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September 8th 2011
Published: September 14th 2011
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The morning was bright and sunny. By lunch the clouds had rolled in. We headed out to a different area of the Mara for our afternoon drive. A group of velvet monkeys handed us off to a family of baboon. The Marabou Stork was on sentinel duty and the Secretary Bird was off to work. This bird is named for it’s appearance and it’s behavior. It walks with a very proper strut and when it catches it’s prey, a snake, it looks like it’s typing as it holds it down for a meal. It has with white legs (like stockings) and black feathers like a mini skirt. It even looks like it’s wearing lipstick.
We saw a handsome black mane lion and then spotted a group of females stalking a gazelle. They were very cautious and quiet as they approached but the gazelle were alert and took off. There was a short chase but the lionesses quit and returned to the bushes. Then one of them noticed the male and the male noticed the female and they went off together into the bushes.
And then the rains came. It was a real soaker and the roads rapidly became minor rivers. We cut our drive short but heard that another van watched cheetahs (two adults and two cubs) taunting a wildebeest. I don’t know whether they ever took it down but the same van reported snow and hail so maybe they were toking.
Friday we drove to Lake Naivasha. It was a long and bumpy ride and one of the vans broke down. It was near a village so it stopped there for repairs. In order to get a look underneath, they drove the van up on rocks. It turned out to be a plate protecting the gearbox had come loose and it was fixed and on the road soon. Masai villages lined the road and the Masai were herding their cattle, goats and sheep to grazing lands. This is the job of the men and the boys, even very young boys. Mama and the girls build and repair the dung huts, cook the food, wash the clothes and all the other household chores. No different here then at home.
Even outside the National Park we saw Wildebeest and an occasional zebra. There are no fences so the herds roam at will. Soon they will be in line for the southern migration.
Once we hit the paved road, the villages became larger and there were more concrete and stone buildings. What didn’t change is the plastic trash all around. Plastic has been the scourge of the tropics. Locals were used to throwing stuff on the ground and it degraded quickly. Plastic is forever and now it will take a major effort to clean the towns up and a solution for the tons of trash collected.
Our lodge at Lake Naivasha is lovely. There are gardens and the neatest thing is that animals roam freely on the grounds. There are Gazelle and Eland and Giraffe right outside our room or within a five-minute walk. We dropped our bags and headed for the lake.
We boarded small open boats and check out the hippos then headed out to Crescent Island.
This former island is now a peninsula due to the drought that has been savaging Africa. It is a private preserve and there are no predators so we were able to walk around and get as close to the animals as they would permit. That was not real close but it was close enough. The highlight was the two baby giraffe, one nineteen days old and the other about a month. There was a noticeable difference in height between the two. The two moms watched the kids while “Tall Guy” browsed the treetops. Although the moms were alert they didn’t appear apprehensive until someone got a little too close. It was great to see that everyone respected the boundaries that the animals set. The sky was getting dark and we headed back across the lake to our lodge for dinner and drinks.


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