12 October 2017 Thursday - Masai Mara – Day 3
Today was our first full-day game drive in the Masai Mara, and wow. We got into our open-top range rovers and took off into the African savanna. It was surprisingly green.
It seemed like we saw just about every kind of animal in Africa, just in this one day. We saw eagles sitting in candelabra trees:
Eagles sitting in acacia trees.
And eagles sitting in other trees as well.
We saw ostriches out walking in the field:
We saw a lot of wildebeests.
Many of them.
Tons and tons of wildebeests.
Many thousands of wildebeests, dotting the fields:
And lots of zebras, usually hanging around with them.
Mongooses. Someone humorously pondered if the plural was “mongeese.”
We stopped and ate meal:
George showed us a termite.
Kathy and one of our guides, Moses.
George and Moses. Our third guide was called “Big John,” but he wasn’t from the Maasai tribe, so he didn’t dress in the bright colors like George and Moses.
The little dik-dik antelopes were cute, but very skiddish. They were about the size of a dog.
Big Marabou Storks walked around with a slow elegance, but they’re scavengers like vultures, so they’re kind of looked down upon.
We saw warthogs with their baby piglets.
Baboons with their babies clinging to their bellies.
We stopped at a very scenic river.
Although rough and thorny, even the acacia trees were beautiful.
There we saw lots of hippos. They were pretty active, too. They weren’t just lying around in the water. They were swimming, walking, standing, and occasionally grunting. We watched them for a long time.
The river also contained some enormous crocodiles. These things were monsters, at least compared the alligators we have in the United States.
Some kind of strange white stork I couldn’t identify:
After viewing the hippos, we sat and ate our bag lunches.
After lunch, I took some photos of Kathy.
Back on the range rovers, we saw more animals. We saw very colorful Agama lizards. Some were red and blue.
Others had different colors.
We saw a rather large pride of lions:
and more lions.
We found one pride of lions ripping apart and eating a freshly killed zebra.
We didn’t see the kill, but we saw the results. At one point, a lion cub was chewing on the dead zebra’s face, and that made for quite a graphic scene.
We even saw a black rhino, which are very rare to find these days. They’re very solitary and shy creatures.
An antelope called a Topi, which they nicknamed the “cowboy” because it looks like it’s wearing chaps.
At one point, we saw a bunch of scavengers: vultures, marabou storks, and even a warthog, all picking apart the remains of some unfortunate creature:
The roads in Maisai Mara were very rough. In some cases, we got stuck in the mud, even with four-wheel drive. That forced them to get out of the truck and lock the wheels together, which helped. Sometimes our drivers had to get out and do some makeshift road repairs.
We saw a Kori bustard, the largest bird in Africa that can fly.
We also saw several elephants, but they didn’t seem as plentiful as they were fifteen years ago when we went to Botswana.
At the end of the day, we saw another pride of lions. Most of them were just lying around: a pile o’ big kitties.
At the end of the day, we started driving home. There’s apparently a law that says we can’t be in the game park after dark. So they rushed to get us back. The problem is, they skies opened up and it started pouring rain. Before too long, the roads literally became rivers, and it was a little tense. Our driver was racing as fast as he could, his windshield wipers on maximum, plowing through the road river to get back to the base camp. I don’t know how he could possibly see where he was going. It was amazing and I even video taped some of it.