Monday, October 07, 2013


There was a bit of a glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro this morning at breakfast at the Amboseli Sopa Lodge, but unfortunately it remained shrouded in clouds for most of the day.  Our first stop this morning was a tour of a Maasai village, which I think our tour company threw in for free due to our unhappiness over some of the last minute changes to the itinerary.  We were welcomed to the village by Eric, the son of the chief.  A tribe of around 150 people live there and the men and women treated us to an opening dance performance and prayer.

Eric explained that they live a traditional nomadic existence and followed the customs of both male and female circumcision (even though it's illegal) in order to marry and the men taking multiple wives.  I found Eric to be somewhat arrogant and he was a far cry from Junior at the Siana Springs Tented Camp in terms of beliefs and personality (Eric claims the Maasai people in Masai Mara are much more westernised).  After the welcoming performances we were given a fire making demonstration, a tour of a traditional hut and then were led to the Maasai market.  It was a bit of a pressure sell and I felt guilty doing too many price negotiations with people who need the money.  In the end I bought some beaded baskets and a couple necklaces.  We were also going to have a tour of their school but ran out of time.

Next we headed into Amboseli National Park for our day-long game drive.  The first big animal sighting we had was a group of five lionesses who were feeding off a fresh kill.  One of them brought part of the animal over to a clear spot to eat from and then the next one took her turn to feed.  The landscape in the park is a mix of arid, dry land and marshes and swamps.  We had quite a few little dust clouds whirling around, including one that came over our open van (we all ducked).  At lunch time we had the opportunity to climb up to the observation area on top of a hill and see panoramic views of the park.

The most prevalent animal in Amboseli is the elephant.  It was pretty amazing how many we managed to see throughout the day.  The elephants really seem to enjoy being in the marshland and you could only see the top half of their bodies as they sank into it while eating away.  At one point we had a herd of at least 15 elephants walk past our van in a line.  We also witnessed two elephants charge at each other and then a small group chase away the offending one from the area.  I had no idea that elephants could run continuously for a good 5 minutes!  It was a rare sight (and believe it or not, they were fast).


The animals tended to congregate in the greener areas of the park, but we did see them wandering around some of the drier parts as well.  Besides elephants we saw wildebeests, zebras, impalas, ostriches, giraffes, jackals, hyenas, warthogs, flamingos, and a huge group of hippos by a lake.

Toward the end of the day we had another crush of what I like to call the safari paparazzi pack as we came across three cheetahs in the distance who had made a kill.  I think there were over ten safari tour vans there jockeying for position to watch them feed.

Tonight is our last night in Kenya as tomorrow we will cross the border into Tanzania and say goodbye to our drivers Charles and Joseph.

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