Monday, August 9, 2010

Jambo Amboseli...

So as promised, I'm finally getting around to sharing some highlights from our trip to Kenya last month. Unlike our South Africa trip, this one was all about the safari. We traveled to two different areas: Amboseli and Masai Mara. First things first, our few days in Amboseli…

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We flew into Nairobi first, getting in very late at night. I'm not usually concerned much about safety while traveling - I tend to think most places are generally safe if you keep your wits about you - but while doing my normal research I learned about some disturbing things about the Kenyan capital. I won't lie - it gave us pause as to whether we should go - but on second thought we decided it was going to be now or never so we booked. As a result, we didn’t plan in any extra time to see the sights of Nairobi so I don't have anything to show you. Maybe that was a mistake but I'll never know.

First thing the next morning we made our way to Wilson airport to take a small plane to Amboseli. In the tiny shop near the taxi areas, there was a shop that had plenty of liquid courage on sale for the weak of heart.

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Here I am right before I said my ritualistic Our Father and Hail Mary's before take off. Notice how tight I am clutching my purse. (You might also notice my new haircut - what do you think?)

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Finally we landed safely. Phew.

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It was time to get the camera out and ready to go. Yes, those are a pile of animal bones laying near the sign. I was duly impressed. We were on safari! Hooray!

First stop would be where we called home for the next couple of nights, Tortilis Camp.

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Tortilis Camp Lobby, Watering Hole (viewed from lobby), Exterior and Interior shots of our "tent"

At this point it was about time for lunch and we got to taste something out of this world delicious: Banoffee Pie. I had never heard of it before but we were sold after the first bite. The managers were nice enough to give me the recipe (I'll be sharing it and photos later this week). Ok, enough about the pie, its time for animals!

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One of my first favorite photos from the trip. Its amazing just how many animals look you straight in the face. Kind of surreal.


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Amboseli is most famous for their elephants. One morning we got to see a huge herd feeding on the pan. It just so happened that the only other vehicle there was that of famous wildlife photographer Nick Brandt (check out some of his fabulous work here). As you can easily see, an amazing talent but does not play well with others. I thought he was going to have a coronary the way he was huffing and directing us to vacate the area as if we didn't have a right to be there as well. Manners are clearly not something he has mastered. Out of respect for his art, we didn’t stay that long but long enough to get some decent snaps of my own.

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One afternoon right before sunset we got to see a pride of lions waking up for the evening. They were still a bit sleepy but not at all shy.

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We got to see the sun setting behind them - just beautiful.

We also got to see plenty of less scary animals. I was in love with the Ostrich - so gangly and huge but fast and beautiful at the same time. I call this one Manage a tois...

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And a few other favs...

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Last but not least we got a few glimpses here and there of the local people. Like this young boy who was tending a herd (our ranger stopped to ask him if he had seen any cheetah around) or an older boy tending his grazing goats and this mother and child walking past camp.

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And in a flash it was time to pack up for our flight to the Masai Mara. More on that in a future post.

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