Monday, May 18, 2015

Kenyan Safari Part 2

So in case you missed the first part of my Kenyan Safari blog post, you can check that out here. And if you don't feel like reading it, it basically just says, Africa, animals, safari, blah blah. Pretty much exactly what this post is going to say (just be warned). Oh, and it was full of pictures of animals. Which again, this blog is going to also be full of pictures, but of some different animals. :)
These two beauties were our pals during our safari. Cheetahs are a lot smaller than you would think. Our guide told us that they are brothers, and we saw the pair of them on two separate occasions. This was my favorite interaction between the two - licking each others faces. So tender. :)
The ostriches were so strange to see in the wild. It just seemed so weird that there are actually birds out there walking around Africa. We saw about a dozen of them, and they just walked around calmly pecking at the ground. I wonder if lions eat them, or if it would be too much of a hassle to sort through that many gigantic feathers. 
And it is not just ostriches that are huge. EVERYTHING is huge. They say that everything is bigger in Texas... well Texas has nothing compared to Africa... well except big humans and big mosquitos. Texas wins those two hands down. 
But seriously, how come animals are so big in Africa? Is it like the goldfish effect - bigger pond so bigger fish?  
I guess we also have big animals in the Americas, but they aren't as easy to spot. Grizzly bears, moose, and mountain lions live in the forest, so they aren't as easy to spot. We went absolutely crazy over the elephants when we first spotted them. They were so adorable, especially the babies as they followed the moms around, holding onto their tales with their trunks.  
Like I mentioned in the first part of this blog, there are the big five game animals in Kenya - and we got to see all five. The cape buffalo was great because it looked like it had pigtails. Aren't the horns so great? And of course, it had a little friend riding on its back, eating all of the bugs on it. We also saw a pair of lions our first day. A lioness and her teenage son. They were chilling in the shade (actually all the predators were all about the shade). 

There weren't just animals made famous in the Lion King either. There were a handful of crazy animals that we couldn't even handle. Like this bird on top of a tree. It looked like he was wearing a pair of black capris. We also saw animals called dik dik, which are like a mini little deer. Like really little. Almost the perfect size for your home.  Most of the time when I thought about an African safari, I focused on giraffes, elephants, lions, and zebras, but there are so many animals that we completely ignore.

 After the first day, I seriously felt like we had seen more than I expected. There are so many animals everywhere. It was a dream come true.  Sunset on the African savannah? Yes, please. 
And we were seriously exhausted after a full day of driving around. Ins't our ride the best? I loved having a pop-up top. We tried to stand up for a bunch of it, and some of our group even tried to go for a while without holding on. Very difficult... and dangerous. Those roads out in the bush are treacherous.  
On our second day, our van broke down. First day was a flat tire, second day was a... well we don't really know what happened. But we got to get out of the van and wander around a bit. Our driver didn't let us go very far, but we did manage to sneak a few jumps in.  
While we were stranded, Caitlin and Whitney even tried to herd some zebra. They didn't get super close (although they ran pretty hard toward them). I guess the zebra are used to escaping from oncoming predators.  
And it was March 14, so we had to take a picture with some sort of pie. We're not sure what type of animal this one came from, but it was the closest we could come to chocolate cream. Ew. Sorry, that was disgusting. But seriously, it was pi day. We had to do something to celebrate.  
One of our favorites were the warthogs. They were so much fun to watch. When they run, they put their tails straight in the air. Not sort of in the air, but like a car antenna in the air. And they tend to run in a straight line. It made me love Pumba so much more. 
We drove right into a herd of wildebeest. Those are some of the ugliest animals I've ever seen. Our guide said that they say it was the last creature that god made since it has parts from all other animals put together into one. He has buffalo horns, a tail like a lion, goat legs, zebra stripes, cows body, etc. They really are bizarre looking. And there were millions of them. Our guide had no fear and we drove right into the middle of the herd. It would have been crazy had they began to stampede - which we also saw one of those on our way out of the reserve on our last day. Thousands of wildebeest stampeding. They were a big ball of dust and loud clomping of hooves. We were driving parallel with a fence in between us, so we were safe. Still, it was pretty insane to see such a powerful group of animals.  
We also got to see a lion eating a wildebeest. It was absolutely disgusting, but so fascinating. While we were watching this lovely lady chow down on her lunch, we all of a sudden started driving away at top speed. Since we were all standing and taking pictures, we bounced around in the van while trying to find our seats. We kept asking where we were going, honestly thinking that we were going to watch another lion take down an animal. But it turns out that we were doing something illegal, and our guide had received a tip off on his CB radio that the game police were on their way over. So he told us that if anyone asks, we hadn't seen a lion. Ha! 
After a bit, we were able to go back and watch her gut this poor guy. It is really interesting, they rip out all the guts and eat those. I would've thought they would eat the muscles, but they favored the gizzards. Strange.  
We also saw more herds of elephants, and we even saw a jaguar (which is super elusive). He was up in a tree, but when we came close, he came down and ran through the grass to get away from us. We wanted to see him so bad, but he was on the shy side.  
We had the chance to see two male lions and a handful of lion cubs as well. These two put on quite the show when they decided to mate in front of us. They really had no shame. That is something none of us had on our safari bucket list, but something I don't think I will ever forget. I took a picture of it, but since I don't know the age of my blog viewers, I decided to omit it. Plus, I don't think Caitlin would be very happy to find it later. :)
And last for this blog, we saw hippos! Yes, they kind of look like a bunch of logs, but they are there. They are so big and kind of like pigs mixed with cows... but an African breed. They didn't move at all, and they didn't really make a lot of noise, but when they did move (one attacked another) it was super quick. And when they did make noise, it was kind of terrifying. Low and deep grumbles. Kind of like a pig/cow. Seriously, that is the best definition I can come up with. I didn't think I would be very impressed with these creatures, but they were one of the highlights of the trip for me. 

Anyway, that is where I'm going to leave off on this blog. Next time I'll talk about our time in the Maasai Mara village. 

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