Trip Start Nov 02, 2008
14Trip End Nov 16, 2008
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The morning started off as planned with breakfast followed by our goodbye "ceremony" where we thanked each of the camp staff and then presented the last with their gratuity. They packed up the land rovers and we were off. About 15 minutes after we left camp, someone in Jenn's and my car pointed to an animal laying at the base of the tree immediately ahead of us on the left. Come to find out, it was a three year old male lion, a lioness, and their very recent kill. They had taken a wildebeest recently and were enjoying their breakfast as we had in the not too distant past. The female became agitated by us and sauntered off about 30 meters into some trees. The male, bored with us, slowly stood, grabbed the gigantic wildebeest by its head (it was void of any intestines at this point) and dragged it with east towards the spot the female had picked out. They then resumed their protein rich morning snack.
It was amazing to watch the ecosystem that is nature in its fullest. While the lions ate, the jackals circled anxiously waiting for a moment where they could sneak in to grab a quick bite. Two huge hawks circled overhead, waiting for their turn. About 75 meters to the east, a flock of 15 ostrich huddled, waiting for the lions to finish and move on before they resumed their day. All in all, it was an amazing site to behold. At the time we were pulling up, I was actually on my blackberry sending a message about taking share form our competition. What an analogy! I emailed a good friend of mine at work who would understand and he replied with the best possible answer - send me a picture! On that note, we are at about a thousand for the trip thus far. We haven't been able to upload any yet but we will continue to try.
We drove approximately two hours to Gibbs Farm once we left the park. The drive was smooth as the highway was only 6 years old. We passed a small village where peoples form 35 tribes resided - apparently this is a heavily trafficked area by tourists and many have set up shops along the major routes to peddle their goods. I was able to start The Fountainhead on the way - Ayn Rand's forward was thought provoking by itself, I can't wait to get deeper.
We arrived at Gibb's Farm at 1:00 and were greeted with fresh rhubarb juice and hot towels. The porters took our bags to our room and, upon entry, we were simply blown away. This is truly a remnant of British colonial times. We have a private cottage overlooking the coffee fields and the vegetable farm, high on a hill. It has hard wood floors, a patio overlooking the fields, and it beautifully appointed with everything one would ask for in a 5 star NY hotel room. The bathroom has indoor and private outdoor showers (I don't think I will have that much wine, but you never know. I'm enjoying a fantastic South African cab as I write this blog!
Anyway, we took a walking tour of the grounds this afternoon - they called it a nature walk - and I can tell you one thing with confidence... whether in upstate NY, North GA or the middle of Africa, nature walks just suck. I was bored out of my mind for two hours. They did go over how they grow, pick, process and roast coffee beans which Jenn found somewhat interesting. I was busy trying to climb the elephant lookout tower. Apparently they get sick of eating acacia tree bark and like to try to sneak in to eat the fruit trees and cabbages. I do so love elephants.
Anyway, after the "awesome" walk in the woods, we headed back for hot showers and a little wine before dinner. I'm sure it will be amazing as the food at lunch was simply phenomenal. Oh, they actually had COLD beer vs. the room temperature Tusker we had been drinking in the field.
I am so excited for tomorrow as in the morning we are off to the lake nearby to see the hippo - not sure why but I am really fired up for them. We have the afternoon off so I am going mountain biking with one of our safari-mates while Jenn is contemplating a massage, a tour of the local village or just some quiet reading time overlooking the plantation.
More to come tomorrow - we could not ask for anything more thus far. I had to call Walter and tell him about the difference between our Kilimanjaro trek accommodations and what Jenn and I have experienced. All he could do was laugh.
BJ & Jenn