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CDN FOLKS Kenya/Tz/Cape Town report continued


Oct 13th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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CDN FOLKS Kenya/Tz/Cape Town report continued

During our afternoon at Sweetwaters, we visited Jane Goodall's chimp rescue and Morani the tame rhino. At 9 p.m., we set out on our one and only night drive. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. To see the animals' eyes reflected by the spotlight was eerie. The grand finale of the drive was seeing a male and female lion on the move and being able to get right beside them. The female was intent on a small group of gazelle who were able to get away.

The next morning, we left at 8 a.m. to drive to Samburu. The road was bumpy and as it had rained overnight, everywhere was a sea of mud. We passed through the town of Nanyuki, and as it was Saturday, the market areas were busy with people coming to town to buy and sell. Did I mention the sea of mud? Gum boots seemed to be the footwear of choice. As we approached the town of Isiolo, the terrain changed dramatically to desertlike and dusty. No rain had fallen there for a very long time.
We noticed a large Muslim population in Isiolo as many people had immigrated there from Ethiopia and Somalia. The road as we knew it ended in Isiolo and thereafter, it was a dusty rutted trail. Finally, we crossed into the Samburu Reserve. While our driver, George, took care of the paperwork, we bought bracelets and necklaces from the locals. We quickly spotted giraffes, impalas and zebra on our way to the Samburu Serena. Arriving in time for lunch, we were greeted with a cool facecloth and passionfruit juice. Enjoyed a great lunch of pan fried tilapia, salad, Indian curried vegetables and fruit. Following lunch, we were taken to our room "BH2", which we later learned stood for Big House 2. The other rooms we passed were 'semi-detached' and ours was one of a few 'chalet' style. A large conical shaped building with many windows. We had a separate living room area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom with mosquito netting surrounding the bed. We found out later that evening the reason for it. MANY bugs, probably caused by a hole in the kitchen window screen - easily plugged with kleenex. We just had enough time to take a few pictures of the LARGE croc on the opposite river bank. Good reason for the electric fence on our side. The trees and lawns along the path back to the main lodge were full of vervet and black faced monkeys. We had 3 owls living in the tree outside our room. It was very warm outside so after a quick shower, we changed to shorts for our 4 p.m. game drive.
Animals and birds spotted: blue breasted guinea hens, baboon, elephants, dik dik, impala, giraffe, kudu - mama and baby,
then we spent time watching a male and female lion relaxing side by side.
George held back returning to the lodge as he had a feeling we might still spot a leopard. Sure enough, a beautiful male came into view from the bushes and came to a rock very close to the side of our vehicle. He did a full body stretch and seemed to pose for the camera, then took a slow walk beside and in front of the vehicle. Another trip highlight!!
At 6:45, we returned to the lodge and enjoyed an ice cold tusker (beer) at the bar. It was followed by a great supper of barracuda, steak, lamb, curried vegetables and a great dessert of coconut pudding.
Back to BH2, where we spent time spraying the bugs which had gathered on the inside of our mosquito netting. In spite of the bugs, we had a great night's sleep.

5:30 a.m. - wake up call - shower - coffee in lobby then met George for the 6:30 game drive. A beautiful sunrise, perfect temperature. We viewd elephants, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, waterbok and rest of the regulars.

8:30 back to the lodge for breakfast of grilled vegetables, banana bread, fruit and fresh pineapple juice.

We opted out of the 10 a.m. Samburu Village visit to catch up on the journal, send an email, buy postcards and enjoy a swim in the beautiful pool. The monkeys were fun to watch - as they got into mischief as well as raided ladies' purses and bags.
After lunch of grilled tilapia, salad and fruit, I attended a Samburu dance show on the grounds of the lodge. DH decided to gread by the pool instead. As most of the lodge guests had seen the dance at the village visit, I was to only audience! The group performed 4 songs/dances, then asked me to join them in a dance - what fun!
Following the show and a quick dip in the pool, we met George at 4 p.m. for our drive.
It started slowly, a few dik dik, the usual baboons, then a few VERY large crocs by the river and we sighted a huge eagle on top of an umbrella tree. Then...a female lion was beside us limping badly and another female was in the lead. She kept stopping to wait for the injured lion to catch up. Not far away, a beautiful male slowly walked down the middle of the road. Eventually, he stopped and lay down with his back to us. We left him in peace. Not long after, a large leopard was spotted laying on top of a large termite nest on the top of a hill. He seemed to be up high surveying for his dinner! A few mongoose crossed the road as we pulled away from the leopard and returned to the lodge. We grabbed a couple of cold Tuskers to enjoy while we began packing for the morning - it became tricky to pack as the power went out and we were using a flashlight.
7:30 p.m. - great dinner of tuna steak, beef, roast pork, vegetables/salad, we sampled arrowroot (okay) and enjoyed a carafe of South African wine.
Back to our room to remove the flying insects from inside our netting - nasty looking things with wasp like bodies.

Our wake up call came at 6:30 - showered in the dark (no power again), breakfast and checked out. 8:00 a.m. departed Samburu for Mt. Kenya Safari Club. We retraced our route through Nanyuki, then turned off to the Safari Club on the side of Mt. Kenya. What a beautiful property! Flowers, flowering trees, gardens, a large maze. We were greeted with a warm face cloth and passionfruit juice and driven down to our room. A lovely spot (#82) surrounded by slopes of flowers and trees. A great porch with table and chairs and 2 chaise lounges.
Inside, comfy arm chairs, writing desk, a huge fireplace, lovely wooden floors and a large comfortable bed. The bathroom was huge! The giant bathtub would be visited later.
12:30 p.m. We walked back to the main lodge for lunch. The dining room had 'game trophies' adorning the walls, wooden rails and rich wood panelling. A buffet lunch - starter was cream of turnip soup, then roast turkey, king fish wellington, chicken stew, lamb stew, variety of veges, salads and great desserts. Following lunch, even though it was raining lightly, we wanted to go to the animal orphanage on the grounds.
The desk loaned us umbrellas, we paid our 1000 ksh pp entry and walked to the entrance. Judy met us at the gate to give us a personal tour. She explained how each animal came to be there and whether they would be returning to the wild. We enjoyed feeding the monkeys, who sat on your arm, and feeding Kathy the Bongo antelope. The cheetahs were beautiful. A local school group were touring. We took their picture and showed them - they had never seen a digital camera before and were very excited to see themselves.
We became a supporting member of the orphanage and after spending 2 hours there, we were frozen - the temperature had dropped significantly and we were still in shorts! Dreaming of a hot bath, we walked back to our room.
At 7, we called for a shuttle to pick us up for dinner. It was very dark and very chilly outside. Our driver asked where we were from - his knowledge of Canada consisted of maple trees and maple syrup of which her was quite fond. Next trip, I will bring gifts of maple syrup.
As we arrived at the lounge, the Masai dance show was just ending. Dinner began at 7:30, the wait staff were all formally dressed. Appetizer was swordfish tartare, followed by a main course of prime rib steak, asparagus and potato. The steak was done exactly as requested - medium rare.
Excellent meal and service. We shuttled back to our room at 8:45 p.m. and had opted not to call for a fire to be lit, but found the bed turned down and hot water bottles waiting. It was a peaceful, VERY quiet night.

7 a.m. wake up call, showered, packed and shuttled to reception to check out. We bill for 4 glasses of wine and 3 beers was $40 US, which we thought was a good deal for such a high end place.

8 a.m. Buffet breakfast - omellettes, potatoes, banana bread, fresh fruit and endless other choices. After breakfast, we walked through the gardens and had a perfect view of the top of Mt. Kenya.
We left at 9 a.m. with George to drive to Nanyuki airstrip. Arrived at 9:30. There were no issues with luggage. We spotted a very old scale sitting beside the airstrip, but the porters seemed to judge the weight of checked luggage only by lifting it. Carry on was not asked to be viewed.
We said goodbye to George and took some pictures with him. He waited until our plane had taken off before he left for his drive back to Nairobi.
10 a.m. on time boarding and left 5 minutes later. The plane was only half full, so we both grabbed window seats. Once we reached the Masai Mara, we stopped at a total of 4 airstrips before we reached ours for the Mara Safari Club. Quick transfer to the lodge where our cool facecloth and cranberry juice greeted us. We quickly did the check in and then met with Bill, the hot air balloon pilot, who turned out to be a Canadian, originally from Guelph, Ont.
He said it had been very windy and flights had been cancelled the last few days. We were scheduled for the following morning, so he gave us instructions. We were then escorted to our tent #46, almost the farthest from the main lodge, but one of the few deluxe tents located right at the bend of the river where the hippos gathered all day. Our accommodations were perfect!
A comfy queen size bed, blarge bar cupboard made of leather, complete with a frig, a table and chair inside and also outside on our large veranda. We had a large dressing room and shower and then a door opened to the outside and our huge outdoor shower surrounded by 15 foot wall. Our veranda overlooked the chocolate coloured Mara river, which had a surprisingly strong current.
1:30 p.m. We went to lunch, sat at a lovely outdoor table. Buffet consisted of salads, main course was tilapia, beef stroganoff, rices, veges, and a made to order pasta station. Dessert was marzipan cake, carrot cake, hot chocolate pudding, brownies and fruit.
3:30 p.m. We met our driver for the next three days - Moses, and our fellow passengers - John and John from California and Dawn and Angus from London, England.
The drive started slowly - Thompson gazelles, impalas, then wildebeast, common zebra, topi (first time seen) (love their denim coloured back legs) Masai ostrich, Grand gazelle, Masai giraffe, a large kori bustard. Finally, 2 lions - females - one keeping watch, one laying down. Not far away, a spotted hyena laying on the road.
Back to the lodge at 7 p.m. - quick wash and down to the lodge to watch the Masai Mara dancers, while enjoying a Tusker.
8 p.m. Great dinner of asparagus salad, tilapia, tiramisu for dessert.
9:30 p.m. Into bed - a very windy night. Hot water bottles in the bed - not really needed. During the night, we could hear hippos and dogs from the village across the river.
to be continued
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Oct 13th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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Canadian folks,

Did you like staying at Sweetwaters? Would you recommend if for a night? Or skip it?
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Oct 13th, 2007, 05:01 PM
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We totally enjoyed staying at Sweetwaters because of the opportunity to do a night drive
and also because we were pleasantly upgraded from the tented camp to Ol Pejeta House which was amazing. (see description under heading trip report Africa in our heart and memories) Also,if you are driving from Nairobi to Samburu, it is a great stopping point.
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Oct 13th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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Yes... I'm wondering if it is worth stopping at Sweetwaters for a night... and then off to Samburu for 2 nights.

Or... if Sweetwaters feels too much like a "zoo"... perhaps just driving straight through to Samburu and then having 3 nights in Samburu.

Any thoughts??
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Oct 14th, 2007, 03:48 AM
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Oct 16th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Report continued...
Wake up person at the tent at 4:45 a.m.
Coffee and muffin at lodge, then we are off with Bill (the hot air balloon pilot) and his driver. We had our first view of hippos out of the water, but soon met the balloon crew returning - no go - the wind was blowing in the wrong direction.
We returned to the lodge and were able to catch up with Moses for our 6:30 game drive. Our first viewing was a secretary bird taking off in flight - they almost need a runway to take off and land. Next, two male cheetahs- it was decided they were brothers as cheetahs are normally loners. Apparently, only one out of five babies survive, as mother cheetahs must leave them while they hunt - no "babysitters" like the lionesses.
Quickly, we came across a freshly killed impala and word of a leopard spotting. The leopard was not to be seen, but a jackal was edging toward the carcass. We headed back for breakfast then enjoyed our outdoor shower and caught up on laundry. Travel clothesline is a MUST!
We settled for salad for lunch then sat in the shade at the hippo pool. A half dozen hippos played while I caught up on the journal.
At 3:30 we headed out for our game drive. We headed for the rhino area, where we had a short uphill hike accompanied by a guard. The rhinos are highly endangered in Kenya - only 500 left of which 3 live in the Masai Mara. The female was 12 months pregnant, she is due in November. She was laying beside her mate. As we left the rhino area, we were overlooking a vast plain. Balanite trees dotted the horizon. This was the area where "Out Of Africa" was filmed. The Balanite trees give the Masai their name it means "spotted".

We headed back to see this morning's carcass and sure enough, the leopard was just finishing her feeding and a large spotted hyena was running across the plain to feast on the leftovers.

On our return to the lodge, Moses explained how various plants and shrubs were used by the Masai. A certain croton was used in house building as it was insect resistant and the camphorous plant was used for deoderant. Back at the lodge, we showered, headed to the lounge and chatted with a few other guests over a bottle of wine. Dinner tonight was roast beef medium rare for DH and tilapia (yes again!) for me. A great creme brule was served for dessert.

We had signed on again for the hot air balloon ride the next day - so lights out at 10 p.m.

4:30 a.m.- wake up person at the tent.
Coffee and muffins at the lodge at 5.
Chatted with other balloon hopefuls and headed out at 5:40. We were 15 minutes up the road this time before being turned back due to poor wind conditions. We were just able to catch Moses heading out with Dawn and Angus from England for the usual game drive. We asked Moses about an "all day" trek to see the crossing. Dawn and Angus were all in favour. Moses radioed the lodge and box lunches were being prepared. We did a short game drive to give Dawn and Angus a chance to see the rhinos (their last chance),
then back for breakfast and met again at 9:30 for our journey. After 1.5 hours, we reached the gate where Moses paid the toll and we had a bathroom break. If given the choice, I would have taken the great outdoors - the one communal bathroom was brutal.
After crossing through the gate- finally....the massive herds of wildebeast we had envisioned were a reality - as far as the eye could see - thousands of wildebeasts, mixed with elands, zebra, a few warthogs, impala and gazelle. We stopped mid herd to take it all in.
Shortly thereafter, we spotted 3 cheetahs under a tree - sisters apparently. One had a bad skin disease. We later learned it was a bad disease and she would be treated.
We drove miles through the herds, passing baboons as we neared the river.
Many skeletons were strewn about, including one of a small elephant. We finally arrived at the Mara river. At the first crossing point we stopped, there were 3 massive crocs laying on the far bank. The wildebeast gathered on the other side knew they were there and would not cross. We tried another spot where there was a family of hippos on our side and again the wildebeast would not cross. Zebras came along and it looked as though they would make their move. Several times, they came down to the river's edge to drink, but still were spooked by crocs. We stayed for 2 hours (VERY hot day). A couple of cold Tuskers in the cooler helped, but our box lunches (unknown to us) had not been placed in the cooler, so we did not touch the sandwiches and yogurt. Finally, we gave up on seeing a crossing and headed back. We had the great luck, however, of seeing a black maned male lion (making him very manly) and supposedly aggressive. When we saw him, he looked very docile and was actually 20 feet away from his mate who had 2 tiny babies less than a week old nursing. Too cute!!
We stopped again to see the 3 sister cheetahs and headed back on the dusty road home. At 5:45 we arrived and practically ran to the outdoor shower.
Rinsed out the clothes we had been wearing and they left a ring and a pile of soot in the sink. The cold Tuskers we had stashed in our frig were very welcome, even though the power decided to go off at that point.
At 7 p.m., we headed to the lounge and enjoyed a bottle of South African wine while sharing pictures with Dawn and Angus. At supper (DH had lamb, salmon for me) Dawn and Angus were presented with a "Congratulations Sheri and Dickson" cake, which none of us could figure out, but we gladly shared. We watched the Masai dancers, then settled our bill for the 3 nights - $113 US, which included 2 bottles of wine, a safari hat for DH and multiple Tuskers. Thought we got away cheaply.
We packed and were in bed by 10 p.m. as we had signed on for one more try at the balloon ride.
to be continued...
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Oct 17th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Our usual wake up person at 5:20 a.m.
Usual coffee routine. This time, we travelled all the bumpy way to the balloon launch site (about 40 minutes)
only to have the pilot throw up a toy balloon and announce that the wind was blowing the wrong way. I guess it was not meant to be. As I mentioned in a previous post, the pilot, Bill, is from Guelph, Ont., so if any Canadians are booked at the Mara Safari Club, please bring Bill a macintosh apple and a box of Kraft Dinner! Our return trip to the lodge involved a game drive courtesy of our driver, John. We took a survey of the 6 people in the vehicle and all agreed we would look for 'cats'.
Before long, 3 female lions were in hunt formation after a zebra. We watched them close in, then spotted a male and female lion who were hunting a Masai cow which had been separated from the herd. This was a great way to end our time in the Masai Mara, in spite of our disappointment with the hot air balloon no-go(s).
After breakfast, we headed back to our room to finish packing and wash up. We passed our bags with the porter on our way - he had finished packing for us as he thought we were ballooning! I suddenly realized that I had left my camera in John's vehicle and panic set in. I alerted Peter the porter, and he set off running to locate John. In no time, he came running back with my camera!
10:30 a.m. Transfer to airport. Moses came to say goodbye and we left.
It was a confusing time at the airstrip as 3 planes showed up and no one knew which was theirs. We were finally directed to the proper plane going to Nairobi. We made sure our bags were joining us before we boarded.
12:40 - we arrived at Nairobi domestic airport, our bags were rechecked and we cleared security and received our plastic boarding passes. There was a large sign at security - no bottles in hand luggage. DH told them he had a bottle of Tusker in his backpact and they just waved him through. We bought a bottle of duty free South African wine at the little duty free shop and boarded our plane for Kilimanjaro. On the plane, we were handed a paper bag with some sort of sandwich, a juice box and a snack. Farewell to Kenya - onward to Tanzania!
to be continued
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Oct 17th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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If you bring maple syrup just be sure it is in nonbreakable cans and not jars. What a mess that could make in your luggage. Those could be some tiny cans if you put them in your carryon--less than 3 oz.

Great cat sighting with the 3 cheetah and week old cubs. I am surprised you would see them that young.

What a hoot that you were given a decorated cake for no apparent reason.
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Oct 18th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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A few pictures to share from Samburu http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...4&x=0&y=luprvs
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Oct 25th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Intl,
we proceeded to visa line $50 US per person. The line moved quickly and we easily retrieved our luggage - there are definite advantages flying on smaller planes!
We met our driver, Leonce (Leopard tours) and were pleased to have a nine passenger 4 wheeler for the two of us! The paved road to Arusha was also a nice surprise.
A pretty drive into Arusha - jacaranda trees in full bloom and the countryside was lush and green from the rivers of Mt. Meru.
A quick stop to retrieve our box lunches from the Leopard office then we were off to Lake Manyara.
The scenery near the lake was spectacular - winding road hugging the mountainside with views of the lake below. We arrived at Lake Manyara Serena to a very busy reception area. The usual juice and cloths were passed. We were escorted to our accommodations - past the infinity pool, dining area and pool bar. Our room looked like
a Hobbit House made of cement - we had an upstairs room - #61 and our balcony offered a magificent view of the lake below. We hoped to beat the crowds to the dining room, but although it was posted that dinner began at 7:30, the place was already packed with many large groups. The service was absolutely terrible - DH ordered a beer and I ordered tea. Beer arrived, but no sign of tea. Soup came - no sign of tea, even after a reminder.
DH's dinner arrived cold and he sent it back. I had finished my dinner - then my tea showed up - but no sign of DH's dinner. We ended up signing for the beer and leaving. I asked for a 6:15 wake up call. We were sound asleep when the call came at 6:35. When I commented on the time, the caller said his watch might be wrong.
After a rushed breakfast (buffet),
we met Leonce and departed for
the 10 minute drive to Lake Manyara National Park. The drive into the park was very forest-like - many little brooks coming off the mountain. It was cool, shady and very lush. Many sausage trees and wild mango. We soon saw blue colebus monkeys and vervets along the road and in the trees. Then,
Masai giraffe, hornbills, elephants, Egyptian geese, plovers and countless baboons. A large swamp containing hundreds of pelicans and a hippo pool came into view. Leonce explained that the flamingos had migrated and would return in the spring. In a nearby field, we saw brown vultures, wildebeast and cape buffalo. The vultures were at a kill. On our way out of the park, we spotted malacite kingfisher, dika antelope and two female lions. Stopped for a loo break at the gate, then began our drive to Ngorongoro Crater.
Leonce explained that the name ngorongoro was Masai for cowbell, if you say the word over a few times, it gives the sound of a swaying cowbell. The area has been inhabited by the Masai since 1951, when they were relocated by the government from the Serengeti. The Serengeti was made into a National Park and no one was allowed to live within the boundaries. Our lovely paved road ended and became a dusty, bumpy ride. We entered the conservation area where the Masai villages are located. The Masai are only allowed down in the crater from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to bring their animals to drink and graze.
Arrived at the Ngorongoro Serena - very unique looking place made of large round stones. Our room #56
had an amazing view into the crater.
An excellent lunch buffet - nile perch, pasta, curried vegetables were my pics and the highlight was a dessert pudding called "OM-ALI"
At 2, we left to descend to the crater floor. A very scary, bumpy, vertical descent- 620 meters to the bottom. It looked so dry - except for the salt lake, it was hard to believe it could sustain life.
We quickly saw gazelle, crowned crane, hartebeast, a spotted hyena asleep beside the road, many ostrich, cori bustard, warthog, wildebeast, zebra, elephants. Suddenly, 2 female lions appeared - but on closer look, there were 6 female lions on the move. We spotted the male bringing up the rear. We watched them position themselves, but unfortunately, had to make our way out of the crater.
There is a very strict rule that all vehicles must be out by 6 p.m.
Our road outbound passed a swampy area full of elephants. One had the largest tusks we had ever seen.
The rest of the swamp was occupied by a group of hippos. We made it up and out by 5:45.
The dining room was very busy, but service was good. Pricey wine at $9.00 US/glass. Dinner was soup, followed by choices of fish or beef.
Early to bed, where we could hear
lions and hyenas during the night.
A 10 out of 10 sunrise followed by breakfast and we were off to the Serengeti. We made a stop at the Oldevai Gorge to visit the museum and take pictures of the excavation sites where Louis and Mary Leakey carried out their studies. In 1959, the first human bone was found. It was proven to be human by the location of the front toe, the arch and the gait (which were evident in the footprints discovered fossilized in rock. The human had walked in a fresh layer of volcanic ash, which hardened and preserved. It was thought to be 3.6 million years old.The human was named 'homo habilus' or handy man. The footprints were excavated and later reburied to conserve them. In 1960, sabertooth cat fossils were discovered. The name Oldevai is actually a Masai word for a particular reed which the Masai use to weave baskets. After leaving Oldevai, we made our way to the Serengeti National Park gate. The entrance is at Noutu, where the wildebeasts have their babies each April. The Serengeti park is over 14,000 sq.km., the largest in Tanzania. From Noutu, the great migration begins each July.
Shortly after entering the park, we passed a large simba copse where two female lions were resting.
Also seen, a beautiful lilac crested roller, spotted hyena, warthogs and cape buffalo.
We arrived at Serengeti Serena at 12:15 - usual check in routine and finally! a room close to dining/reception! (#23) It had been a HOT, dusty ride and we couldn't wait to hit the shower.
After lunch, we had time to send some email, get a safety deposit box and get ready for our 3:30 game drive. After heading off, we noticed blue bags hanging in the trees along the way, apparently a Japanese invention to minimize tse tse flies. They are definitely a problem here - in the low lying areas we were attacked. We used a good quantity of Off wipes.
A stop at the Seronera River to see a hippo pool. You could sure smell them before you could see them - a very strong scent - almost like sulphur. The rest of the drive was uneventful - elephants, giraffes and many baboons with babies.

to be continued......
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Oct 26th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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You have provided some entertaining linguistic tidbits along with the sightings.

On the pics--Reticulated giraffes aplenty. You caught the gerenuk (giraffe antelope) in action! I'm glad the male lion gave you a nice pose.
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Nov 3rd, 2007, 02:15 PM
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Here are some photos from Mt Kenya Safari Club and the Masai Mara
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Nov 4th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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5-6 cheetah is not bad! Big tusks on that ele, even if it had a short trunk.
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Nov 7th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Serengeti report continued

We enjoyed our meals at the Serena
Serengeti - as Lynda mentions in her trip report, the chef BBQs in the centre of the circular buffet,
so there is always lots of choices.
Once again, we had OM-ALI pudding for dessert. Asked for the recipe and was given this written on a napkin by the waiter:
"peaces of crosant", hot milk, sugar, "springle cashionuts", "whiping cream" on top then you "brownise"
We did not experience the buffalo at the poolside like Lynda, but was told that it happens frequently.
We did see little dik diks out off our patio while watching a beautiful sunrise.
Our full day drive began with a sighting of a male and female lion sleeping under a tree and a baby hartebeast standing in the middle of the road crying for his mother.
Then, the highlight of the day...
we spotted a herd of gazelle on the run, so we stopped and here came 2 female lions escorting 14 babies in a line. Leonce determined that 8 babies were 2 yrs old, 5 were 8 months old and the sweetest little one was 2 months old. It kept scooting sideways and getting out of line, so the mother would have to stop and direct it back with the pride. They passed one by one in front of us. What a thrill!
Not long afterwards, we saw our first leopard of the day - this one sleeping in a tree, paws and tail dangling down. Soon afterwards, another highlight! We watched a female lion track and take down a gazelle. She had 4 other female lions laying in wait to share the kill. We watched her carry it under a tree to begin the feast.
Soon afterward, we spotted another leopard, this one in a Masai copse, sleeping between 2 large rocks.
He was a big boy, estimated to weigh 60 kilos.
We stopped at a picnic area to have our box lunch and were amused by the hyrax begging for table scraps.
After lunch, we left to finish our drive. We came across vultures circling an area and spotted a recently killed zebra.
Back at the lodge, we enjoyed a dip in the pool and an ice cold Kili.
Our last dinner on safari was excellent - grilled lamb, grilled veges, salad and warm chocolate pudding.
The next morning, we departed for the Seronera airstrip for our flight back to Nairobi. We said goodbye to Leonce, gave him his envelope, a picture book for his daughter and a small screwdriver set for him. Our 45 minute flight in an 8 seater plane (extremely hot and stuffy) but a great view of the crater, an erupting volcano and Mt Kilimanjaro. Changed planes in Mt Kili (12 seater plane now) and on to Nairobi. We had to I.D. our bags on the tarmac for the porter,
who carried them to security, where we filled out another immigration card and cleared within 5 minutes.
We were escorted to a nearby chain link fence, where Jumal from Eastern and Southern met us to drive us to Nairobi Safari Club hotel. Room service for supper -
cheeseburger and a clubhouse ($18)
including room service fee.
Next morning, breakfast buffet (included in price) - terrible service for coffee - we had to ask 3 times before it arrived.
We checked out and waited for Kennedy, who arrived promptly at 9 a.m. Our first stop was the animal orphanage where we were thrilled to have our "cheetah hug" experience.
2 of the guards took our pictures
while we petted and rubbed the 6 year old "kitten" She purred and enjoyed having her neck and ears scratched. It was amazing!
The guards asked us to tell no one that we had been allowed in or they could be fired. We were sworn to secrecy!
Our next stop was the Sheldrick
elephant orphanage. First the 5 little elephants came out and were bottle fed by the keepers, then they played in a muddy pool, spraying water on themselves and rolled in the mud. One of the keepers explained how and where each was rescued and described their individual personalities.
The older troop came later.
Our next stop was Karen Blixen House. We had a quick tour of the house and were given the history.
Our last stop with Kennedy was the giraffe house to feed the Rothschild's giraffes.
Kennedy then whisked us off to the airport and we said a quick farewell
and gave him some gifts for his daughters, his wife and himself.
Lynda, he speaks VERY highly of you
and we enjoyed his company, however briefly.
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