May 3, 2015, Detroit Airport Lounge
Introducing Girl Team Africa: (Top) Mary and Candace, (Below) Cassie and Georgia.
Sunday and Monday, May 3rr and 4th…….Complete Plane Blur
Slept, ate, slept and ate again. There is only so much one can do on airplanes for twenty four hours. Our first picture says it all, our troop (Mary, Cassie, Geogia and me) look relatively fresh at the airport in Detroit, the first leg of our trip complete. From that point on we looked a bit haggard from the three flights. But we survived the journey and after an easy passage through customs we were met by Patricia from Abercrombie and Kent who took charge of our tired souls and wisked us off to the Nairobi Serena Hotel, a four/five star beauty with lush vegetation surrounding the pool, bar, registration area and restaurant. We were greeted by the the sound of birds and frogs as we entered the lobby area. Totally exhausted we hit the bar, discussed plans for the next morning then spent our first night in Kenya worn out but happy, knowing this trip to Africa would be talked about for years to come.
Tuesday, May 5 , Heading Out, Safari Style, from the Nairobi Serena Hotel
Adventurous gals that we are, the next morning we decided not to partake of the Maisha Health Club and Spa at the hotel but to venture out from the city of Nairobi with our A & K Driver. Patricia had suggested a trip to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation center. With wildlife being kiilled at an alarming rate, the Orphan’s Project rescues baby elephants and rhinos, rehabilitates them for up to three years, then re-enters them safely with a herd and back into the wild.
At precisely 12:00 to 1:00 each afternoon ten to fifteen of these adorable baby elephants race to a roped-in area to be fed a special milk formula of emulsified vegetable oils with Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin C. After twenty eight years, Daphne Sheldrick, wife of David, succeeded in hand-rearing both elepants and rhinos with her own special formula. We left the orphanage and promised our support by adopting an elephant or rrhino when we return home. See the website if interested. (www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org)
Ostriches also wander the property. Here are two females I especially liked.
Hopping into our Safari Land Rover, our next visit was to the Giraffe Center. Another feeding frenzy; long snake like tongues attached to the head of several large white-socked Rothschild giraffes. As you can see, Ed had a bit of a thing for Georgia the moment she stepped into his line of sight. All of us were thrilled to be so close to these magnificent creatures, to touch and nuzzle them without fear. But as day tours go, we were on a time schedule. We were soon off to visit the Karen Blixen House, have a wonderful lunch in the garden, (see below) and discuss the movie Out of Africa with our guide. It was fun to be reminded of the Robert Redford/Meryl Streep movie filmed at this location. An end to a wonderful day.
Wednesday, May 6th….Moving Day, South into Amboseli National Park
Started the day with a hearty breakfast, a briefing of the days ahead, then it was off by Safari vehicle to the Amboseli National Park and the Serena Safari Lodge. Located to the south of Nairobi, the park is famous for “big game” and its unbelievable vistas of snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. There actually was some snow at the top of this 19,341 foot Uhuru Peak which is the highest point in Africa. See for yourself…….2 Pics from slightly different angles and different times of the day.
Amboseli National Park is home to many diverse species of animals and birds. Typical of the area are the Big Five”, coined by big-game hunters to include the African elephant, African lion, African leopard, the Cape buffalo, and the White/Black rhinoceros. All of these are found and protected at Amboseli. Should we be afraid? Yes a bit !! But we were very safe throughout this whole trip. Even when rounding the bend and encountering this fellow who was not happy we were so close to his family. Driver Clement saw quickly that we could be in danger. “Tis not good for us here,” he exclaimed as he stepped into high gear. We were whisked away but quick.
The rest of the day in Amboseli was filled with close encounters with wildebeest, baboons, elephants and the most incredible birds. Humphrey told a great story about the wildebeest which I gladly share. He said that God got tired after creating all of the animals and he came to his last one, the wildebeest. He was so exhausted that he threw together the best of each of the other animals/insects he had created. The head of the wildebeest really does look like a grasshopper, the tail looks like that of a horse; the horns, a buffalo, the legs, a gazelle and stripes of a zebra. We all laughed and from that point on could not look at this facinating creature who fools them all by migrating over hundreds of miles every year without a thought of being “thrown” together.
Two Nuzzling Wildebeest
Family of Crowned Crane
Mama and Baby Baboon
This was only our first few days in Africa. So much to see and do there. We were busy every minute with daily game drives , wonderful food, terrific guides and drivers that were concerned with both our health and our safety. Now that I am home from our adventure and I have fussed with computer issues and photo transfer, I will continue to share my pictures and my thoughts of this unbelievable trip should you be interested. I have chosen to provide the pictures in large format to give the true feeling of being as close to the animals and birds as we were. Enjoy !! Next is Lake Manyara, the Great Rift Valley and tree – climbing lions. Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome ….Candace M.