Tuesday, 4 October 2011
OUT & ABOUT : AN AFRICAN SAFARI.
Some amazing photos and a great experience out on safari from a fellow Connoisseur, words and pictures from T25.
We arrived in Nairobi after a rather long ten hour overnight flight and were transferred straight to Wilson airport. After about an hour we were on our way, in a small twenty seat Otter single prop aircraft we arrived in Samburu National Park on a small airstrip.
We were met by Sebastian a driver for intrepid Samburu. Within a twenty minute drive to our camp we had already seen a number of different antelope, baboons and some water buffalo, and although dry, very hot and with not much flora to talk about we could see that the animals looked to be in abundance.
After our briefing and being shown to our luxury tent, we had an amazing lunch, and with an hour or so to get our bearings we were on our first ever game drive. Dominic our driver took us for what seemed like miles.
And on it we saw elephants, giraffe and a wealth of birds and antelope. We arrived back just before dark, and with a quick shower it was off to a presentation by a warrior from the local Samburu village.
'Son of Red Bull' or Steve to his friends, gave an informative presentation about his village and the people it inhabited, we hung back to talk to Steve about a potential visit to the village. We took a hundred pencils to donate to a school which he had mentioned the village school, we thought it would be great to visit the village and donate the pencils to a school that relied so much on donations.
Five courses of quality food and a decent bottle of red to wash it down with. Bed by 10.30 as we had tea brought to our tent at 6am ready for our next AM game drive. The following day Steven caught us on our return from the afternoon game drive and asked if we would like to visit the village the following day.
The event was a man to warrior ceremony, where one goat was sacrificed for each warrior and butchered ready for cooking. Some of the meat was taken and delivered to the elders in another part of the village where a similar ritual took place, the rest was draped over a sacred tree, ready for cooking.
Around the tree was a series of fires/BBQ where the ribs and legs were cooked and then placed on acacia branches around the sacred tree. The cooked meat was then cut into edible size portions and skewered on long sticks and offered to each warrior. We too ate meat as the warriors accepted our being there and even posed for photos. We later visited the school and met the Headmaster. Gave him the pencils, signed his signing in book and had a guided tour. There were no kids there. The teachers of Kenya were holding a national strike. Then we were invited into an elders house, a wooden structure covered in dried cow dung, we sat around on goat hides and talked to the woman whose house it was about the village and her kids. Steven was a great interpreter.
After a successful game drive bringing us our 1st Lion, he was enjoying a sleep when a rather vexed elephant chased him into a bush. We returned to the camp to meet Steve and Sebastian and made our way to the village. Steven informed us that there was a ceremony taking place which only happened every six or seven years and whilst he would have to negotiate with the leader of the warriors we may be able to see it unfold. He believed no visitors had ever been allowed in and no woman had ever been allowed in and as far as he was aware.
Late afternoon we went to the main part of the village where the warriors and young ladies of the village danced and sang, we left about 6.30, apparently the dancing would go on until the early hours next morning. Amazing day.
The next day after our morning drive and breakfast we were transferred to the airstrip where we flew to the Masai Mara, again in a small Otter, we landed on airstrip and were transferred to Mara Intrepid which was a two minute drive, instantly the difference in habitat was very evident, much more lush and green almost tropical, and not quite so hot as Samburu.
After a short briefing we were shown to our tent, luxury again, with a stunning view up the Mara river. A large Hippo was basking in the sun.
We arrived at the game drive meeting point to be met by Sammie our driver for the next three days. 20 years in the job his enthusiasm was very evident and rubbed of on us very quickly. Our 1st afternoon drive and we saw a pride of lions a maned lion cheetah and a leopard.
The cats were top of my list to see and over the next three days they didnt disappoint. We also saw elephants, hippos by the truck load' zebra, giraffe, wildebeests and the elusive rhino.
On our very last drive we saw a cheetah kill. Top of my list of want-to-sees. And it didn’t disappoint 3/4s of and hour from start to finish possibly the single most exciting thing I have ever seen.
After three days in Mara we flew to Mombasa where we relaxed at leopard beach resort for four nights before flying back to Nairobi and then overnight to Heathrow. T25