Trip Start Nov 02, 2008
14Trip End Nov 16, 2008
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Holy moly was it amazing. We started out the day seeing more elephants and zebra - hundreds and hundreds of them. At one point we stopped in the way of a young male elephant trying to pass the road. He trumpeted at us, flared his ears, did #1 and #2 (very impressive volume) and then stormed off behind us. I think we took about 300 elephant photos today, many with young baby elephants and some from as little as >10 feet away.
We drove through a "swamp" area that resembled more of a marsh or wetlands areas to us and saw hundreds of zebra, elephants, water bucks and warthogs all cooling themselves with a little swim. The water was a couple of feet deep and covered in some kind of grasses so the elephants would just grab huge chunks of sod with their tusks and throw it at themselves. The zebra were lying on their backs rolling from side to side to scratch and get cool in the mud... it was amazing. We also saw mongoose and another 100 kind of different birds. This was right up Jenn's alley but I was ready for some predators.
We picnicked at a site just above the swamp and had quite a lunch show with all the animals below. That afternoon, we drove for some time just ahead of an oncoming storm until we happened upon a pride of thirteen female lions. They were all lying casually, some on their backs just enjoying the shade they found beneath the two acacia trees. A mother, who was tagged with a GPS collar, would occasionally get up to play with her two cubs but that was all they had in mind for the afternoon... until a single young male elephant came charging up behind the pride, trumpeting flaring his ears the whole way. He was full of piss and vinegar and was out to prove how tough he was. This was quite fortuitous for us as he drove the lionesses directly towards our trucks. All thirteen casually walked around the defenders, some lying down right in the middle of the path in front of the cars. They found safe spots until they realized they were being driven into another male elephant's grazing area. Some more trumpeting followed by the roar of a lion (a sound I will never forget) and the all decided it would be better to avoid one another. All I know is that we took 189 photos in that 45 minutes and they are amazing. I couldn't contain myself, I climbed out onto the rear roof of the defender to take photos - at one point I was 6 feet from a huge lioness staring me in the eyes... it was epic. I can't wait to share the pictures.
As we were driving back to camp, passing another few hundred elephant, we drove up to a young boy walking alone on the path. It turns out that the young boy was a messai and by pure luck, that was one of the three languages our guide spoke. The boy had gotten lost from his brothers while looking for firewood in the park and night was rapidly approaching. We actually had to pick him up and deliver him to a range station as our guide was afraid he would be vulnerable to the big animals... talk about dose of reality. Our guide gave the young boy a ride back to our camp and the park rangers picked him up a little later.
Another great dinner with the group - everyone is really getting comfortable around each other and we all shared a few glasses of wine and compared out lion and elephant stories. We got over the awkward Obama celebration this morning when several of our companions were hugging and cheering and moved on to a safer dinner discussion topic... religion. So, night one was politics. Night two was religion... what does that leave for night three? I'm not sure but I'll stick to my red wine and discussions on the benefits of a true free market economy, Economics always has a way of bringing sanity and pragmatism back to any conversation... well, true until we start talking about sharing the wealth based on need vs. ability, I suppose... hahhahahha. Enough of that.
Tomorrow we are off to Gibbs farm - a resort, of sorts, in the middle of the African bush. Apparently their vegetable gardens and bird sanctuaries are legendary so Jenn is excited. I heard they have wireless internet so I'm just hoping to upload a few photos!
Anyway, all is exceptionally well and we continue to have an amazing trip.
BJ & Jenn