Travel, Kenya Diaries

Kenya Diaries Part IIIb: More to do than can ever be done

Baboon troop crossing the field

Baboon troop crossing the field

Tea Masala. I am telling you. I love coffee but tea masala is a close second. It is a spicy tea brewed with milk and drunk with sugar - like an African Chai. 

Baboons crossed the field in front of the camp around 10am. The free time we had between safaris today was spent lazing, reading, taking pictures around camp, and getting a pedicure care of Bubbie (Thanks!) It was hard to imagine ever being hungry again after breakfast, but somehow if you put yourself in the vicinity of available, ready made food, you find a space to pack it in.

The front porches of our tents

The front porches of our tents

AFTERNOON SAFARI

A short drive from the camp, we saw the baboon troop that had crossed the field earlier. Just after this, we saw a whole family of lions. There was a big mama lioness and some younger brothers and sisters. The males hadn't grown their manes yet, I think David said they were around 2 or 3 years old. The lions were relaxing in a big pile (they sleep for 20 hours per day), licking each other (social grooming), lazily biting each other, dozing, and generally looking like giant kitty cats. It's easy to forget they are dangerous when they look at you with their fuzzy kitty faces.

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After the lions strolled away, we went to visit Baraka - a blind black rhino who lives in a protected area under guard 24/7. Rhinos are often victims of poaching for their horns. "Baraka" means "blessed." Baraka was found with one eye damaged from a fight. He later developed a cataract in the other eye, but since Rhinos don't have great eyesight to begin with it doesn't seem like a huge loss.

Baraka has something like 220 acres to himself, but he comes when called. He knows the sound and smell of his keepers, and getting an alfalfa treat every time there are visitors probably helps him find his way too. We stood on a raised platform and petted Baraka's thick skin while feeding him alfalfa. 

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Note his pointed lip - he's a black rhino.
Note his pointed lip - he's a black rhino.

After Baraka, we drove a bit and saw white rhinos in a compound. Funny story. The name 'white rhino' is a misnomer. Originally they were 'wide' or 'weit' rhinos, so named for their broad square lip as compared with the pointed lips of other rhinos. But somewhere down the line 'Weit' was changed to White. The other kind of rhinos (with pointed lips) are now called Black rhinos to differentiate, but their names have nothing to do with their coloring.

There are 4 endangered Northern White Rhinos here, out of 8 in the world. They are hoping they will breed here, but are under constant surveillance and protection.

Driving on, we saw a tawny eagle circle into a nest atop an acacia tree. We drove nearer and saw that there were actually two eagles, and one was eating what distinctly looked like a small antelope / dik dik. Apparently it is common for eagles to snap up small mammals for a meal. 

We saw lots of zebras and a gorgeous sunset breaking through the clouds over the mountains. We were a bit late coming home and as we rushed along the bumpy road, we nearly ran into another black rhino, a lioness hunting, and we spotted elephants and giraffes off to the side.

We leave tomorrow at 7:30 for the 5 hour drive to Lake Naivasha.