Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kenya's Amboseli National Park

We left Lake Nakuru at 7:30 Thursday morning and arrived at Amboseli at 3:00 in the afternoon.  We did stop once for lunch and a toilet break.  The lodge at Lake Nakuru had packed us a boxed meal. It included a baked piece of dark meat chicken and the 6th grader fed it to the resident cat that came over to meow and get some petting. Our spoiled American cat would have no doubt turned up her nose at the offering, but the African cat ate the whole thing, bones and all. I wasn't particularly hungry and so we incorporated what was left of the daughter's lunch with mine and gave it to the man who appeared to be the attendant at this roadside picnic area. It's an important lesson learned in Africa - nothing of worth should be carelessly tossed in the garbage or thoughtlessly wasted.

This resort was owned by the same parent company of the Mara Fig Tree where we stayed at the beginning of our tour. It was nice, but due to the topography we had little shade and thus it seemed much hotter to us. However, I couldn't complain about the accommodations or amenities - really lovely.

Below you'll see three exterior pics of our fancy schmancy tent.  

We took the pics of our tent from on high when we ascended the center lookout tower of the open air dining room to get a better view of the surrounding area and Mt. Kilimanjaro.

This resort is only four years old and it was very nice. We were pleased it included an oscillating fan in the tent because it did get pretty warm in the middle of the day with the ever present African sun beating down on it. The sixth grader was very displeased with the lizard critters that liked to sunbathe on the tent railings and exterior sides of the tent near the door - way too close for her comfort and produced a lot of shuddering and shooing and arm flapping to try and scare them away.

Below are the views from our tent. The resort very cleverly created two watering holes just beyond the electric perimeter fence so we could watch critters come up for a drink. Unfortunately, all we saw were elephants one evening.

Since we were hot and dusty upon arrival, the daughter decided to go for a swim.  It was lovely, though there weren't any umbrellas and so the employee manning the bar moved my sun lounger beneath a nearby tree for some shade. And that's how I got bombed with bright green bird poop on my shirt while reading my Kindle.

Our daily ritual of game drives continued bright and early the next morning, right around sunrise. I guess I wouldn't ever get tired of this sight.

Its top shrouded in clouds the day before, we finally got a good view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It's just across the border in neighboring Tanzania.

The game wasn't as plentiful in Amboseli, but this is definitely the place to visit if you're mad for elephants. It was the only time I kinda felt ill at ease, when a really large male did this ear flapping move, stomped his feet and acted as if he was going to approach our safari mobile. A bit of a you-looking-at-me moment when I would have responded "No, sir!" and averted my face. David, our safari guide, cranked up the vehicle and was ready to haul butt away from the threatening pachyderm when he knocked off with the bluster after proving his point - he was the big man in the game park.

The pic above isn't one of my better shots and probably shouldn't have made the cut for the blog, but we sat and watched three elephants play around in a small pond for about 15 minutes. It was some distance away from the road, which we were unable to leave due to the park rules, and so we had to use our binoculars and zoom on the camera to fully appreciate it. Our guide pointed out what appeared to be a rock nearby, but it was really a lone hippo watching their antics. 

The crested something-or-other birds, seen below, were hilarious. The male bird danced around the female while she studiously ignored his come hither routine. My favorite was this butt in the air move he did. Maybe she gave him her number after that stunt.

There were several times during our photo safari when I did my cheesy American asking a goofy question shtick. Usually it involved something I've watched on TV about Africa. I've seen faux termite mounds in zoos - see Houston's really nice example below. I was expecting something really impressive, so the ones we saw in the park were a bit of a letdown. Of course, they were still bigger than the largest fire ant mound I've ever seen back home in Texas and so who am I to complain. Maybe these Amboseli mounds are home to the underachievers and slackers of the termite world. 

We saw baboons again, in a low lying rather green area of the park where the rangers have homes and there is another lodge for tourists. This fellow below cracked me up, checking out his foot.

We were enjoying the fence sitters, above, until the older one on the left used his perch as a toilet and did a big poo.

I love the contemplative aspect of the shot above, with the baboon perched atop the crude water tank. Do you think he's trying to figure out how to get a drink?

And I had to try and snap a shot of the moving target below, a momma baboon with her baby clutching her stomach as she walks through the grass.

After learning at Lake Nakuru that a darker coat on a giraffe means it's older, we were looking for a granny or grampy giraffe at Amboseli. This is the darkest one we spotted on our game drives.

On our final game drive in Amboseli, I took two pics. The first is of a bleached animal skull. We saw quite a few bright white bones strewn across the grasses alongside the road, including vertebrae and leg bones in addition to skulls. They weren't placed there to enhance the ambience or make it more realistic. It was a reminder to us that the whole Lion King, Circle of Life theme is on display all over Africa.   

Last, but not least, is one of my pics of several different dirt devils we saw on our afternoon game drives. David told us they are common in this area.

1 comment:

  1. The crested cranes females choose their mates by a mandatory dance. The male must perform a dance for some hours and the best candidate becomes a lifetime partner. Just a thought... Dont we also?

    Amboseli/Nakuru Day Tour