Rhino day…Lions, and more lion in a tree…Cheetahs…Tanzania tomorrow…

How did we get so close, so lucky to get this shot?  I must be dreaming!

I purposely shot this photo to include the window ledge of the Land Cruiser to illustrate how close we were to this female lion. Never once, did we feel at risk during any of our sightings.

The black tear line differentiates in part, the difference between a cheetah and a leopard. 
She just wouldn’t open her eyes in the bright sun.  
Notice the difference in coloration and the lack of the black tear lines, making this a leopard. We spotted this one and a few others at dusk. They are nocturnal, often difficult to spot.
Anderson spotted this scene from afar, taking off on a mad dash to ensure we could get as close as possible to see this oddity, a lion in a tree.
Lions seldom climb trees in the Masai Mara. Even Anderson, a guide in this area or 14 years, was excited to see this rare find. Actually, he was excited to find all that we were fortunate to see.
As the young male lounged in the tree, the remainder of the family engaged in some serious power lounging below him.
 We couldn’t have moved any closer as were we all thrilled to be able to get these close-ups.
 “What a glorious day! Brother in a tree. Me, under the tree with my mom and siblings.”
 If you have a cat as a house pet, you sure can relate as to how these photo ops present themselves.
 Getting more comfortable in a tree is tricky.
 Finally, the perfect position for the lion in a tree, a rare sighting that we treasured.

As we work our way through the many stories and photos to share of our safari last week, we can’t help but marvel over the amount of action we’d witnessed in the short 3-day safari. Any longer and we’d have been overwhelmed trying to sort it all out.

With over 600 photos taken, approximately 400 saved for review, deciding which photos to post has been challenging. Daily, as I begin to write here, I mulled over those we haven’t posted, reviewing them with Tom for feedback.

Choosing our remaining favorites, our stories evolve along a natural course. At times, I find myself smiling so much that my face hurts.  At other times, tears flood my eyes, tears of joy for the experience, tears of sadness for the hard lives of the animals and their young, and tears of hope to someday return.

In the bush, it became so clear to me about the life cycle, how every creature placed on this earth by God, your chosen higher power or by nature itself, has a purpose and a natural food supply in its nearby surroundings, man/woman, animal, and vegetation;  animals, animal or vegetation.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

It part, it made me laugh since I guess I really have reverted to the beginnings of man/women in my diet.  All I eat is animal and vegetation.  Ironically, the Masai, whose story we’ll share in the next few days, only eating animals, no vegetation. They live very long lives and are slim and fit. 

Today, we continue on, the smiles still on our faces for the dream we chose to chase, for the knowledge we chose to gain, for the people we’ll never forget, for the wildlife presenting itself into our willing hearts and in a small part, for our own desire to put aside fear and apprehension to stretch ourselves to the limits.   

Rhinos are elusive, hard to find. We met several people on the return flight that never completed “The Big Five,” unable to spot the rhino or the leopard.  The animals almost lined up for us to spot The Big Five in the first 10 hours on safari.
Anderson explained that there are 30 rhinos remaining in the Masai Mara with only 10 on the side we were on of the Mara River. During our safari, we photographed 5 of the 10.

When we spotted this mom and baby, we went nuts with enthusiasm, deciding to wait patiently to get a better shot.  At this point, we were about around 100 feet from them.  A skittish male, perhaps dad, took off when he saw our vehicle approaching.

Off they went with caution and bulk in search of their next vegetarian meal.

Finally, mom and baby were in view.  My heart was pounding with excitement as I tried to hold the camera steady to get this photo.
Suddenly, what may have been dad appeared, rather grouchy and annoyed by our intrusion. We didn’t move or talk, practically holding our breath as she/he moved on.

Either this rhino has a partially pink lip or her tongue was sticking out. Look at the three birds sitting on her. We were thrilled for this close up as Anderson maneuvered the Land Cruiser to our best advantage.

Comments and responses Rhino day…Lions, and more lion in a tree…Cheetahs…Tanzania tomorrow…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Another wow for the fantastic photos.
    The lion sleeping in the tree was simply amazing. You stated that lions don't normally climb trees and yet you were able to see it on only a 3 day safari and get some super photos!! He did remind me of my two cats so cute and peaceful when they are curled up sleeping. But I would not want to cuddle with this big guy in the tree! And the sequence of the photos were great. Of course we loved the last one of him straddling the tree with his hind legs hanging down. What more can I say.

    You were certainly blessed with the numbers and different kinds of animals you were able to see. To think that you got to photograph 5 of the 10 rhinos in that area, that alone must have made you pause with thanksgiving.

    Your post on yesterday was interesting also. Anderson really does seem like a great guide. The picnic breakfast made me wish I was sitting there with you. He did make it look like a first class trip. I also liked seeing what the safari truck looked like.

    My favorite from your posts so far is this statement you made today:
    Today, we continue on…the smiles still on our faces for the dream we chose to chase, for the knowledge we chose to gain, for the people we'll never forget, for the wildlife presenting itself into our willing hearts and in a small part, for our own desire to put aside fear and apprehension to stretch ourselves to the limits.

    I love it; very well put.

    Pat and Dan

  2. Jessica Reply

    Pat and Dan,
    Wow! What you wrote here today made our hearts do a flip flop. Knowing that you are out there, sharing this journey with us and finding enjoyment and meaning in our photos and words, means so much. I can only hope that our other readers so faithfully reading for so long feel even a portion of your interest and enthusiasm.

    You are the voice of the world we left behind, of the friends that filled our hearts with comfort and support that somehow the decisions we've made to leave everything behind had meaning and purpose. We both thank you for writing, for your kind words and for taking the time to travel along with us.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *