The BIG FIVE in Kenya – We Saw Them ALL!
It’s 6am and I am sitting in bed admiring the view in from of me. A group of Zebras just walked by the tent. I find that many of the animals are very curious of us.
Yesterdays afternoon Safari was a true adventure. First of all the skies were threatening, the winds picked up and the dust and sand was flying. At times we were in a dust storm.
Our driver was on the hunt for a leopard so we traveled through thick, scrub land where the bushes were often as high as our vehicle.
Of course we had many terrific wildlife sightings on the way including the Nile Crocodiles which are the largest in the World – they were right next to a number of storks – but I didn’t see any babies…. There were many elephant family’s, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, waterbucks to greet us along the way.
Without warning our driver sped up the vehicle and we were justhanging on. I didn’t know if he was trying to quickly get back to the resort for dinner or what? All of a sudden we saw a couple other safari vehicles stopped under a tree and our he then told us that there had been a LEOPARD sighting. You could just feel the excitement rise. Leopards are the hardest animal to find and I’ve never seen one during past Safaris.
When we arrived the leopard quickly jumped out of the tree and dashed. I struggled to get a picture but there was no time. It headed into an adjacent bolder rock-filled gulley. It was dusk and was getting darker after every minute. We headed to the other side of the gulley and all we could see was the leopards tail between two rocks. We waited and waited – was it going to come out of its hiding spot? We were lucky – it climbed up on a large rock but was somewhat hidden with brush. With light fading it was a struggle but I nabbed a great picture of the leopard with my camera and I will post it when I get back to Canada.
That sighting was definitely the climax of our incredible day!
This morning we head south to another animal reserve. Our driver/guide told us that we should easily spot the rhino and buffalo there – if we are that lucky we will see all of the Big 5 on this tour – that doesn’t often happen. We have spotted the most difficult ones already – Lion and Leopard. Once we have spotted all of the “Big 5” the next goal will be to see how many of the “Little 5” we can see (I had not heard of the Little 5 before).
We experienced a storm with heat lightening during the night. The current drought is killing some animals so this rain is welcome.
I had some excitement this morning – opened my tent door and there was a snake welcoming me to the beautiful morning. If you read my past blog posts you know that I can handle a leopard but snakes are a different story….
We enjoyed our morning drive South to the Sweetwater Reserve which sits right on the the equator.
A stop was made at one of the very expensive local souvenir shops – it was packed with stock but we didn’t see anyone making any purchases, once again ridiculous prices….
I had arranged a “Travel With Bradley Surprise” stop at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club which is now a Fairmont property. We were taken on an official tour of this famous property. The grounds were stunning with flowers everywhere and there is a Jack Nicholas Golf Course. We all bought things in their gift store which was terrific.
When we arrived at the Sweetwater Camp we quickly freshened up in our tents and then came into the Club House for lunch. The club house is beautiful and the lunch was delicious. Our tents overlook the reserve and there is a water hole where animals come to drink. . Our tent looks much more like a tent than the last camp but there is a carpeted floor, comfy beds, nice size washroom sit separate shower and commode areas.
The night is cooler so hot water bottles have been delivered to keep our beds nice and toasty.
After lunch it was time for our Safari. This is private reserve owned by a lady from England.
First we visited the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Compound. Chimpanzees are not native to this area but Jane protects them so that is the reason for the sanctuary. Our guide was very passionate and we learned the Chimps are not part of the monkey family but the gorilla family.
We then traveled throughout the reserve – unlike the last one when traveling through this reserve you must stay on the roads but that did not affect us from seeing the Buffalo and Rhino (they are both vegetarian) – we have now completed seeing the BIG FIVE. The Big Five are the most dangerous – Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and the Lion.
During todays game drive we also saw a Hyena, just a stones throw from us sitting on a big rock and a heard of 19 Elephants (the largest group we have seen together) plus the special Zebra that is common in this region (wider stripes).
Dinner was beautiful – the dining room looked so elegant with candles lit. They served us carrot soup and then we helped ourselves to the bountiful nicely presented buffet – was a class act.
Tomorrow we hit the road again – we will be at our next camp at noon and that then we are off on a water safari – I have a feeling we will see hippos!