Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Safari -Samburu NP

We arrived in Samburu National Park and the landscape had changed - this is the Kenya we were expecting. The abundance of animals and variety of species were great. Part of what makes Samburu special is that there are some different animals, or subspecies, that are typically not seen elsewhere. For instance, we've seen zebra elsewhere but here are Grevy's zebra, with narrower, darker stripes, and whiter bellies. (Obviously helping answer the question of whether zebras are black with white stripes, or white with black stripes).

We are still fascinated by giraffe, and Samburu has a subspecies, the reticulated giraffe, which has darker and more defined spot patterns than the common giraffe.

There were tons of the different antelope species, some of which we've seen before, including impala - Betsy thinks this guy lost a fight, Hugh thinks we need to see what the other guy looks like.

Dik diks were plentiful here - they are antelope, but quite small, about the size of a jack Russell terrier. And another antelope species, apparently only in Samburu, is the gerenuk, which has a really long neck and will stand on it's hind legs to reach taller branches.

So far, we've seen very few lions in the wild, and only females. At Samburu, we saw our first male lions. They were juvenile and so didn't have a full mane yet.

But the highlight were the cheetah. Our guide was impressed, because cheetah are typically solitary and you might get lucky and see two, or possibly three together, but we saw 5 at once. Apparently, a mother and her two adolescent cubs were being harassed by two males. (you won't really see the two juveniles that well in this photo, who are on the left behind mom and the bush).

Eventually, the cheetah had to clear out of the area as a group of elephants came walking through, and the elephants pretty much always have the right of way. There were also warthogs, crocodiles, ostrich, and more. And not to let you think we don't care about the smaller stuff, like all the birds, here are a picture of guinea hen, who because of it's name, never sounded like it would be pretty. We saw two varieties - helmet'd and non-helmet'd; these are without helmet.

We also took the opportunity to see a village of the local indigenous people. In this village, two tribes, the Samburu and the Turkana, were living side by side. They performed some songs and dances, told us about their culture, showed us some children in "school" (under a tree), their homes, etc.

It was interesting that their livelihood is raising cattle and goats in the middle of an area with predator cats, but they have been doing it for several centuries. It was a good visit but the trip ended with us having to walk a shopping gauntlet - a narrow pathway through about 40 women on their blankets selling jewelry and other crafts, all talking to us at about the same time - It was a bit overwhelming. //. It was during our time here that Betsy started a new fascination - taking pictures of trees, which our guide finds amusing. Since there are already a lot of photos in this posting, we will skip them for now, but you may start seeing some of those in the future. But just so you know that neither one of us has been fed to the lions, here we are having dinner.

Our time at the beach allowed us to go for a run a couple of times a week, but in Nairobi and here in the national parks, surrounded by large cats and other predators, there really isn't any safe running territory. So Betsy opted for a nice safe swim in the hotel's pool.


1 comment:

  1. where's the picture of the lion eating a baboon?