Masai village. We were met by Benson and welcomed by both men and women dancing and singing a traditional welcome. The customs that they live under were explained to us . We also met the medicine man who explained the use of many traditional barks and herbs used to cure illnesses. We were also able to visit one of their homes. Very claustrophobic as they have no windows and only two rooms, lit only by the fire burning in the kitchen/ living room. We then visited a market where they sell their bracelets and necklaces made of beads. Very colourful work and this provides a source of income for them. Next stop the schoolhouse where there was preschool class in progress(3-5). They very proudly recited the alphabet and counted to 20. They also sang some songs for us in English and Swahili.
In the afternoon we went on our next game drive and sure enough we were photographing elephants again, but this time because they were having their daily swim in the marshes. It is delightful to watch as the mothers lead the babies out by making sure that the baby uses it's trunk to hang on to Mum's
tail. very soon all of the vehicles were racing to a particular location and when we got there, it was a lion posing for everyone in the afternoon sun. Another box ticked. We can now delete the photo of the mane that we took in Kruger and replace it with a real photo. Our trip back saw us able to see the top of Mt Kilimanjaro clearly for the first time. An amazing two days.
Next stop The Ark Lodge, Aberdare and Sweetwater NP
We continue in Kenya
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