Day #175 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Amazing memories in frustrating times…

The lodge at Sanctuary Olonana where we’ll experience our first safari in October 2013.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

Recalling the day we booked our first safari while sitting on the veranda/living room outdoors at the holiday home in Kenya, is as easy as if it was yesterday. Our enthusiasm coupled with a tinge of fear made our hearts race. One never knew what to expect going on safari. And watching YouTube videos wouldn’t be helpful at all when so many consist of dangers encountered while on safari.

Our hope was to see The Great Migration but once we arrived in Tanzania, the bulk of it had moved on, although we did see the tail end.

Now, seven years later, we’ve been on more safaris than we can count in several African countries including Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Morocco, and now, in India at three different national parks. We’re not trying to break any safari expedition’s count or race. We simply revel in the vast experiences we’ve had over the years.

Our first safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in  Kenya still remains our favorite of all the other experiences. A few times, we’ve been asked how many times we’ve been on safari and counting all the self-drives we’d done in Kruger National Park, most likely, we’re well over 100 safaris.

We went on two game drives each day, one in the morning from 6:30 am until lunchtime and another in the early evening from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Often, meals will be served in the bush, as we and the other guests feast our eyes on the surrounding wildlife.

The bouncing, the dust flying in our faces, the jolts, and fast turns make a safari as unusual adventure requiring a but of stamina and endurance. After each several hour-long safaris in the jeep-type vehicles with open sides, we felt as if we’d been exercising for hours.

Oddly, with my newer Fitbit, when we were on safari over 12 times in India, my readings showed I’d walked almost 30,000 steps each day from the mere rough ride in the vehicle. This made us laugh when we’d spent the majority of the day sitting in the vehicle.

Most of these photos were from the Sanctuary Olonana website. .

Getting in and out of a safari jeep can be challenging for those with mobility issues and unsteadiness. While we were on safari in India, it was only 11 months after my open-heart surgery. My legs weren’t stable after two surgeries only nine months earlier, and my breastbone felt as if it hadn’t entirely healed.

Even my arms were still weak and guarded. Riding in the vehicle was challenging when holding on tight which was imperative in many situations as our guide worked his/her way around rough roads, potholes, and uneven terrain. Somehow, the prospect of spotting tigers in the wild was sufficiently exciting to keep me from thinking of any potential discomfort.

In the event of rain or if we were able to be inside air-conditioned comfort. The lodge at the camp provides indoor activities, a bar, and a restaurant although as it turned out we were on safari for the bulk of the day. Our living quarters were lavish private tents on the banks of the Mara River, overlooking families of hippos splashing and snorting in the water. We could hear the hippo sounds starting around 3:00 am each morning.

Now after walking 5 miles a day (8 km) for so many months, I know I’d do a whole lot better. I continue to work my arms while walking to build up strength and resilience and staying mindful of good posture and stance.

As for the Maasai Mara, named after the Maasai people of Kenya, a tribe known for their colorful red garb and unusual diet consisting primarily of cow’s blood, it is also known for the Mara River which millions of wild animals, mainly wildebeest cross each year on their annual migration.

This is a typical interior of one of the permanent tents, outfitted with full bathrooms, electricity, free WiFi, and mosquito nets.  We always share one bed when there’s two, using the other for our “stuff.”  We brought our laptops, two cameras, binoculars, and other digital equipment, writing here each day with many photos.

Ah, my heart aches for such an experience now. The dust in my face, the jarring ride, and the challenge of getting in and out of the jeep are insignificant compared to the joy of being witness to this world of wonder once again.

As we continue over the next several weeks, sharing photos from that stunning expedition, we’ll be reminded once again of this exceptional adventure, unlike anything we’d ever done in our old lives. And now, who knows what the future has in store for us in months or years to come? We hold our breath in anticipation of leaving India to head to other lands with other joys, many of which are almost impossible to describe.

We were fortunate to see many Mr. or Ms. Rhino while in the Maasai Mara.

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2019:

The Towne Centre Theatre in Wakebridge, Cornwall where we watched the Downton Abbey movie the day it was released in the UK. For more details, please click here.

 

 

 

 

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