Friday, 19 December 2008 It was an incredible night's sleep. I slept better than I ever slept in years and this was among the lions roaring, monkeys screaming, bats flapping their wings, owl sounds etc. At first, I was a bit taken by lions' roaring but later I got used to it and had a very comfortable and good sleep.
As the sun was rising, F. woke me up so that I could watch the colours of the sky turning from red to pink to yellow. We could watch the dawn right in front of our eyes from our bed. It was very romantic.
As the sun rose, the heat increased. I realised that I can now easily distinguish the sounds of the animals. And this is really heaven for a musician. Even I came up with melodies and rhythms from the animals’ sounds. What one can learn has no limit. This journey is the proof. We went on safari at lunch time thinking that we could perhaps see the lions again but we were not as lucky as last night. But this time, we saw plenty of baboons.
I also learnt that the dust tunnels, which look like twisters are not caused by animals but the poles. They are called Devil's Dust.
Now we are very close to the equatorial line. Both the North and the South Pole pull the forces to themselves and in the equatorial zone, because they cannot move to either side, these high and twisting dust tunnels form up. They can also bring news of the rain approaching. This morning, we spoke a bit more with the Masai who work at the lodges. They are all incredibly beautiful, handsome, tall, slim and fit. Their skin is flawless. Men can marry as many women as they like but the parents select the spouses. For dowry, the man's family has to give 8 cows or 10 thousand sugar canes to the woman's family. Because of their religion, they don't eat wild animal meet but they eat bull, mutton etc. I guess starting today, the lodges' guests will increase. We will no longer be the only ones here unfortunately. ... We come across different experiences at the safaris every day. Today, we saw giraffe, 12 ostriches, an animal called Janet, which is a like a miniature version of racoon, rabbit, warthog, and an antelope in the size of a baby gazelle bravely protected his home and his wife from us (they remain monogamous all their lives). We also saw 4-5 Masai boys who have just been circumcised and who were on the hunt of lions to prove their manhood.
The termite hills were incredible; some of them can be as high as 2 metres.
We again saw sub-Sahara's heaviest (20 kg) bird, Cully Bustard today. We saw African fox and a small and striped wolf, which looks like a hyena.
One of the wolves projected some sort of liquid right in front of our eyes to mark his territory and leave his smell. We saw a type of bird, which flies 30 thousand feet high (higher than an eagle). But the most interesting part of this safari was again after the dark has completely settled in and when we found yesterday's lion, his wife and his wife's daughter from another lion. The guides thought that this daughter could have been the one in heat for the lion yesterday. If that is the case, it appears that this lion is loyal to his wife! Whilst we were watching the lions sleep in tranquillity, we suddenly noticed a big buffalo herd approaching from their eyes sparkling in darkness. The lions also noticed the buffalos and even though normally it is the lioness' job, the lion attacked the buffalos. But buffalos are animals that watch out for each other. So the buffalos started running towards the lions and chased them. Then the lioness got up and started running behind the buffalos with the lion. We followed them with our 4X4. Because the lion's hurt in his right leg, he was coming more slowly behind the lioness but at the end, they couldn't catch any buffalo.
We are very lucky to have witnessed such a chase. Though I was a bit upset for the lions who clearly had nothing to eat for days. It was very nice to see the lion helping his wife in the chase. It is said that Masai Mara is very touristy, commercial and crowded but Shampole is not like that at all. F. and I were completely alone in the wild with our two guides. This was really a once in a lifetime opportunity. By the way, I should write before I forget. In Swahili, "thank you very much" is "ashanti san", "you’re welcome" and "welcome" are "kapule." In the Masai language, "thanks" is "ashe kole." F. said something very nice today during the safari. He said that it is like playing hide and seek in a fantasy land. Very true! Wherever we go, behind bushes or trees, we look for exotic animals we could only dream of seeing in a zoo and we find them.
I forgot to write - we saw an animal, which looks like chicken and it is called Guinea Fowl. Its differences from a chicken are that the shape of their body is like a turkey (even though it is smaller) and that their head and body are covered with grey and black feathers.