Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fun with the Sons

Trying to get caught up on posting my pictures.  When our amazing sons were here we had a great several hours at the Nairobi National Park.  The first time LeRon and I went there, we didn't see much.  We had no map and didn't understand the orientation of the park.  But when Heather came, she figured things out and we saw lots and lots of animals.  So when Michael and Craig came, we knew right where to go.  It was a wonderful safari and we got to drive ourselves.  That's what's so great about the Nairobi National Park.  In the Masai Mara, it's best to have a safari driver.  But in the three parks we've been to -- Nairobi, Nakuru, and Hell's Gate -- you can drive yourself.  Nice.

So on this trip we finally saw lions and wildebeets and we got to see hippos and rhinoceroses and so many kinds of antelopes that I'm not putting those pictures in this post.  I'll do it in another post.  It was fun to walk through the forest with a Masai guide.  You generally have to stay in your vehicle except if you are with a guard.  We were lucky to get a Masai guide who knew so much about the animals, birds, and vegetation.  More about him in the pictures below.

Timing is everything.  We were at the park entrance about 6:15 a.m. and entered the park around 6:30.  Right in front of us on the road were two lions leisurely sauntering along.  Not much light to get good pictures though and they were almost always facing away from us.  It was still exciting.  If we had been 10 minutes later, we wouldn't have seen them.

Something on the road caught the lions' attention and they tussled for awhile over whatever it was.

Then the lions got up and ambled into the bush.  So great to see lions in the wild!  (And from the safety of our truck).

Then in the pond just inside the park, there were hippos soaking in the water.

And a rhinoceros hiding in the tall grass.

Wild ostriches are huge!

I restrained myself and didn't take many pictures of zebras this time although I find their stripes absolutely fascinating.  I love their faces and I love the way the stripes cross the tail on their back ends!

Thought we needed to take a picture of us in one of the few places you can get out of your vehicle.

Me with two of my three sons -- actually with two of my four sons, counting my son-in-law Andy.

Now to our Masai guide.  He is very well educated and we learned a lot about the Masai and how they live.  The younger generation is getting more education and they are changing some of the old ways.  For example, many don't cut big holes in their ear lobes anymore nor do they always knock out one of their front teeth.  But this fellow (can't remember his name) did have burn marks on his legs which has a meaning that I can't remember.  They want to keep much of the Masai ways but they understand the need for education and to integrate more into society.  Click on the picture to enlarge and you will see his sandals made from rubber tires.  He could walk so silently through the bush.

I asked him if he carried a gun since there are lions in the park.  He said that he's not afraid of lions.  He was in the last group of young Masai who had to go out and kill a lion.  (They can't do that now as the lion population is decreasing).  That was in 1990 and from his age, we figured that he was 8 years old when he killed the lion.  He said that no lion will attack when a Masai is near.  That was comforting!

He knew the names of all the birds and he could tell us what animal had been eating the bushes nearby.  He pointed out tracks of hippos and other animals.  So interesting!  Wish I could remember it all.  I should have done this post sooner.

We can tell there are no crocodiles at this place in the river because if there were, these sheep would not go down to water.  The young Masai children know how to check the river for crocodiles before they jump in for a swim.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with this Masai guide.  Wish I could remember his name.  He's about the age of Heather so I felt like a mother talking to my son.

Of course the visit ends up at a tourist trap.  I bought this banana leaf artwork because I wanted to take a picture of this lady.  It looks like she has blacked her hands and face.  I was just reading about albinos in Kenya and Tanzania.  For some reason, there is a high rate of albinism here and people are very suspicious of albinos.  So I wonder if this lady is an albino who has blacked herself.  She wanted 3000 Ksh for this (which is about $30 US).  I told her that was way too much so I offered 400 ($4) and she took it.  It was probably still too much.  Oh well.

We saw lots of Wildebeests this time.  Not the great migration but certainly a lot of them.  I don't care if I don't see the great migration.  I can see it on Planet Earth!  But it was great to see so many here in the wild.

A crocodile waiting to snap up an unsuspecting victim.  Or just sunning himself on the beach.

What kind of bird is this?  I need to find out.  There were lots of them and their shiny white heads were vivid against the dry grass.

We thought we might not see a giraffe but just near the end of our 6-hour morning, there they were!

Giraffes are absolutely graceful.  They are another favorite animals of mine.  It was a great 6 hours!  So fun to share it with our sons.


  1. Wow,I love this post. So many animals, very exciting! And I love the people pictures, as always. I didn't realize knocking out a tooth was a tradition, though I've noticed it in pictures.

  2. I think it's so cool that there are still groups of people in the world who are in tune enough with the world around them that they don't have to worry about something like a lion attacking. What do you bet they know when NOT to be out and about when lions might be grumpy, hence they don't get attacked! :)