Tuesday, 23 December 2008 Another eventful day! We started our safari (in Swahili it means "journey") at 6:30 in the morning. A leopard pulled a deer it had hunted right next to our tent and ate it. It was right next to us. We could hear the sounds it was making while eating. We were told that our camp was visited by elephants at dawn. During safari, we do not need play hide and seek with the animals here like in Shampole. Wherever you turn your head in Masai Mara, you can easily see a wild animal. So the first ones we saw in the morning were elephants. Old ones and babies included.
They are really very interesting animals. They look "ancient". I mean to say that they look like they are left over from millions of years ago. They live in family but the elders spend the last 10 years of their lives alone. When they die, the other elephants mourn and lift the dead elephant. They graze 16 hours a day. Even though I love elephants very much and find their babies incredibly cute, I felt a bit scared as they approached us. They can look scary with their red eyes. We saw tens of Masai giraffes.
In any case, we can see the wild animals on the Masai plain as if it is our front garden from our tent in the camp. Then we saw a leopard resting on the highest branch of a tree.
It is very rare to see them because they are very shy animals. I was very happy to see it.
So far, my favourite animal among all the ones we have seen in Kenya is leopard. It is so gorgeous, graceful and its spots so beautiful! Just like a jewel. Then, we had our breakfast as a picnic on an empty field in the Masai plain. While we were taking pictures here, F. dropped the camera and the lens broke completely. We could no longer take pictures. Both F. and I were very upset. Of course, our biggest worry is the possibility of losing all the pictures we have taken so far. We went back to the camp immediately. F. tried to repair the camera but no success. So sad! It was a brand new camera and all the pictures and videos we have taken...I hope that the pictures and the videos are safe. But we of course contemplated on how we can record what we will see from now on. Thank God, one of the managers of the camp, Jarred, offered to lend us his spare camera. It is not digital but it is better than nothing! We were joined by a middle-aged American couple in our safari after lunch. We do not have the luxury we had in Shampole anymore. One of the first animals we saw in our safari after lunch was one of the rarest animals, the cerval cat. While F. was trying to get used to the new camera, we still don't know if we managed to take the cerval cat's picture. We will know once we print the pictures. But we were very lucky to have seen this cat. Then we got even luckier as we saw a mother leopard walking in the bushes and then calling for her son.
When the mother and the son got together, the love that they showed to each other was incredible. Leopards are really very beautiful.
But Masai Mara is too crowded with people and cars. There were 5 jeeps around these two leopards. It is a very unpleasant, commercial and touristy situation. Interestingly, there are mostly New Yorkers and Londoners in our camp. [...]They are the sort of people we can talk to. By the way, we take our showers in our tents with water from buckets. They established such a system that the water in the bucket comes through the tabs just like a normal shower. They do not want us to walk alone in the camp at night time due to wild animals; especially to and from our tent because we are the farthest. The Masai warriors always escort us to our tent and to the centre of the camp. I am eating too much in Kenya. I gained too much weight because I sit immobile in the safari cars. I feel very uncomfortable with regards to weight/size. I have turned into an untidy witch again. My body, hair, eyebrows are in a terrifying state.