Safari in the Masai Mara – Day 3

Morning Game Drive

On our third day in the Masai Mara National Reserve, we arose for another sunrise game drive with breakfast scheduled upon our return.  Always in need of food, I grabbed a hard-boiled egg for the 2-hour ride which could be longer if we stumbled across something cool.

GO ON SAFARI
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mama and baby leopard in the Masai Mara

Safari in the Masai Mara – Day 2

On our second day in the Masai Mara, our wake-up call, complete with coffee delivered to our rooms, came early.  It was still dark as we walked toward the jeep, thus the night watchman escorted us from our tents.  I asked if he saw any wild animals overnight, and he said he chased away some elephants.  Hmm, I don’t think I’d like that job. Hey enraged elephant and lurking leopard, shoo!  It was hard enough to keep the monkeys from visiting our tents.  More on that later.

GO ON SAFARI
cub playing with mama's tail in the Masai Mara

Safari in the Masai Mara – Day 1

So nine years ago, almost to the day, I went on a safari in Tanzania with some friends.  It had always been on my bucket list, but I would never sign up to go because I was afraid it wouldn’t meet my expectations if I didn’t see everything I’d hoped to see.

Our trip included driving from Arusha to Tarangire to Manyara to Ngorongoro Crater and to the Serengeti.  We literally saw just about all Africa had to offer: A cheetah kill an impala, a lion hunt, the wildebeest cross the river, the big five including the rare black rhino, and even three of the small five (which I didn’t know there was such a thing).

It was such an amazing experience that I have turned down Rootie’s invites to go on safaris ever since as I didn’t think it could be topped.  Then I realized, the safari in Tanzania was my all-time favorite trip, so why not go back.  And go back I did, this time to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya with Mike, Rootie, Rozy, Jake, and Martha.

GO ON SAFARI
elephant with sandy face

Orphan Elephants at Umani Springs

About Umani Springs

In a previous post about Nairobi, I mentioned the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust whose mission is to promote the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife and habitats across Kenya.  It is best known for its work with elephants by operating the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust houses the orphans at four locations: Nairobi Nursery, Ithumba Reintigration Unit, Voi Reintigration Unit, and Umani Springs Reintigration Unit.  It is possible to stay at the units.  As such, our group of six; Mike, Rootie, Rozy, Jake, Marty and I rented out Umani Springs for two days.

VISIT ELEPHANTS …
gorilla munching on leaves in rwanda

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

How to Get to Rwanda

While on safari in Kenya, we took a side trip to Rwanda for two days to see the mountain gorillas.  RwandAir offered a 5am departure from the Nairobi to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. 

The domestic portion of Nairobi’s airport isn’t anything to write home about. There was a bathroom without toilet paper, one café, and a small waiting area in the terminal.  The gate area required extra security, and once inside water and toilets were unavailable.

GO GORILLA TREKKING …
giraffe in Nairobi

Things to Do Around Nairobi

Nairobi

Getting to Africa from the United States is a trek, but once there it is a wonderful experience.  Even Nairobi, the capital of Kenya with a population of 6.5 million, has a lot to offer.  During our travels around Kenya as well as quick jaunt to Rwanda for a gorilla safari, we used Nairobi as a connecting base.  As such, we stayed in a few different places and visited a handful of sites, most of which were located in the Nairobi suburb Karen, named for Karen Blixen the renowned Danish author.

GO ON SAFARI …

3 Hikes on the West Side of Rocky Mountain National Park

I got lucky and Dan and Lori, who I housesat for in June, let me use their house in Grand Lake for a few days.  As such, I explored the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  This side is less crowded than the east side though it still attracts many visitors in search of moose.  It also features several long trails.  Below are three hikes in the 10-12 mile range.

GO HIKING …

The Sneffels Traverse – Day 4

Morning Coffee

Our fourth and final day on the Sneffels Traverse took us 8.1 miles from the Ridgway Hut to Ouray.  We skipped staying at Burn Hut for another night as it was only 4.1 miles away.  With the final hike being mostly downhill and not too long, we voted for a later start…8:30 am.

As usual, Tina was the first one up.  She turned on the propane and got the water boiling.  Normally, we would have left the propane on overnight, but there was a leak outside the cabin. Given a leak can cause an explosion and even emit carbon monoxide in certain instances, I, being the worry wart, turned it off.

GO HIKING …
blue columbine with blue lake in background

The Sneffels Traverse – Day 3

Wake Up Call

For our third day on the Sneffels Traverse, we planned a 6.6 mile side hike to Blue Lakes before trekking 5 miles to Ridgway Hut.  Due to speculative weather, we planned an early departure.  Tanya’s phone alarm rang at 5:15 am.  She was in such a deep sleep, she couldn’t even find it! 

I wish I could say the same.  I was up before my alarm.  Though it was kind of funny, when Tanya commented, “I’m used to Karla’s 14er hikes, when a chorus of phone alarms chime.” I know!  Fortunately, Tanya’s alarm worked for the whole cabin, and we began quietly preparing our day packs while waiting on the pot of water to boil for our much-needed tea and coffee.

GO HIKING …