Category Archives: Kenya

2011: A Year in Review

When I think back on 2011 it will undoubtedly go down as the year where I did more in 12 months than most people do in a lifetime.  If I didn’t personally already defend a thesis, become a published author, move to a different country, and explore 20 countries on 4 continents along the way I would accuse myself of lying because I’m tired just thinking about it.  But I apparently did because I lived through all of it! Continue reading

Photo Essay: Nairobi Elephant Orphanage

Anyone who visits Nairobi will tell you that it’s not a very interesting city, but the one exception to this for me was the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage on the outskirts of the city. In short this is where orphaned elephants from all around Kenya come when their mother dies of disease/ is poached/ the little one falls down a well, and after three years at the orphanage the little guys are released back into the wild to various elephant herds. The orphanage is open each day from 11am-noon and costs something on the order of US$5, so well worth it as this was perhaps the cutest thing I’d ever seen!

Pictures so you can see for yourself- all set to the tune of Henry Mancini’s Baby Elephant Walk. Continue reading

Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Lake Nakuru is a tiny little national park in Kenya that took a half day to game drive.  Never saw any big cats here (though there’s the highest concentration of leopards here apparently) and part of the lack of animal spotting was due to a giant brushfire that had swept through a large part of the park a few months prior and unfortunately killed much of the wildlife.  But here is a short overview in light of it being a short game drive-

Flamingos in the lake- lots of birdlife in this park! There were a lot more flamingos, and even pink pelicans and storks and assorted other creatures, but this is my most “artsy” shot and hence the one you guys get to see. *wink*

The biggest safari moment for me however were the rhinoceroses- we saw eight of them in the park,  and many were very nearby just like in this shot!  The first thing you learn about safaris is you never see rhinos- they’re very rare due to poaching and are shy so they often keep away from the roads and all you see is a rock-like thing in the distance someone assures you is a rhino.  Seeing eight rhinos is already more than I’ve seen in all my years of safari-ing, so trust me when I say this is a big deal.

Neat little park, only a few hours drive from Nairobi.  Certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Masai Mara Safari

Posted from Jinja, Uganda- the source of the Nile!!!

The Masai Mara is essentially the Kenyan Serengeti- all that divides the two is an arbitrary line and a multi-hour journey via Nairobi unless you are some sort of non-human animal. Amazing stuff out there though, and here is a small fraction of what we saw-

Not one but two gigantic lion prides, and a lioness who was busy stalking her prey until the safari trucks cut in front of her (illegal but unfortunately common around here). I’ve never posted a picture of a male lion before though and this guy was so wonderfully lazy I can’t resist!

A hyena and a bunch of baboons and Maribu storks (closely related to their cousin in Europe who winter down here) checking out the food near a hotel’s compost heap. Not exactly natural, sure, but I love seeing multiple species together so here we are!

A cheetah panting in the midday sun as you surely would if YOU had to wear a winter coat in the middle of summer.  Such a beautiful creature, we were so lucky to get so close and share some time together (though he spent most of the time panting like a dog…).

The Masai Mara has th most giant hippo pools I have seen in my life.  You rarely see them out of the water in other parks because like us they can sunburn, but here it appears to be no issue.

This guy excited me because after this point new species are always exciting- a hyrax! This is doubly exciting actually because this rat-looking thing is actually the closest related relative to an elephant- I know, what?!- so they’re rather neat to see in order to contemplate the strangeness of evolution.  After all, whatever strange beast thought to give us the elephant gave us the hyrax, and what kind of world would we be in without that?

A bona-fide zebra crossing.  I really crack myself up sometimes.Last but not least, a whole mess of Masai giraffes.  We saw about 12 in this herd, two fighting each other and the rest just cruising through the underbrush with their heads sticking up like periscopes.  I’d never seen anything like it and that’s the great thing about safaris, you never run out of amazing things to see!