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
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 …

Piranha Fishing in the Pantanal

Of all the activities we completed in the Pantanal, river floating, games drives, hiking, and horseback riding, Piranha fishing might have been the most fun.  I really wanted to fish for Piranha simply to be able to say I’ve done it.  Ruth and Alice, the other girl on our tour were not sold on participating, especially when we saw locals standing chest deep in water fishing for these sharp toothed critters. Continue reading “Piranha Fishing in the Pantanal”

Game Drives in the Pantanal

We spent three days in the Pantanal at Pousada Piuval.  Our guides liked this 7,000 hectare ranch as it is home to the most jaguars at this time of year (which isn’t many) compared to the jaguar preserve that is not accessible at the end of the rainy season.  Anyway, that didn’t stop us from looking for them.  We took sunrise and sunset drives every day.  Most of the time we drove the few roads on the ranch, occasionally we tried a few fields that were still to wet, and we also went to the park. Continue reading “Game Drives in the Pantanal”

Blue Whales in the Arctic

We had one last night on the ship and were told we were in a good place for whale watching. A wake up call came over the loud speaker around 2 am; “I’m sorry to disturb, but there are three large whales on the starboard side of the ship.”

I thought to myself, I wish they announced what type of whale as I didn’t want to get up for a humpback to view in the distance when I have snorkeled with them.

A little while later, we heard over the loud speaker, “We believe these are blue whales.” Continue reading “Blue Whales in the Arctic”