Kenya (3) – Tsavo East
Although we didn’t see any big cats yesterday, they still made their presence felt – as we were lying in bed, we heard a lion roaring in the distance. This morning, we were up at 5.15 for our early morning game drive, and heard the strangest grunting noises around our cabin, which turned out to be made by a male impala chasing off a rival… quite a start to the day.
At 6 o’clock we were on the road, setting off in a different direction from yesterday, to an area that seemed rather drier and more desolate, following the sound of the previous night’s lion. The safari got off to a slow start, as we searched and searched for a couple hours before finding any sign of life. The sun came up, the light was beautiful, but there was nothing to photograph. Eventually we came across another jeep driving in the opposite direction – good news, they’d seen a lion. We sped off and kept our eyes peeled. A few minutes later, there he was, lazing on a termite mound, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. We were able to come quite close in and get some good portrait shots. He didn’t seem at all perturbed by our presence, and after a short while we took our leave and left him in peace.
As so often happens, once you’ve seen one animal, your luck appears to turn, because it wasn’t too much further before we happened upon a huge herd of buffalo. There was a steady stream of animals, literally thousands. We watched as they poured across the road – adults, young and injured alike. Fortunately we were able to get through a gap in the traffic, and watch from a safe distance.
Not much else to see this morning, a few impala, and a herd of elephants right on the horizon. We were back at the lodge by 9am, just in time to eat before breakfast was cleared, and then went back to our tent to download the photos and take a long nap before lunch and our afternoon trip.
The afternoon safari was another slow starter and we travelled quite a long way from camp before we really saw anything. We were in prime cheetah area, but unfortunately, the cheetah, like the leopard, remained elusive.
Eventually we happened upon some elephants… all in all we must have seen between 50 and 100, scattered into small groups with quite a few calves, and dotted around nearby, lone bachelors. We hoped for some good sunset shots of the elephants, but they didn’t quite want to co-operate. Nevertheless, just after the light dropped we were treated to a display of two young elephants taking a bath in a waterhole. With an ISO of 4000 I was just about able to capture some action as the two played together briefly in the water.
We thought that was it for the day, but we saw one more critter today – a genet which was hanging around the restaurant, sitting high up in the rafters. It’s looks like a small domestic cat with a very pointed face and a very long thin raccoon like stripey tail.