Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Kenyan Safari, Masai Mara

Our first glimpse of the sleeping lions
There is no adequate way to explain what it is like to go on safari; to spend hours searching the vast African savannah for just a glimpse of an animal, any animal. For those of you who have been, you will know what I'm talking about and for those who haven't, I can only attempt to describe my feelings during the experience. It was so much more magical than I could have ever imagined to see so many beautiful animals in their natural habitat. My first glimpse of a wild lion really did send me into a state of childish euphoria. Not quite sure where to put myself, I hopped around our safari vehicle like a mad woman trying both to calmly observe them and let the moment sink in, and to get a prize winning snap all at the same time; God help anyone who was in my way...Chris!. I was in a constant state of alert for the entire duration of our game drives, adrenalin coursing through my veins at the excitement of what might be around the corner. Naturally, most of the time there was nothing around the corner and there are actually quite long stints where you don't see much at all, but when you did come across an animal hidden in the bushes it was incredibly exhilarating, like winning the lottery (or how I imagine that would be!). Every now and then my excitement would bubble over and I would be convinced I'd seen a leopard stalking through the tall grass....nope, just a log! I think our guide Alex grew a little tired of my 'sightings' after a while!

At the time, this being our first safari experience, we weren't sure whether we had been lucky or not, whether we'd seen a lot of game or only a little. However, by the end of our time in Africa we got the sense that ours was a pretty special experience, particularly with the lions, and that although we hadn't seen the big 5 (leopard and rhino were not forthcoming) we had done pretty well. Plus it gives us something to focus on next time! 

Anyhow, rather than witter on about it I thought you might like to see some of the snaps we took. The rest can be found in our Kenya album here. Enjoy!

A big bad bull!



Lions in formation...on the hunt.
Chasing ostrich from the road in our vehicle

A Lilac-breasted roller, one of Kenya's national birds

A dik-dik, the smallest of the antelope family
A hippo with its baby

Lions on the prowl

A hungry giraffe

A pair of clown-like wildebeest

Zebra cooling off...


























































































































































































































Finally, before our safari, we visited a local Masai village where the men persuaded Chris to join in with their traditional adumu dance (otherwise known as 'the jumping dance'). This is performed by the warriors in the tribe and is a competitive dance involving a march-past (see the video below) and then a jumping section where the men take turns to step to the front of the circle and jump as high as they can, repeatedly, without letting their heels touch the ground. We were told by the chief's son that the higher a man can jump, the more honourable it is and the less cows he shall have to pay for his wife. Here's a wee video of them all doing their thing and a jumping photo for your enjoyment!...I fear that Chris will have to pay a lot of cows for me one of these days...but I'm worth it :)


If you're wondering what he's wearing on his
head, that is a lion skin fashioned into a hat! 




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