05 October 2014

Oh My! Elephants on Safari

Aside from getting eaten alive by possible malaria carrying mosquitoes...night-time on safari was almost as awesome (in the original/actual sense of the word) as the game drives. I knew I was going to be sorry that I'd never splurged on a telephoto lens because it have been super helpful taking pictures of the animals...but I never counted on needing it for the stars.

I have a hard enough time walking in a straight line or, let's face it, a curvy one, without falling down and true to form I almost fell off the lodge walkways a few times. At least here it was not because of my own lack of walking ability but because I was too busy looking at the night sky. I'm from the country in Michigan where there is no light pollution, tall buildings, or even hills to block one's view of the stars but Michigan stars are nothing compared to these. SO MANY stars! And they are all just enormous! I feel that I read somewhere that stars appear larger closer to the equator...I may have made that up. But we could all just agree to believe it.

Protective mama

On our second day in Samburu we left for our morning game drive at about 6:30. I'm not usually even awake by then let alone dressed and functional but morning and evening are the best times to spot animals. And boy howdy did we have an amazing drive that morning! We were supposed to be back to the lodge at 9:30 for breakfast but we were having such great luck that our guide agreed to keep driving around and we didn't go back to eat breakfast until closer to 13:00.


Towards the tail end of our morning drive our guide heard about some elephants near the river. We didn't just find elephants; we found the elephant jackpot! There was a large elephant group including several younger elephants and a baby that was still so shaky on its feet he was glued to mama's side.

Speaking of sides, on a somewhat tangential side note: it is disconcerting that an elephant's teats are in the same basic place as women's breasts.

Having trouble stepping over the branch

Wait for me!

I'm not sure exactly how long we stayed but it was probably 30-40 minutes. It's amazingly peaceful hanging out with elephants though so it was time well spent. Samburu isn't as popular as say Masai Mara where, I've been told, you can barely see the animals for all the safari vans. In fact there are so many tourists at Masai Mara that they're actually interfering with migrations now and causing huge problems. So do the animal kingdom a favor and don't take a safari to Masai Mara; at least not during migration. Any hoodle, because Samburu isn't highly visited there are still more animals than vans but there are enough vans that the animals aren't totally spooked by them. Which meant that our guide was able to park us just outside the elephants' circle and we could sit there while they moved around us.

Side note: standing up in a van being driven through the African bush with the wind whipping through your hair is a lot of fun all on it's own!

Up next...LIONS!

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