Day 16 The MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE

We leave Arusha with our Rhino Safari Kenya game drivers, heading out to the southeast Mara.  We’re hoping to see herds of Wildebeests and Burchell’s Zebras.  If we’re lucky we’ll even see some of the famed crossings of the crocodile-infested Mara River along the way.

Out on the Mara we first see some gentle Twiga brothers—Swahili for giraffe.

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They begin play-fighting.  Their “necking” goes on for quite a while…

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Swinging heads and bumping shoulders.  They are acting like adolescent boys.
Suddenly a mature male appears and it seems both youngsters are put on notice. 

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As he walks over to them, the adolescents lower their heads and act “contrite”…behavior much like that of a scolded dog…until he finally walks off.   Then it all begins again.  Adult giraffe use their heads like mallets, swinging their neck to explode their head on a competitor.  The one on the right is practicing his moves as he harasses his brother.  Ah, children!

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Continuing into the Mara, we are seeing huge herds of zebra and wildebeest moving across the savanna.  A very good sign a river crossing may be in the cards.  

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There are many predators and prey on the Mara now.  This tree, filled with White-backed Vultures, is testament to the constant cycle of life and death here.   They mass, waiting for their next opportunity.

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As a quiet  prelude to the mayhem to come, a giraffe calmly chews an acacia branch. 

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Rupple’s Griffon Vultures also mass in tree tops.

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As we wait, hot air balloons materialize over the horizon and move toward us.  A full compliment of early morning sights and sounds.

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We pass cheetahs waiting in the shade

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And find three lions stalking a mixed herd of wildebeest and zebra.

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Suddenly, on the back side of the brush, we hear an animal’s heart-wrenching bleat and a lion’s roar.   Rushing around the thicket, we find a magnificent male lion and his zebra kill. 

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We are first on the site but other cars soon arrive.  The lion is very near the road and he is not happy to have people nearby.  He proceeds to drag the kill across the road, between the cars, to the protection of the bush.

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This is hard work even for the massive lion. 

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In his hurry, the zebra entrails fall out,  Leaving a feast for the waiting vultures.  Something for everyone.

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We pass a large herd of elan as we head back to camp.

Our tented lodge is at the Sarova Mara Game Camp.

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These are “tents” because they have canvas sides.  They have a full roof, wood floor, large bed, furniture and a complete bath.  (Picture “Out of Africa.” )  Plus we again have safe, excellent food where we can eat salads, vegetables, and order drinks with ice. This is luxurious camping!

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We will stay here another day and see what the Mara offers us tomorrow.

 

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