A Memorable Safari to Kenya and Tanzania
August. The time of the great wildebeest migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania north through the Masai Mara in Kenya in their annual quest for new grass. This brings out the predators in droves as this mobile "buffet" passes through their ranges.
We traveled with a small group, under Aaron Shaha's care, of course. Joy and I were the only ones who had been to Kenya before, so this was an especially exciting trip. And was it ever! Without trying, we saw the "big five" (lion, rhino, leopard, cape buffalo, and elephant) in the first three days! Many people will spend a week or two without seeing this classic collection of wildlife. Add to that cheetah sightings, tens upon tens of thousands of wildebeest along with thousands of zebra who were migrating, crocodiles, and countless hippos, and more.
Let's go on the safari:
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is a park in transition, from treed plain to savannah. It has long been popular because of its large elephant herds and fantastic view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The plain and dry lakebed are punctuated with many large marshes where the elephants hang out, along with hippos and lots of birds.
A trip to Amboseli wouldn't be complete without a visit to a Maasai village, one of several located near the lodge. Although Joy and i have been several times, we accompanied our friends as unofficial guides (to give Aaron a break).
Lake Nakuru National Park
When you think Lake Nakuru, think pink. Hundreds of thousands of flamingos impart their distinctive color to this shallow lake. The habitat was in serious peril only a few months ago primarily due to drought, when the flocks were severely limited. But plentiful rains in the spring has given this area rebirth, and the flamingos are back. The small park at the end of the lake is also home to rhino, cape buffalo, giraffes, gazelles, impalas, and even leopards. Last year we even saw an African wild dog (a beautiful creature), but we didn't see it this time.
Hells Gate National Park
This remarkable park is near Lake Naivasha. It is a long, narrow valley between vertical escarpments, where water once flowed thousands of years before. Because of a large number of local hikers, most of the animal residents had taken refuge in inaccessible areas. So we headed straight for njorowa gorge, a narrow gorge that follows a stream down a canyon alongside of hot springs. The trail is winding, and takes a bit of effort to negotiate. But the scenery and the experience is worth it. On the way, David was made an honorary Maasai by our fearless and humorous guide. A little ochre on the face does it nicely. We love to take this hike every time we are in the area.
Masai Mara - The Wildebeest Migration
This is the whole point of the trip. We came to see the fabulous migration. 'Nuff said. Take a look
Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti
Our last few days were spent in Tanzania. Here we were under the care of a different safari company, one who had contracted with Tropical Woods Tours. Although we enjoyed ourselves, we came to discover just how good Aaron is. Part of the experience was maybe our fault, as we'd seen so much already, there wasn't a lot more for us to discover, at least in terms of wildlife. But you really have to experience places like the Ngorongoro (named for the sound of cow bells) where the animals share the floor of an extinct volcanic crater. And the huge Serengeti - short grass area, tall grass area, and woodland. A wonderful stop for David was Oldupai (misnamed Olduvai by the media) gorge where the Leakey's discovered what is currently the oldest human relative, nicknamed "Lucy". Enjoy the trip with us...