|The lodge at Sanctuary Olonana, where we’ll experience our first safari in October 2013.|
Today’s photos are from the post in 2013, while we lived 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 in Kenya’s holiday home 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 when so many consists of dangers encountered while on safari.
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 revel in the vast experiences we’ve had over the years.
Our first safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya 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 the other guests and feast their eyes on the surrounding wildlife.|
The bouncing, the dust flying in our faces, the jolts, and fast turns make a safari an 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 car.
|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 instability. 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.
Riding in the vehicle was challenging when holding on tight, which was imperative in many situations as our guide worked their way around rough roads, potholes, and uneven terrain. Even my arms were still weak and guarded. 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 strength and resilience and stay 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 an 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 permanent tents, full bathrooms, electricity, free WiFi, and mosquito nets. We always share one bed when there are 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 incredible 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.|
Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2019:
|The Towne Centre Theatre in Wakebridge, Cornwall, watched the Downton Abbey movie when released in the UK. For more details, please click here.|