Of course, coffee was brought to my room at 5 AM. I am having trouble sleeping and believe the jet lag is the culprit. On the positive side, I am getting a lot of reading done. I read from my IPad. Could never imagine packing books on my trips. By the way, I finally fell asleep and was woken up at around 3 AM by a sound that I thought was a lion. Andy heard the same sound and the staff confirmed that it was a lion. You are escorted to your room and picked up between sunset and sunrise. The staff carry a long spear with them when they escort you. I touched the tip of the spear and it was very sharp. I know they know how to use it.
We met at the vehicles at 6 AM. It’s quite cool here in the morning. When the sun comes out, the temperature rises rapidly. We were going to cross the Mara River and go towards Kenya. It took us about one hour to get to a concrete runway that was raised in the River. We crossed. Eventually the terrain lost most of its trees and shrubs. There were only single trees amongst the grassy plains. We saw our other two vehicles parked at an area off the dirt road. Our driver told us the other vehicles had found a pride of lions. Of course, we took off. The pride consisted of one older female, or the mother, with four juvenile lions and one cub. The head of the pride or the adult male was no where to be found. We all knew he was somewhere. We stayed at this location for quite a while taking pictures of these beautiful creatures.
We then drove on. The plains were so beautiful and the grass was quite high. There was a small herd of elephants in the distance. We stopped our vehicles and I got down on the ground to get the whole herd in the picture from a distance. A different perspective.
We then found a nice place for breakfast. Since there was almost no trees and shrubs it made it more of a challenge for all of us to find a place to go to the bathroom. Breakfast was a buffet of various cereals, sandwiches and other breakfast items. Coffee was made the real way. No instant here in Tanzania.
After relaxing, the drivers packed up everything and off we went towards the Kenyan border. Of course, we are always on the lookout for any wildlife. We finally reached the border when we pulled up next to a large border marker and sign. No Wall nor border crossing post. Both Kenya and Tanzania looked the same. We took the dirt road on the border back towards the Mara River. As we drove down the border, it seemed like half of the vehicle was in Kenya and the other half in Tanzania. We stopped a few times to take pictures of some mongoose families and other wildlife.
After crossing the Mara, we stopped at the Airstrip for a bathroom call. It was then back to Camp. Along the way, we took some interesting pictures of a large family of baboons.
Lunch was served at noon. We are having a photo critique at three and then at 4:30 it’s back at the vehicles for our afternoon drive.
Our afternoon drive started very uneventful. We were driving around and just looking at the beautiful terrain for about forty five minutes. Our driver pointed out two unique African birds on the top of a large tree. He then noticed that there was a male lion sitting under the tree. We drove around and there he was. The King of the Jungle observing his world. He then laid down for an afternoon nap as some other vehicles arrived. He was not bothered by our presence. One of the other vehicles was Andy and two other people from our group. One of the other people dropped her lens cap on the ground and it made a sharp noise. Andy then grabbed a selfie stick to retrieve it and the lion awoke to this strange sound and different kind of activity. It seemed like he was very aware of the strange noise and object. We then realized that a fresh kill was in back of him. He had killed a wildebeest and the fresh carcass was behind him. It is rare for a male lion to hunt for food. Sean believes that this wildebeest was alone and accidentally came upon the lion. The lion started to eat the carcass and then got up and dragged the carcass past us and into a ravine. Another lion happened to also be in the area. The driver told us these two lions were brothers. The carcass disappeared in the ravine as both lions started to enjoy the kill.
Our driver then told us that there were spotted leopard cubs with their mother a short distance away. We drove over there and the mother was nursing two cubs on top of a large boulder. The boulder was a gold tone as the sun was receding below the horizon. The colors and subject created great shots. After both cubs were finished, they got up and started to play on the boulder and then walked down as their mother observed them. The cubs then came out on the ground and played with each other. They almost ran up to my vehicle. What an amazing spectacle. I could have stayed there longer, but the sun had set, it was getting dark quickly and we needed to be in our Camp by seven PM. Vehicles are allowed outside of the Camps between six AM and seven PM.
What an unforgettable day in the African Bush. I told Andy and Sean that I don’t know how this day can be topped.
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