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Mr. Carry-on and Family Go on Safari: A Porini Migration Adventure

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Sep 5th, 2010, 01:15 AM
  #81
 
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Funny and tragic now, crosscheck... your range is expanding! Porini sounds really good - and like you friends said the real luxury isn't in the pucci fabrics (not that I know what they are and I don't feel the urge to hit Wikipedia for that one ....girly thing no doubt!). You were incredibly lucky too see these things and don't need to worry too much that they will blight every safari. ;-)
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Sep 7th, 2010, 09:04 AM
  #82
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shouldbewriting - love your user name. Tusker is the national beer of Kenya

moremiles, I sort of went crazy with those bad puns on the viagra thread. I hope the editors don't censor me...then you'll never get to hear about our experience with the crossings.

sandi, It seemed as if all the Brits we met were going to the beach (Seychelles, etc.) for R&R after their safaris. They thought the Americans were overdoing it by spending three weeks gawking at leopards.

kimburu, One would think that Pucci = girly, but a friend said that the macho private plane she used in Kenya was completely upholstered with Pucci fabric.

twaffle, I am grateful that we saw a hunt, etc., but next time I hope for a safari with 100% cuddly baby animals.
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Sep 7th, 2010, 11:11 AM
  #83
 
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Wow crosscheck, I spent a good half hour reading your entire trip report and really enjoyed it

I will be at the lion porini on the 16th 17th and 18th of september

After reading your report,I am really looking forward to the trip, have been to the mara before, but never been to the olare orok.

How were the night game drives ? and did u see the lions or a leopard in the night ?

Looking forward to your posts,

Sonali
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Sep 7th, 2010, 02:07 PM
  #84
 
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I'll have to catch up when I return from my upcoming trip(sadly, not to Africa) unless you plan to finish it today or tomorrow a.m. but no rush, it's fun reading!
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Sep 10th, 2010, 11:32 AM
  #85
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CROSSING DIARY:
7:00am – On our first morning in the Mara, we sleep in. We originally thought we had about a 50-50 chance of catching a wildebeest crossing in late July, but miraculously the Great Migration has arrived a month early. We hear that another family at Lion Porini has witnessed TWO crossings the previous day, one with 20,000 wildebeest, so some of the pressure is off.

SEA OF ZEBRAS:
8:00am - Phenomenal ride through the Mara. We stop to photograph baby giraffes, baby elephants, and, of course, lions and more lions. At one point, as a cheetah poses for us on a rock, our guides receive a tip on their radio: A herd of 1500 is getting ready to cross. They usually take hours to get it together, our guide tells us, but maybe we should head over to “Crossing Point 1.” So we leave the cheetah and zip over to a spot across the river from the Serena. As we arrive, it becomes clear that the wildebeest have not waited for us! But we do get to see about 500 zebra cross. Stunning. And they all make it.

9:00am - No worries – we still have all day - Catching the magnificent zebra crossing had seemed so effortless. We don’t realize that we might be in for a nail biter.

GOOD GNUS AND BAD GNUS:
10:00am - We spot a herd of at least 30,000 wildebeest. They surround our vehicle. Within moments we find ourselves in the middle of a veritable Nat-Geo stampede. It is so dusty that we all cough asthmatically, wishing we had packed khaki bandanas. The gnus are clearly trying to decide whether to cross, and if so, where. But these beasts are not rocket scientists. And they have no real leader. So they head this way, then that way, then toward Crossing Point 1, then toward Crossing Point 2. Then, suddenly, they all turn around and gallop back out of our vantage point, into the forest towards Tanzania.

1:00pm - Fifteen minutes later they reappear. Meanwhile, at least a dozen vehicles have amassed, all waiting for the wildebeest to make up their minds. It’s the ultimate TAIL GATE party (sorry, Leely)! This goes on for THREE hours, which we spend reading and chatting through with through roofs with other travelers. At one point we take a break to have a peaceful picnic lunch near the river.

2:00pm – The herd crosses! But unfortunately they choose an off-the-grid crossing spot on the other side of an impassable forest, where they can only be seen by observers on the OTHER side of the river.

2:30pm – Our guides locate two more herds that are possible candidates for crossing. But both groups are quite far from the designated points. It will take them hours to get up the nerve to get to the river, and when they finally they might not want to cross because the river is filled with hundreds of carcasses from the day before, plus lots of hippos and crocs. We are becoming as anxious as they are. It is one thing have spent one whole day waiting for a crossing? Would we return the next? And the next?

3:00pm – Most of the other vehicles follow a group of 1500 to Crossing Point #2, but our brilliant guides assess the situation (lots of radioing back and forth) and make the decision to remain at Crossing Point #1 with a herd of 5000. This turns out to be the right call.

3:10pm – Our gnus are now bunched together on the banks of the river. But they are just a few feet away from hundreds of floating carcasses, and we don't blame them for being reluctant. We meet a Princeton PhD student whom we later nickname Vulture Girl. If someone had told me a week before that I would find vulture research fascinating I would not have believed it. But hearing Vulture Girl describe her work helps time move quickly.

“THAT ZEBRA IS LEGIT”
4:15pm – To our delight, one brave zebra finally leads the way across the river, choosing an upstream detour that avoids the carcasses. The crocs ignore her. Other zebras follow. The “legit” zebra becomes a hero figure to our boys - After crossing successfully, she heads BACK across the river and crosses again, leading a larger group. Then, finally, a wildebeest cautiously put one hoof in, then another, and another. And soon the whole group has made it across safely.

5:00pm – Satisfied but exhausted, we head back to camp through the aptly-named Paradise Plain. We have now seen a cheetah kill, lions mating, a zebra crossing, a wildebeest crossings and a stampede. And we have only been in the Mara for 28 hours.

NEXT: WALKING WITH THE HERDS
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Sep 10th, 2010, 11:42 AM
  #86
 
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I am thrilled for your crossing success- and happy I had time to read it before my own Mara dramas begin!

Thanks for such an entertaining, informative read...

MoneyB
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Sep 10th, 2010, 05:29 PM
  #87
 
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crosscheck.....great, looking forward to my trip to the mara, you were really lucky to see a cheetah chase and kill, never seen a chase and success in my loads of safari trips, Sonali
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Sep 11th, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #88
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Our cheetah mom was a pro - We actually got to SECOND cheetah chase and kill - embarrassment of riches, especially for such a short safari.
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Sep 12th, 2010, 07:30 AM
  #89
 
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Well this is what I call begineers luck, wow, not one but two kills ? that is special, really special, looking forward to your posts,

Sonali
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Sep 12th, 2010, 10:58 AM
  #90
 
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How exciting! But I agree that the crossings are so chaotic (and fraught with danger-- broken limbs, crocs, etc.) that they can be unpleasant to witness at times.

Looking forward to more puns.
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Sep 13th, 2010, 03:35 PM
  #91
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More puns will be easier than organizing my photos.
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Sep 13th, 2010, 07:21 PM
  #92
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YET ANOTHER CHEETAH KILL/BEGINNERS' LUCK:
The day after all the crossing action we decided to go on a walking safari in the Olare Orok Conservancy. On the way we stopped to photograph a bunch of impalas. Just as we were snapping their pictures, as if on cue, the cheetah mom from two days before zeroed in on one of the impalas. From just yards away we saw another stalk, chase, kill and feast with the two cubs. And again, there were only two other vehicles present. Until we returned and spoke to friends, we had no idea how unusual it was to witness two cheetah kills within three days on our first very short safari.

WALK WITH THE WILDEBEEST:
Our guides drove us to a spectacular plain where we took a brisk walk for about ninety minutes, with the very noisy honking herds and small Masai villages in the background. After two days without exercise, this was just what we needed.

DOWNTIME:
Returned to Lion Porini for lunch after a bathroom stop at Kicheche Camp (We also got a glimpse of Mara Plains - lovely). The day before our boys had inquired about chess and/or Scrabble. The camp manager Philip had managed to procure both games, as well as backgammon. Could there be a Toys 'R Us in the Mara? Mr. Crosscheck, an avid griller, also got an extended backstage tour of the cooking facilities (basically two tiny burners and an even-smaller grill) and the pantry. He became BFFs with the chef, but we never found out the secret of how he managed to prepare such tasty four-course dinners on his little hot plate.

OUR LAST SUNDOWNERS:
After a restful nap during which I dreamt that a dozen hippos were snorting and fighting ten feet away from my tent (on second thought, it wasn't a dream), we drove to a spectacular spot near a gorge for an unforgettable technicolor African dusk. We had planned to do a night drive later after dinner, but this sunset was so emotional that we felt totally satisfied. Lion Porini had delivered on every level.

NEXT: SCHOOL VISIT/MARA INTREPIDS/ONGOING BALLOON ARGUMENT
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Sep 14th, 2010, 06:09 PM
  #93
 
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Wow! Another cheetah kill, how lucky (not for the impala, of course). I sometimes think there's an African-safari conspiracy that pulls out all the stops for that first trip to get you hooked.
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Sep 14th, 2010, 06:22 PM
  #94
 
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Leely, I think you're onto something.

Trouble is, every safari seems to offer something special.
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Sep 14th, 2010, 06:33 PM
  #95
 
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Very true, if it's not one thing it's another.
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Sep 14th, 2010, 07:16 PM
  #96
 
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Come on... be honest! Full disclosre please. You have been there in America watching too much "Big Cat Diary" on DVD and are just making this up as you go along, right? None of it happened, did it?

The two cheetah kills in three days was a give away. ;-)
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Sep 14th, 2010, 11:28 PM
  #97
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The only BBC shows we have access to here are "How Clean Is Your House?" and "Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare," so I couldn't possibly feign seeing a cheetah kill, let alone two.

But I love all the smileys, the notion of the African first-timers' conspiracy, most of all, the genius suggestion about just making everything up. I could go on boring cruises, save a lot of money, but still get tons of attention for my fabulous trip reports.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 05:47 AM
  #98
 
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"Come on... be honest! Full disclosre please. You have been there in America watching too much "Big Cat Diary" on DVD and are just making this up as you go along, right? None of it happened, did it?"

(I know you were joking but) that isn't available to Americans on DVD =~( It's only compatible with British DVD players.

Come on BBC, get with the program...you've got an open market over here you're not tapping into!!
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Sep 15th, 2010, 07:17 AM
  #99
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We have enough footage from out trip to start our own series.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 10:12 AM
  #100
 
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Crosscheck~ Your talent with story telling would make a great series! One the BBC would envy!

We leave for our Gamewatcher's safari in one day, 21 hours and some odd minutes and I am almost in panic mode! Do we have enough cash, the right kind of bills, enough clothes (I'm using your packing list crosscheck)etc... Any last minute suggestions??
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