A Travellerspoint blog

Saturday, August 14th

We "Can" For Kenya Update

We "Can" For Kenya
Current Can Count - 420 ($42.00)
Current Donations - $0

Posted by kgherde 14:03 Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 11th

We "Can" for Kenya

Hi everyone!

My favorite videos and pictures are now up. You can find pictures under "Photography" and video under "Favourite Links." I hope you enjoy them.

We "Can" For Kenya
Current Can Count - 205 ($20.50)
Current Donations - $0

While in Kenya, I visited several schools. The schools in Kenya are very overcrowded and their needs are great. One of the schools I visited was Oloirbor Murt Primary School in Ol Kinyei. The 121 students that attend this school are taught by a mere 5 teachers. Another school I visited was Iloirero Primary School in Selenkay. There are only 6 rooms in the school that have been partitioned to accommodate 350 students. In both schools, three or four children are seated to a desk and are served the same food (corn) every day of the school year. Many of the children walk miles to get to school and some do so without shoes. Sometimes, because of African predators such as lions, these children never make it back home. Having visited these schools made me appreciate how fortunate I am.

As part of my community service requirement for the 7th grade, I am organizing a local can drive to collect money for textbooks for Oloirbor Murt Primary School and Iloirero Primary School. The textbooks are not expensive ($3-$6), yet the school cannot afford them for its students. I want to help.

If you are interested in helping me and the schools, a small donation will go a long way. Please e-mail me at royalherd@comcast.net.

Thanks again for following my blog and for supporting We "Can" for Kenya. Please continue to follow my posts for an update on my collection efforts.

Posted by kgherde 10:10 Comments (2)

Wednesday, July 15th

Nairobi, Kenya

semi-overcast 66 °F

Hi!

July 11th

Last night was the most scary night of my whole life.

It started at 3:00 AM. I heard some noises from outside the tent. I then woke my grandma up and told her that there was something outside. She said, "I know. It's a huge elephant!" That calmed me down because I knew that they weren't that dangerous. So after a few minutes of observing the noise, I came to the conclusion that it was absolutely not an elephant. I said, "that is not an elephant." She said, "I know. It sounds like a cat." So we blew the alarm whistle. A night guard arrived minutes later and we asked "is it OK?" He said "yes." We asked "what is it?" He said "lions." That's when I started shivering. It was so totally creepy. They growled and growled and growled for hours. Eventually the guards shooed them off.

So we woke up this morning and the man who brought us hot chocolate answered our questions. He explained that they had been roaming around the area for hours, and they were 1 male lion and 2 females. We were so lucky we were not attacked. That was the scariest thing that ever happened to me - 3 potential murderers yards away from us. We could hear them breathe.

After an early morning breakfast, our guides took us on a drive to Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers Company. We drove through the Ol Pejeta Park all the way down to the city. We spotted Grevy’s Zebras as well as a 2-hour-old Grant’s Gazelle. Finally we arrived in the city of Nanyuki. We needed to get money os we went to the KCB Bank ATM, where Grandma put in her card and took too long thinking that it “swallowed” the card. So after about an hour we finally got the card back and withdrew 16,000 KSH ($200). Then we visited the Nanyuki Spinners etc. and saw how they made carpets and stuff. Grandma bought a small zebra carpet for $35.

We then took a game drive back to the camp and didn’t see many interesting thing, just common game like zebras and gazelles and impalas and warthogs. We then went on another sundowner where we learned a bit more about culture and stuff.

Then we drove back to camp and had a peaceful overnight stay with no disruptive lions. After a nice sleep, we woke up at 5:35, were greeted with hot chocolate and coffee, and eventually made our way to the airstrip. We said bye to Issa and James and our flight took us to Mara Porini Camp.

There we met Wilson and Simon who would be our guides for our stay. An Indian couple as well as an Australian couple met us with their son. We went on a game drive where we spotted a herd of at least 40 elephants, had a sundowner in which we spotted a hyena, and on our night game drive, we saw a pride of 9 lions. The biggest pride in the park, this pride of lions has a total of 21 lions, some of which may have cubs. The pride leader and its brother immediately collided with us.

So now I am in bed getting ready to go to bed and preparing for the worst night of my life, knowing there are 21 lions roaming around our tent.

July 12th

We woke up early, without lions roaming around our tent, which was good. After an early breakfast, we headed out for a full day in the Maasai Mara National Park. We saw some of the most amazing things ever. Herds of wildebeest, hundreds upon hundreds of wildebeest and zebras. We ran into our first bit of action when we saw three lions hanging around under a tree around a dead wildebeest. We could not really see anything due to the sheer amount of people. Afterwards, our next stop was for lunch, where we had veggie pizza, chicken and salad. Then we ran into more action as we ran into the 2nd most dangerous animals in the world, Cape buffalo. Over 100 of them. After some great photos and a huge buffalo passing by, we arrived just in time to see a lone lion killing a wildebeest attempting to cross the river. We watched as the female lion’s razor sharp teeth dug into the neck of the wildebeest until finally, the head fell limp and the lioness strutted away to find an eating partner. We then arrived at the Mara River, where we spotted about 30 baboons and hundreds of impalas. We stopped to stretch our legs. We viewed over 50 hippos from a cliff. We also faintly spotted a Nile crocodile; only the head, but still, it was cool to see. On our way back, we spotted the three lions again. Not only that, but we also had a great view of the wildebeest’s guts. Ew. We had to leave, but not before we got 3 feet away from the lions.

After a long drive back, spotting a den of hyenas, we got to camp and took a nice long rest. We got some dinner, where we mingled with our other 9 companions who were also staying at the camp. What a small world it is – one kid that is in the camp is going to the same school my dad did (Hampton Grammar School). We later took off on a night game drive with Simon and Wilson. We spotted animals like bat-eared foxes, impalas, black-backed jackals, and two very rare animals that you should look up on your computer – the Crested Porcupine and the kangaroo-like springhare. We then arrived back, unsuccessful on our lion hunt, and crashed for the night.

July 13th

We woke up early, 6:00, and took an early morning game drive in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy, spotting animals like the Defassa waterbuck, a herd of elephants, black-backed jackals, and a baby gazelle sprinting at almost 30 miles per hour. Finally, we got back to camp, had breakfast, and after saying goodbye to everybody, we took off on our drive to Porini Lion Camp.

En route to the lion camp, we decided to stop at the Koiyaki Guiding School. There we learned how our guides learned how to guide and what the stuff there was like. It was pretty sweet.

Then we headed on our hour-long drive to the Porini Lion Camp, on the way spotting the Rock Hyrax (look at its picture on the internet – then believe it is the closest living relative to the Elephant) near a deep pond we almost fell in to. We finally arrived, said bye to Simon and Wilson, than met our new manager, Philip, who told us all about the camp. We then met another couple from Virginia. It is so amazing what a small world it is out there. The man we met – he went to the same school as I do now. He lived in Birmingham, Michigan for 6 months and went to BCS. Beautiful, isn’t it?

We then ate lunch and hung out in our tents for a while. We took a game drive nearby the Olare Orok Conservancy, where we spotted one of the most gruesome things I have ever seen in my whole life – after viewing a few lions up close, 2 male lions came over to a captured wildebeest and chewed it apart. I saw the insides of a wildebeest. I saw a wildebeest stomach; I saw a wildebeest stomach broken open while all the food spilled out.

We started driving back to the camp when we were alerted that there was a zebra kill nearby. We arrived and were surprised once again by a bush dinner. There, the manager, the waiters, the cooks, and everybody else had already started a fire, set a table, and fired up a charcoal grill. We ate all kinds of meat (lamb, chicken, pork, beef) to the sound of hippos. Finally, we went back home and crashed for the night.

July 14th

I slept all right, but we had the sound of roaring lions a few miles away. Luckily, happily, guards with flashlights came walking around our tent twice.

We woke up early at about 6:00 and had an early breakfast at about 7:00. Then at about 8 we took an early morning drive. First, we spotted a large herd of zebras and wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelles. There were about 100 zebras, 2000 wildebeest and 50 Thomson’s gazelles. Then we spotted a lot of Jeeps in the distance viewing what appeared to be 3 cheetahs. On our way, we spotted a squadron of 25 vultures over a dead body. After watching for a little bit, we realized it was a dead baby zebra. We then, upon arriving at the cheetah location, spotted them crossing a bank. We watched as they effortlessly crawled steep cliffs to find some shade. After viewing them and spotting 8 spotted hyenas in the distance, we headed off to greener pastures.

Upon arriving at the Mara River, we were confronted by our first full sized Nile crocodile. It was massive… until we ran into another group of about 9 crocs hanging around with a group of 20 hippos. Eventually, we drove around a bit more, had a picnic lunch (which was delicious), and then headed off to the main zebra and wildebeest crossing. We waited for hours (one of which included a hippo fight as well as a dead gazelle getting seriously shaken up by a croc) until finally a courageous zebra decided to cross the river. Then, 100 wildebeest and 100 zebras continued to cross, threatened by 2 crocodiles that never actually got close to them. Sadly, an injured baby zebra did not make it across the river, as well as a solo wildebeest that refused to cross.

On our way back we spotted the common game animals as well as a secretary bird, and then we ate dinner and head out on a night game drive. We spotted a large group of bushbabies, a lioness and about 50 springhares. Then we came back and went to bed.

July 15th

After a night full of lion roaring, we woke up at 6:00, had our hot cocoa, and took a morning game drive where we spotted 4 giraffes with 1 baby, 3 lions (1 male, 2 female) and 3 cheetahs (mother and 2 cubs). Then we came back, spotted Cape Buffalos, then had breakfast and head off to our flight.

Right now I am in the hotel in Nairobi and my Africa trip is nearing it's end. Tommorow at midnight, I will be heading back to London, then to Chicago, then to Detroit.
Rhino camp thanks: James, Issa, Paul, the chef, the waiters, and everybody else who made our stay so fantabulous!

Mara camp thanks: Wilson, Simon, David, the chef, the waiters, and everybody else who made our short stay so beautiful!

Lion camp thanks: Jackson, Ketere (I think), the chef, the waiters, the manager, and everybody else who made our stay worthwhile!

African trip thanks:
- Dominic for being an amazing guide
- Jonah for being so funny, as well for all his knowledge
- Tony for being so comforting and letting me use his computer
- James for being a great guide
- Issa for being a great guide as well as being from the Maasai, and for not minding after I called him Duncan
- Paul for letting me use his computer and trying to comfort us after the lion incident
- Wilson for being very funny and nice, as well as a good Maasai tracker
- Simon for being a great driver and guide
- Jackson for being a wonderful guide
- Ketere for being our driver and pointing out some animals
- Philip of Porini Lion Camp for being nice and telling us about his cool experiences
- Mohanjeet for planning our whole trip and giving us such nice things!
- Alex, Johnson, and all our other drivers during our stay at the Tribe
- The men at the Tribe for being so awesome and nice and carrying our bags
- All of the chefs at all of the camps and the Tribe for cooking such amazing food
- All of the waiters from all of the camps and the Tribe for making sure we were always full and fulfilled
- The people at the Porini camps for carrying our bags to our tents
- The men who brought us hot chocolate in the morning to wake us up
- The Maasai who let us visit their vivllage
- Iloirero Primary School, Koiyaki Guiding School, and Oloibor Murt Primary School for letting us visit
- The lady we talked to at the Tribe who got us a complimentary massage
- Everybody else I forgot to mention that made our stay impossible to describe!
- Grandma for organizing such a wonderful trip!

BIG FIVE COUNT (Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Lion, Black Rhinoceros, Leopard)
Amboseli: Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Lion
Rhino: Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Lion, Black Rhinoceros, Leopard
Mara: Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Lion
Lion: Cape buffalo, African Elephant, Lion

FOR DAD (Most popular cars in Kenya)
1. Nissan
2. Toyota
3. Land Rover
4. Mitsubishi
5. Jeep

ANIMAL CHECKLIST (All mammals / reptiles / insects / amphibians we have seen)
- Warthog
- Hippopotamus
- Masai Giraffe
- Reticulated Giraffe
- Rothschild’s Giraffe
- Kirk’s Dik Dik
- Steinbok
- Lesser Kudu
- Eland
- Beisa Oryx
- Common Waterbuck
- Defassa Waterbuck
- Wildebeest
- Topi
- Cokes Hartebeest
- Impala
- Grants Gazelle
- Thomsons Gazelle
- Gerenuk
- Cape Buffalo
- African Elephant
- Grevy’s Zebra
- Common Zebra
- Black Rhinoceros
- White Rhinoceros
- Rock Hyrax
- Crested Porcupine
- Black-backed Jackal
- Bat-eared Fox
- Large-spotted Genet
- Banded Mongoose
- Dwarf Mongoose
- Striped Hyena
- Spotted Hyena
- Lion
- Leopard
- Cheetah
- African Wild Cat
- Lesser Galago
- Olive Baboon
- Yellow Baboon
- Patas Monkey
- Black-faced Vervet Monkey
- Chimpanzee
- Eastern Green Mamba
- Striped Skink
- Common House Gecko
- Nile Monitor
- Nile Crocodile
- African Bull Frog
- Square Marked Toad
- Scorpion
- Termites

ANIMALS WE SADLY DID NOT SEE (and why)
- Bush Pig (forest, woodlands, thick bushes)
- Giant Forest Hog (dense forest, high mountains)
- Common Duiker (woodlands)
- Oribi (open grasslands, Ugandan)
- Klipspringer (steep, rocky hillsides)
- Bushbuck (forest animal)
- Sitatunga (swamp animal)
- Bongo (dense forests and mountains)
- Greater Kudu (thick bush and shrubs)
- Roan Antelope (slightly wooded areas)
- Sable Antelope (lightly wooded areas)
- Uganda Kob (Ugandan)
- Mountain Reedbuck (mountains)
- Bohor Reedbuck (swampy grounds)
- Tree Hyrax (rain forests)
- Aardvark (rare, nocturnal)
- Side Striped Jackal (rare)
- Common Jackal (northern Tanzania)
- Hunting Dog (endangered)
- Honey Badger (rare, nocturnal)
- African Civet (woodlands, nocturnal)
- Slender Mongoose (dense mountain forests)
- Aardwolf (Tanzania, Uganda, rare in Kenya)
- Caracal (rarely seen during daytime)
- Serval (lightly wooded regions)
- Greater Galago (northern Tanzania)
- Skyes Monkey (moist forests)
- Black and White Colobus (northern Tanzania)
- Lowland Gorilla (rainforests)
- Mountain Gorilla (mountainous rainforests)

Continue visiting this site as I will post pictures!

Porini - http://www.porini.com/
Safarilink - http://www.flysafarilink.com/

Posted by kgherde 13:44 Archived in Kenya Comments (3)

Thursday, July 8th

Somewhere in the bush, Kenya

sunny 68 °F

Hi.

I am posting for the second time today because we saw a lot of stuff since the last time I posted.

First, we took a walk with Issa and two Maasai warriors. We walked around and saw the Whistling Thorn Acacia, which you should probably look up on google because it is very interesting. There are a lot of little bulbs on it and each one has a lot of ants. It's hard to describe so you should just read about it. Then we were picked up in the car and as we were driving to the sunset area we spotted the two cheetahs that we saw earlier in the morning. They hadn't moved that much so James knew where they were. We took some pictures of them than headed to the sunset area.

We got out of the car and just as the sun went down we saw an exciting chase. There was a black-backed jackal chasing a two week old Grant's Gazelle. The gazelle ran literally 2 feet away from us. The mother eventually cut off the jackal and the baby got away safely.

Finally, on our drive back to the camp Issa spotted some cat eyes with the spotlight. We pulled into the grass and found out that it was a very large female lion. It got about 8 feet away from the truck. We got some good pictures, and then we came back to the camp and now it is now.

Bye!!

Posted by kgherde 19:37 Archived in Kenya Comments (4)

Thursday, July 8th

Somewhere in the bush, Kenya

semi-overcast 73 °F

Prepare for a very long post.

Note

I did not write last night because unlike the Amboseli, Rhino has active solar power rather than passive so it cannot store energy. The computer ran out of charge and I was going to call my mom to tell everybody via Facebook, but we ran out of minutes. What luck. So this post will be a catch-up on this afternoon, yesterday, and 2 nights ago, as well as some things I forgot to write earlier.

Forgotten Memories

I might keep this section here for whatever I forget to say.

So earlier at the Amboseli camp I forgot to write 2 things. The first was when we had a beautiful sunset behind a bunch of Acacia Trees over a dry riverbed. Everyone around me was drinking gin and tonic, but I just had to have some Sprite. We ran into many impalas and gazelles (Thomson's and Grant's) on our drive back.

Another thing I forgot was when we went to an African school. All African schools have grades 1 through 8. If anybody in my school is reading this you should appreciate how lucky you are. There are 6 rooms, 8 grades, and 300 kids. One desk has an average of 3 kids sitting at it. Yeah, I know, right? We are lucky. And guess what they have for lunch? They either have corn or beans. The same thing, every single day. Their school hours go like 7:00 - 12:40, 1:30 - 4:00, and then 7:00 - 9:00. So they have to come in to school late.

2 Nights Ago

OK. So after I wrote my blog 2 days ago, I had a very large surprise when we entered our tent. I was looking around and in my bed for any bugs, and just when I thought it was clear, I ran into something. An insect. It was sitting right next to the side of my bed. And it was a scorpion. You know, the things with those really big pinchers? And it was very late at night, so we had to grab a flashlight and have a Maasai warrior take care of it for us. He effortlessly grabbed the tail (the stinging part) and threw it out of our tent. I did not sleep that night.

Wednesday, July 7th

So yesterday, we had an early morning wake-up at 6:00. We had our usual Maasai hot chocolate, than had a 6:30 breakfast and said bye to our wonderful guides and staff. Then we took an unusually cold drive to the airstrip where we said bye to Sarah and Ed, a nice pair of people we met at the camp. We then got onto the airplane, which seated 15 people, than arrived at Wilson Airport in Nairobi; after a small wait and some confusion, we got on to the next plane which took us to Nanyuki, the spot of the Rhino camp.

There we met our guides Duncan and James, who promptly took us to the Ol Pejata Conservacy, a 90,000 acre area kept for wildlife safety. We first ran into a family of Black Rhinoceros (there are only 550 left in the entire world). We also spotted animals like African Elephants, Common Ostriches, Elands, the Jackson's Hartebeest, and the rare Grevy's Zebra. Finally, we arrived at the camp. It is a bit closer to society than the Amboseli camp, but this place has less bugs, so the good comes with the bad. After getting to know Paul, the camp's manager, we settled in Tent No. 3 which had the exact same arrangement as the previous camp, with different colors and furniture.

After a little rest, we had some lunch and rested in our camp a bit more. Soon, Duncan and James came to take us on a ride to meet Batian, the Wildlife manager of the whole conservancy and the head of the white rhino program. We hopped into his car and took a ride to the rhino park. We then met Baracka (no, he was not named after Obama), a fully tamed, fully blind Black Rhinoceros. I got to feed it sugarcane, and then we went to see the Northern White Rhinos. We saw 2 of the 8 remaining Northern White Rhinoceros in the entire world. I got some great pictures.

Then, eventually we had to go home. After spotting many Warthogs, as well as some hippos, we stopped for a sunset. I had some Coke, as we watched the sun go down. Then we finally headed out on our way home. On the way back, Duncan spotted eyes with the spotlight. Cat eyes. So James did some off-roading, and eventually ran into Africa's most elusive, hard to find animal, the Leopard. A nocturnal animal, the Leopard hides in trees most of the day and only comes out in late hours. Even then, they are hard to find. We were informed that our spotting was only the third time since this camp had been established, which is amazing. After tracking it down a bit, we drove back home.

We then had a delicious fish dinner, and went to bed. The beds were absolutely amazing and they had hot water bottles that kept us warm. It was pretty hard to fall asleep, though, as the wind was so bad it kept pounding on our tent and making so much noise. Eventually I fell asleep though.

Today

After our 6:30 wake-up and hot chocolate, we had a nice scrambled egg breakfast with a Scottish - Malaysian couple and head off on an early morning drive. On our way to the chimp house, however, we ran into another rare sight. At about 6:45 AM, our warm awakening was the spotting of two Cheetahs in broad daylight. They were literally 2 feet away from my face. I got amazing pictures and video of them walking around. We then arrived at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where 42 chimps who were either abused or taken as pets. We spotted 8, and you have no idea how amazing they were. They acted exactly like humans. They sat criss-cross-applesauce and itched their ears and stuff. I only remember 4 names, Zee, Aleka, Joy, and Edward. We then gave a donation and headed back.

After spotting many more animals, such as elephants, hippopotamus, the Souther White Rhinoceros and the elusive Steinbok (which is the Rhino alternative to the Amboseli Dik Dik), we arrived home, had a pork chops lunch and I am here now.

So that should be a good enough update! Hopefully I will get to post tonight. If not, you can expect one tommorow night.

Bye!

Posted by kgherde 14:19 Archived in Kenya Comments (5)

Tuesday, July 6th

Somewhere in the bush, Kenya

sunny 69 °F

Hi guys!

Today was not exactly an interesting day, but we got a lot of much needed rest nonetheless.

Today started off with a 6:30 wake up, where a Maasai warrior greated us with hot chocolate and coffee. Following that at 7:00 we got into our Jeep and were taken away on another game drive. We spotted animals like Gerenuks, Grant's Gazelles, and a few Maasai Giraffes. Later, as another surprise, we arrived at a secluded treehouse-like setup where we ate breakfast. We had a nice view, overlooking an amazing sight - a lone Wildebeest leading a whole herd of Zebras. It was quite a sight.

We returned home where we got some much needed rest. After a few minutes, we had Pork lunch, and then continued to wait. During our 3 hour layover, I packed my bags in preparation of the flight to Wilson.

So after about 3 hours at 5:00, once again Dominic and Jonah took us on a game drive. As another slight surprise, we picked up a Maasai lion tracker. He used some antenna machine to track chipped lions.

After about an hour's drive through thorny offroad bushes, we came across a magnificent sight. Two african lions, sitting near each other, only 20 yards away, the only thing between us a thin tree. We took few pictures, most of which were low quality, except for a few which are about mid-quality.

We then chased two black-backed jackals down the road (caught on video), then arrived at camp just in time to dance with the Maasai staff of the camp.

Finally, we had our lamb dinner and that leads me to now.

Amboseli Porini Camp thanks: Dominic for being a great knowledgable guide as well as being very warm and funny, Jonah for being so smart as well as a great jokester, Tony for being so accomodating and friendly, the chef for making amazing food, the waiters who were so prompt, and everyone else who made our stay so amazing.

Tommorow we wake up at 6:00 AM and arrive at Porini Rhino Camp at 12:45.

Bye!

Posted by kgherde 22:08 Archived in Kenya Comments (4)

Monday, July 5th

Somewhere in the bush, Kenya

semi-overcast 63 °F

Hello world!

Continuing from last night's adventures, after my post we quickly hopped into an unexpected 4x4 drive and were taken to the nearby airstrip to get a view of the cheetahs. After a short drive, we got an amazing view in the dark of a mother and her cub. They eventually left, though. It was absolutely amazing the way that they looked and how sleek they walked.

We got home and ate pork chops as well as other food, and then we went to bed. The beds were really comfortable, but sometimes it got really loud. For example, stupid bugs would keep flying against our tent and smack themselves into the netting. Also, a really loud bird called a Crested Bustard chirped and chirped like an alarm for hours, almost 3, in which I slept in none of them.

Today was not as exciting with animals as the previous days were. We went out on a morning walk after a bacon, sausage, egg, and toast breakfast. We spotted a herd of zebras where at least 30 tried to cross the street, as well as a flock of 15 ostriches sprinting through the fields. After about a 3 hour walk, we arrived back at our tent for lunch. We met some fellow campers and talked for a while.

After about an hour of rest at "home", we hopped into the Jeep 4x4 and were escorted again by Dominic and Jonah to a nearby dry riverbed. There, we exited and met 10 Maasai warriors who took us on a guided walk to the Maasai village. There we met many children who were fascinated when I showed them pictures of themselves. We then watched a cultural Maasai dance. After that, we were picked up and taken to an odd location. We did not understand what was going on.

We arrived at a sandy lot with a fire, many chairs, two dinner tables, stoves, etc. Everything you would need to eat. So after figuring out we were at a forward base, I kept saying how awesome it was that we were all the way out here. That is when Grandma asked me if I wanted to write my blog. Then I said, "There is no computer," and she said, shocked, "why not???" and then I said "because we are not at camp." Then she looked around and finally took in all the scenery and was absolutely amazed. I will never forget that expression.

We had a great dinner with lots of talking and conversing, then the food was all gone and we finally got back into the Jeeps and got back to our regular camp.

So here I am! I advise you to visit the Porini and Gamewatchers Safaris websites because they have done so much for us and have been totally amazing.

Posted by kgherde 23:41 Archived in Kenya Comments (6)

Sunday, July 4th

Somewhere in the bush, Kenya

semi-overcast 73 °F

HI!

I took more than enough pictures today.

Again, happy birthday Mom!

Our day started off with a 5:00 AM wake-up call, where we then got dressed and got room service breakfast at 5:10. I had a tradional British breakfast (2 eggs, 2 sausages, bacon, baked beans [weird, huh?] and mushrooms [weird, huh?]) and then we met Johnson who took us on a drive to the airport. There was no traffic, so we arrived at about 6:00 AM. We checked in at 6:15, and waited until customs was ready for us at 7:20. We drove to customs and were checked in (apparently they had to search my bag because they saw a knife - that was weird) at 7:30. We finally got on our delayed plane flight at 8:25. We took off at about 8:30. Yep, busy morning.

The plain flight was beautiful, though. We flew over deep valleys and got a great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We finally arrived after a 45 minute flight to the airstrip in Amboseli National Park. We hopped off the plane and met Jonah and Dominic. They took us on an amazing guided tour. If you ever get Jonah and Dominic for a tour and you ask a question, expect to be pulled over and get a long knowledgeable answer.

Whenever we passed an animal, be it bird, mammal or reptile, we would pull over in our green 4x4 and be given an interesting story about it's name, what it meant, how it lives, what it eats, etc. etc.

We first saw a whole group of flamingos, at least 200. The big pink birds were beautiful and graceful as the flew and landed effortlessly. We also ran into some Egyptian Geese and some African ducks. After the main water part, we drove and spotted many elephants. A family of at least 20 was litterally feet from our Jeep. I just could not believe how close they were. We watched them bathe and interact with each other. We continued our trip, spotting gazelles, zebras, and the almighty Cape Buffalo. Did you know that buffalo kill more humans than any other animal in the world? Yes sirree, they are dangerous. Especially in packs of 20, like we drove by.

We also had a beautiful picnic lunch on the base of the Observatory Hill, which overlooks the whole park. There was good food and great views. I took a long panoramic video showing the beautiful green marshes full of water and hippos.

The highlight would have had to be the family of three lions. One female and two babies of at least 4 years. Dominic spotted them from a distance, and while we stared we attracted a crowd. Soon 5 4x4s were staring down the lions. Later, a few hyenas moved in and the lions migrated to less annoying and stinky grasses. The next highlight would have to be, as we drove down on our way to the exit, we spotted a flat dry strip of land with 2 hyena dens. Outside sat 3 baby hyenas, 2 of one years and one of less. We got adorable picures of them together. We finally left the park, and on our long drive to the camp, we spotted some Dik Diks, the world's smallest antelope.

After passing Jackals, a feeding giraffe and grazing zebras all less than a mile from our camp, we arrived.

Our eco-friendly camp is amazing, but I will write more later. Dinner is soon!

Bye!

Happy birthday Mom!

Posted by kgherde 19:14 Archived in Kenya Comments (4)

Sunday, July 4th

Nairobi, Kenya

overcast 71 °F

Happy birthday Mom!!!

Posted by kgherde 05:11 Archived in Kenya Comments (2)

Saturday, July 3rd

Nairobi, Kenya

overcast 70 °F

Hi people!

~ I got plenty of pictures and videos today. ~

Today's events were absolutely amazing! We visited the Karen Blixen Elephant Orphanage, the Giraffe Sancturay, the Karen Blixen Museum (from the movie Out of Africa) and the Nacional (Yes. It is spelled like that) Museum Snake Park.

We started the day off with a loud wake-up call at 7:30 in the morning. That woke me up, so I changed and we got ready to meet with Mohanjeet, the man who organized our whole trip. So we met downstairs in the lobby for coffee and hot chocolate. He explained to us what was going to happen and about our camps, etc. He also informed us that at the Porini Rhino Camp the nearby area is home to 4 of the 8 remaining critically endangered Northern White Rhinoceros in the whole world (including zoos).

We had a rushed breakfast, as we couldn't take too long or we would be holding up our driver. We met our very nice, smart and social driver Peter who would be helping us from the morning until 5:00 PM (about 10:00 AM in Michigan). He first took us on a long, traffic-filled drive to the Karen Blixen Elephant Orphanage.

The orphanage was absolutely amazing. We arrived late due to traffic, but spotted the baby elephants on their way out. After that, larger elephants came to visit us. Most of these elephant's parents where poached or starved. There were 5 elephants and 10 large baby bottles with 5 men. Each elephant ran to a different man and drank 2 large milk-filled baby bottles. They then socialized and bathed in dirt and showed us how they used their trunks, by spraying water. I got to touch one, and its skin was quite rough. They had to leave eventually, and once they were taken away we were driven to the Giraffe Sanctuary.

At the giraffe sanctuary, we entered and immediately were confronted with 3 giraffes, 1 being a baby. I was given a handful of food and decided to experiment with their tounges. So I stood back and put the food out and the giraffe's footlong tounge stretched out and grabbed it. I got another handful and fed the baby. Then we watched as foolish tourists put giraffe food in their mouths to see if the giraffe would kiss them. 4 more of the rare Rotschild giraffes roamed in the background, as well as a scavenger Warthog which would walk on his knees (captured in a picture).

We then arrived at the Karen Blixen museum, right during the middle of an African wedding. We decided to stop our tour and take a look. We watched as 5 Mercedes-Benz pulled in with a Range Rover in the middle. Then, from underneath at least 20 white tens, came Africans towards the Range Rover, singing (caught on video). Then the bride hopped out of the car in the beautiful white dress and was immersed in traditional African song. It was an overall amazing experience. After that, we took another look at the museum of Karen Blixen, and then we took another drive to the Nacional Museum Snake Park.

The Snake Park was an absolutely awesome experience. We had a tour guide who took as around the museum where we saw various reptiles and fish. We saw Africa's most poisonous snake, one of the biggest catfish I have ever seen, and one of the biggest snakes I have ever seen. We also viewed animals like Softshell Turtles and Tortoises. We compared differences between the American Alligator and the Nile Crocodile. Finally, our guide pointed out a 12-year old baby crocodile. Did you know that a crocodile's after lifespan is 90 years?

And that leads us to here. We did run into a small twist, though. Our driver called the company and it turns out that instead of a four hour 4x4 drive on crowded streets, we will be taking a much shorter flight over all the traffic to our next cam,p arriving with a lot more time to spend in the area.

Bye!

Posted by kgherde 17:17 Archived in Kenya Comments (4)

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