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Days 15 to 17 - Masai Mara (Take 2!)

I wasn't going to take up this option of a "free" ($175) 3 day trip to Masai Mara at the end of the 14 day trip. However, on the first trip when the SD card in the video camera buggared up and the batteries weren't charged properly for the Lumix, I decided to go back to get some photos of the animals .

I joined a little truck on the Sunday morning, with only 9 of us on board this time, for the out and back to Mara. We got rolling about 9.30am and stopped for lunch at Narok. Who should I bump into here in the restaurant but Jan, Paul and Lois! They were back from their jaunt to Lamu Island over on the coast north of Mombassa, and had been out to Mara, now on their way back.

Above and Below: Doesn't say much for the towing service out here, does it, when the tow truck has a flat tyre, yet doesn't carry either a spare tyre or a jack!!!! The tray was full of gravel - rather overloaded, I'd guess. So our little truck had to tow it off the bridge, so that we could get past.

Above and Below: sunset over the Masai Mara, from Acacia Camp.

Above: An ostrich Below: A Grant's Gazelle.

Above: A vulture high in a tree Below: Our first lion sighting

Above: a young lady elephant on our way into Keekorok Lodge for a loo stop, Below.

Above: A view across the Mara plains to the hills of the Serengeti, in Tanzania. Below: Two lady ostriches.

Above: More elephants and Below: another vulture

Below: We found a leopard (as did about 20 other trucks!!). It was a bit fractious, and wouldn't really settle (who could blame it?) and kept pacing around. Then finally it had had enough of these tourists interrupting its nap, so it jumped up and loped away.

Above: A topi Below: a solitary giraffe

Above and Below: Our next lion sighting. Above, I was trying to get a "Cat Meets Cat" photo, but it walked away too soon. She was very casual, and not bothered about all the trucks around her.

Above: Zebras and wildebeest - and a funny white critter, too!

Above and Below: Warthogs. Mum and baby (below) were quite cute.

Above: a good shot of one of the vulture species, the more common one. Below: A feeding frenzy. We never did ascertain what they were feasting on.

Above and Below: The next two lion sightings.

Above and Below: One of the more rare vultures.

Above: Eland, which are always quite shy, and run away when trucks come close. Below: Yet another elephant.

Above and Below: Pretty flowers on the tiled roof of a building at Keekorok Lodge.

Above: Anyone for soccer?? But you can't wear black and white gear!

Above and Below: More elephants. Check out the tiny baby hugging mum's legs, above

Above: A lone giraffe. Below: One of the large crocodiles in the Mara River.

Above : Wildebeest which perished, possibly by drowning, in the frantic crossing of the Mara River. and Below: Hippos relaxing in the river.

Above: Wildebeest across the river. Below: a croc, waiting for some silly critter to get in the water!

Above: More hippos. Below: A rare and endangered Ground Hornbill

Above and Below: Nap time! I love the next photo - so cute!

Above: At the river, hoping that some will cross. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, apart from a zebra which went about a third of the way across and chickened out and returned. Below: Wildebeest

 

Above: This little guy was separated from the main herd, across the road. Below: Heading for the hills!

Above: Mum and baby and Below: On the run!

Above: Sleepy buffs. Below: A lion pride we came across

Above: I was a bit curious about the chunk of white stuff near it's mouth. It looked like fabric!

Below: Just as we were about to leave the park, we saw this superb lioness, just placidly sitting, looking at the setting sun.

Above and Below: something caught her attention, and she walked off. Little did we know ...

Below: she plonked down under this bush, and cubs started appearing - from in between the trucks! - and they sprang up and climbed all over her. There were four of them, about 2.5 or 3 months old, so our guide said.

Above: Then out from between the trucks walks another lioness, and with her were three tiny cubs, only about 4-6 weeks old! You can just see them in the centre. They also climbed all over the first lioness and her cubs.

Above: We are well camoflarged!

Above: This little guy started walking straight towards our truck. Below: three different ages - Older cubs, younger cubs, adult female

Above: Little cuties!

Above: The show's over, peoples. It's time to go.

Above: These two cubs sat in the middle of the track behind the truck, for a few minutes. Below: Just some of the trucks that were looking at the cubs!

I was devastated a few days later when told, by Tom (a bike traveller from UK) at Jungle Junction, that two adult male lions had attacked and killed two lionesses and their cubs, the day after I'd been in the park. Tom had been to the park the very next day after me, but from the description of surroundings and location that Tom gave, it was a long way away(across the other side of the park) from where we saw these litters, more in the location of some of the other prides we had seen. Hopefully, it wasn't these little cuties. It had really seemed as if the first lioness had deliberately called the cubs out for us to look at, to show them off. Still, that is the law of the jungle. However, we didn't see any male lions at all.

Our game driving was over, so it was back to the park. The previous night, I had been a little surprised to have the manager of the Acacia Camp come up and say "hello, welcome back" and proceed to supply me - again - with free (soft) drinks!! They must see hundred and hundreds of people every week. Why single out me??

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