Kenya (9) – Amboseli
Lots of young folk on our afternoon game drive today – first we happened upon a pair of crested cranes with a couple of chicks, and then a little further along, a pair of ostrich with a family of 11 chicks.
I’m glad I’m not an ostrich – those eggs are huge, imagine having to lay 11 of them!
We drove out to Lake Amboseli. I’ve been a little confused since we arrived about the lake, as all we’ve seen are a number of swampy areas, none of which seemed to quite qualify for the title. Today the mystery was solved – the lake is currently completely dry, although that could change any day now as there has been a lot of rain in the hills. Normally, by this time in the year the lake would already be wet, and teaming with wildlife, it must really be spectacular.
We drove around the lake area for some time, but didn’t come across much wildlife. This sand grouse was pretty much all we saw, so we headed off and found ourselves an elephant herd.
We’ve spent a lot of time on this trip watching elephants, there’s always something going on. This afternoon was no exception as we found ourselves watching one of the more intimate moments of an elephant’s life. Or so you’d think… privacy is not really an option within a herd!
One of the elephants in the herd had come on heat, and was being courted by four hopeful suitors, all of whom were following her around hopefully. It was interesting to watch how she flirted with the one, and scorned the advances of another. It became clear very quickly who the lucky man would be, and he wasted no time in getting down to action, with the three runners-up, and of course, the three of us in the jeep, watching.
After the show was over, the four elephants all wandered off, although not before having a quick dust bath.
There are always more elephants to watch, though, and we turned our sights to a group which had just emerged from the swamps.
Leaving the elephants behind, we drove for about 20 minutes before coming across a gazelle running at high speed. Since there was most likely a good reason for the gazelle to be running, we followed the direction in which it had come, and within a few minutes found ourselves a lion. We snapped a couple photos with the engine still running, and then as the lion started moving off, Peter put his foot down and we tried to drive around to intercept it further along – a far less direct route for us, of course, compared to the lion who could just cut across the grass.
It appears, however, that just like buses, you wait ages for a lion, and then a whole group turn up at once. We’d not gone all that far when we realised that there were a number of vehicles parked up ahead – a sure sign that there was something to see. Yep, another two lions, one of which was collared. We decided to stop to take a quick few photos, before continuing our hunt for the original lion.
We took off again, and tried to hunt down our original lion, but to no avail. Lucky that we had such a nice photo op with these two. After some failed attempts to get some elephants silhouetted in the sunset, we headed off back to the lodge.