Baby warthogs in the hole while lions waited...A kill....More photos and stories on safari...

 This scene taken at quite a distance is so depicts Africa, the scattered flat topped acacia trees in the sparse landscape, mountains at a distance and nature as the focal point.  This landscape was in an area used in a scene in the movie "Out of Africa" which I had  watched many years ago, dreaming of someday being in these breathtaking surroundings.  Visiting the Masai Mara to on safari with Tom at my side was more than I could ever have imagined occurring in my lifetime. 
 
Warthogs, rather humorous characters, kneel on their front legs while grazing. 

Some may say that warthogs are not worthy of many photos but our safari group found them to be interesting, attentive and totally fearless of us as provided we didn't make sudden movements. 

Early in the morning we spotted this mother warthog nudging her babies along.  We squealed with delight along with them as they scurried along.  Anderson stopped the vehicle so we could watch, as we noted a few lions in wait in the directions she was headed.  At this point, we were quite far away resulting in a less than perfect shot.

Each morning at 6:30 am sharp, we'd pile into the Land Cruiser without a plan, Anderson at the wheel, to go on the search for next great sighting, the next great photo.  With a cooler filled with chilled beverages, including beer, and on two mornings, a picnic basket filled with scrumptious breakfast goodies made fresh only minutes ago, off we went, expectations at peak levels.
 Up and over a hill they went, mother warthog yet to see the lions that watched from afar.
 
We were never disappointed, especially not after seeing that which we'll continue to share over the next several days including our warthogs/lions story with photos today.
This young male lion lay in wait as he kept his eye on the warthog babies, a more manageable meal than the adult warthog.
 
The air was cool and crisp at 5000 feet above sea level this early in the day.  We'd brought along jackets, putting them on only minutes into the drive as the cool wind whipped in our faces as we bounced along the rough roads. 
 
Anderson explained that the female lions do most of the hunting to later have their kill taken over by a nearby awaiting male.  Fortunately, when no male is within sight,she can keep the kill for herself and her cubs.  The male lion after mating leaves the female to continue his life, although he may hover in the area of his family in order to partake of her kills.
 
I wore a BugsAway hat while on safari for a few reasons, one to keep my hair
from obstructing my view and two, to keep insects away from my face and neck.  The entire time in the Masai Mara both Tom and I wore our BugAway clothing
day and evening.
Difficult to see all the action, the mother warthog pushed her babies into a hole in the area of these bushes, often left by aardvarks.  Mother warthog couldn't also fit in the hole thus, she stood back a distance from her secured babies.
 
Complimentary laundry service was provided by Camp Olonana allowing us to wear fresh clothing each day.  Covered with dirt and dust by the day's end there was no way to wear the same pants and shirt more than once.  Freshening up before dinner each night wasn't an option when we returned to camp around 7:00 pm.  We just stayed in our dusty clothes from the safari, wearing fresh the next day.
 
Mother warthog stood back a safe distance from the lions, hoping her little ones would be spared if the lions were eventually distracted by a more meaty opportunity.  Anderson explained we could wait all day to see what would transpire.  Note the two other safari vehicles in the background, its occupants also entranced by this worrisome event.   Both Tom and I had accepted that we may see an actual kill in the wild, which we eventually did realizing it's all a part of the life cycle.
 
Dressing up for dinner wasn't important to us.  All we wanted was to be on safari, eat when necessary, sleep enough to refresh us, post what we could get online and revel in our surroundings every single moment.  That's exactly what we did.
 
" I'm getting bored sitting here waiting for these mere appetizers.  Let's move onto something bigger and juicier," lion says.
 
The female lion scans the area as she waits for the baby warthogs to reappear.
 
 
  The males lion continues his wait for the warthog babies to appear.
 
 
 The female lion never loses interest in the possible kill while the male languishes appearing bored and disinterested until there's some "real action."
 
Many others hadn't been out for as many hours as we had.  Anderson was determined to give us the time of our lives.  Most visitors went on a three hour morning drive and a two hour late afternoon drive. 
 
"I've had it," male lion says.  "You're on your own, Misses."
 
This schedule left the guests time for the lounging by the pool, sitting on their verandas overlooking the river and dining on three meals a day of fabulous food.  We barely had two meals a day and, the entire time at Camp Olonana, we rested on our veranda for less than one hour total.  We didn't care.
 
We never failed to be excited to see an elephant, their massive size and majesty continuing to astound us.
 
 
Elephant family on the move.  Mom is holding up the rear, keeping a watchful eye on her offspring.
 
 
For us, it was almost eight hours each day on safari, a rare treat, appreciated by our safari mates, of which there were two on one day and four on the other days.  None of us couldn't get enough. 
 
 
  Male lion  taking a break from his zebra meal.  We shot this photo within 25 to 30 feet.

We were the only pair in our group never missing a game drive, except for the commitment we'd made to visit the Masai Village at 10:30 in the morning on the day we flew back to Diani Beach. 
 
An extraordinary experience in itself, we're grateful we didn't miss the visit with Chief Richard and his extended family. (We'll share photos and story of the Masai's sparse lifestyle in the next few days, for which I wrote notes on my smart phone while flying back on the tiny plane to ensure I didn't forget a tidbit).
 
  He opened his eyes giving us a toothy grin.  He didn't seem concerned we were close but we were quiet and nonthreatening.
 
The story of the warthogs and lions will be told in the captions in the photos included here. 
 
 
 Zebras are common in the bush.  We'll have plenty of Zebra photos when we live in South Africa in less then two months, where they'll visit almost every day.
 
 We often saw giraffes hanging out in groups.

 
 
Occasionally, we noticed a lone giraffe, perhaps hoping to find the others in her group.
 
Another cape buffalo, a Retired General, abandoned by the herd when he didn't win the battle for dominance, left to his own devices.  These lost souls, all bachelors, hang out in numbers for safety from lions.
 

A male impala based on the black striped on its hind end, a graceful animal, one of many in the deer/antelope family.  There were many varieties, often hard to distinguish one from another.
Later in the day,  from a distance we spotted a pride of lions, a mother and her cubs lounging under the shade of a tree.  Little did we know until Anderson drove us within 20 feet, that they had a kill they were voraciously working over. 
Mom growled in seeming happiness over her successful hunting day, without a single male in sight to confiscate their meal.
We must have stayed in that spot for an hour, quietly savoring every moment of the manner in which they shared their meal, the way the mother tended over her cubs with her own needs secondary as well as the playful demeanor they exhibited when taking a break.
Life is good.

The cubs took a break to relax.

Moments later they were back at their meal again.

The cubs enjoyed the meal while mom stayed back keeping an eye out for danger.
 
 
"Eating is exhausting.  I think I'll rest for a minute or two."
 

Finally, mom steps in for a bite.

Is someone coming to steal the kill?  Mom constantly stays on the lookout.
 

Cubs...sharing.

Tom having a beer in the late afternoon, in awe of what we've experienced, having never expected it to be so rewarding and fulfilling in many aspects.
 
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your nice words on my comments. I just like responding to let you know how much we are appreciating all the work you are putting into this blog. It was nice to know that you did see the leopards also. I was afraid you would be disappointed.

I still wonder about sleeping in a tent with so many wild animals around. Was that a concern for you and Tom?

The poor baby warthogs, I am afraid of what is to come next. Even though I know it is part of the life cycle. It is still hard to think about.
I loved the picture of the female lion when she looked like she was laughing! So content to have done it her way. And then seeing the male lion just walk away from where the baby warthogs were hiding was just so funny. The baby lion cubs were so cute as they were relaxing, I can see why some people want to get out of the truck to get a better look. So glad you did not attempt that. And then there were the giraffes, so magnificent. It is neat that you got to see where they filmed the movie "Out of Africa". I also saw it and remember how beautiful the country was.

Did you know anything about your guide, Anderson, when you booked or was he just assigned to you? Also have you seen any of the accommodations that were not 5 star rated? Because I was thinking, since you were gone for 8 hours everyday, would it be better to purchase maybe a 3 star. That is as long as they have the inside plumbing.

Dan appreciated the picture of Tom holding a beer.

Take care,
Pat



Jessica said...

As for staying at a 3* camp as opposed to 5*...we chose Camp Olonana for many reasons, willing to pay more for its luxury. When we decided to travel the world we made a serious decision to always shoot for the best accommodations for the best price. But, when booking a tent at a safari camp the options and pricing were many.

We didn't want to stay in a "regular tent." We wanted comfort and amenities. Also, we needed quality food and a knowledgeable chef to make my special meals, a vital aspect. Many camps cook out: potatoes, beans, bread, rice and many other items I can't eat. That alone was a motivator.

But, I will admit, after researching dozens of camps over a period of no less than a week, we fell in love with Camp Olonana, knowing it was right for us. We loved the luxurious feel of the bed, the down comforters, the soft towels, the organic toiletries, hot water and impeccable service.

Are we spoiled? Sure, a little. That is why we limit some of our activities so that when we do something, we will love it, willing to pay a little more.

As for Anderson, you get what you pay for and we feel he is probably the finest guide in the Masai Mara. We'll make going back contingent upon working with him again. The camp was aware that we are journalists and would be writing a review of the camp. We believe that may have had an effect on getting Anderson. But then again, we imagine that all of the guides at the camp were amazing as well.

As for the animals, we had no risks at the tents other than small animals and monkeys. The river acted as a natural barrier for the big game to enter, although from time to time so we heard, some animals did enter the camp. We had a walkie talkie in our tent with security around us, 24 hours a day, another benefit for paying more. When I write the final review of the camp in a few days, you'll see other reasons why it was worth it.

So off I go to begin writing for today. With all these photos it takes at least 1/2 of the day. Thanks so much for your kind words about us doing the blog. Every morning while much of the world is sleeping, I feel we must hurry and get done so when everyone awakens, we'll be there. This means so much to us and inspires us both each day.

Thanks for writing, again, dear friends. Hugs to you both.
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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