Amboseli – a perfect mix of culture and wildlife

on Wednesday, 30 June 2010. Posted in Kenya, 2010, Amboseli

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After a night spent in Nairobi at the wonderful Ngong House, the Pressman family and myself jumped aboard our private charter to Amboseli National Park. Our first sightings from the plane were some zebra and hartebeest streaming across the open savannah. On landing we met Joe, my co-guide, and our trusty landcruisers and we made the short trip to our private luxury mobile camp. The first thing Emily said to me was are there any giraffe in the region. As if by chance and around the corner was a journey of 9 of these elegant animals passing through the scrub browsing acacia trees on their way.

Our camp had been set up the day before so when we arrived everything was perfect. We settled in and had a lovely lunch as a herd of wildebeest nonchalantly wandered through the long grass in front of our main dining tent. A siesta was in order before we headed out on a game drive. Expectations are always high on safari in East Africa and we were fortunate enough to catch a brief glimpse of a cheetah only 10 minutes down the road. Our private concession area has a very low impact from tourism as we are the only ones who go there so the animals are certainly not habituated and this lone female slunk through the undergrowth and disappeared. It was a cheetah sighting nonetheless. With baboon, warthog, zebra, wildebeest, Grants and Thomsons gazelle, it was a great start. We pulled out the spotlight for the short ride back home and came across 3 African wild cat before arriving back in time for a hot safari shower and a sumptious dinner under the starlit sky.

The early bird catches the worm, so a sunrise start the next morning was on the cards. We were not disappointed. A herd of 80 elephant brushed past our vehicles on the edge of Amboseli lake bed while some buffalo watched on in the distance. In the swamp was a dead hippo being fed upon by several spotted hyena who kept submerging trying to bite into the softer meat. After a bush breakfast under the shade of a huge Tortilis tree we were due at the Maasai school and village but not before we found a big male lion. He had been in the wars and although healthy had many a scar and an open gash on his hind leg. Competition for territory in the area is tough and this old guy had done the rounds!

The afternoon was full of colour – the Maasai came to visit, all beautifully clad in their red ‘shukas’. I decided we needed to have a bit of extra fun and interaction so we had the Maasai Olympics. With spear throwing, ‘rungu’ hurling and the 100 metre dash we saw a great spirit, competitiveness and friendship within the Maasai as all winners were congratulated with shakes of the hands and pats on the backs. Ron, Ned and Graham joined the running race but could not keep up with the locals!

Loisaba is our next stop.

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