More safari photos and stories…Picnic breakfast in the bush…

A fantastic morning in the bush.

With a picnic basket on the passenger seat in Anderson’s Land Cruiser filled with a wide selection of delectable hot breakfast items for the six of us and Anderson, we took off for our last morning drive at 6:30 am .

A cool guy in the bush.

Oddly, I didn’t feel a sense of dread in it almost being over since I had chosen to live in the moment, relishing precisely what was at hand than projecting leaving the next day. 

As we left the area of Camp Olonana, cows were in abundance. In the Maasai, Mara cows serve as food for the Maasai tribes. (A story follows soon about their lifestyle and low-carb, grain-free, starch-free, sugar-free diet)!

As we bounced along in the vehicle, animated conversation wafting through the air, I said, “I feel like I have an “E” ticket at Disneyland, and the day is just beginning!” Everyone laughed, so we all felt in agreement with the joyful anticipation. Anderson, who’d never left Africa in his life, required an explanation which I gladly provided.

Hot air balloon rides are shared in the Maasai Mara.  We’d considered this option but decided we’d rather spend the time on the ground with better up, closer photo opportunities with the wildlife.

The view of the hot air balloons made an exciting backdrop for our early morning photos.

With the air nippy early in the early morning at 5000 feet above sea level, we were glad Anderson had warned us to wear jackets. For the first time since leaving the US, we brought out the Scottesvest Parkas, perfect for this chilly environment. 

Unfortunately, my parka was bright blue, my only option in my size at the time of purchase long ago. Blue attracts tsetse flies, of which there were none in the Maasai Mara but that we’ll find plentiful soon in South Africa. Tom’s was a perfect Khaki green.

The waterbuck, reasonably expected in the Maasai Mara, posed for us in the morning sun.

I imagined we’d search for a few morning treasures and picnic by 8:00 am. But, the distractions of the wildlife kept us from wanting to stop until one of our safari mates cried hunger around 10:30 am. We could easily have kept going with little regard for food or coffee.

Mom and baby eland.
Anderson busied himself setting up our breakfast, only allowing any of us to set up the camp stools.  Notice his well-equipped picnic basket. The stainless steel containers were filled with our still-warm breakfast, thoughtfully prepared by Ambrose, the chef, very early in the morning.

But we were in a group, after all, and we didn’t protest. We so enjoyed our companions that we didn’t give it a thought, knowing we’d join right in once the food and drinks were set up.

With room for four at the small table, some of us sat nearby, eating breakfast on our laps. There were croissants, cold cereal, pancakes, eggs, sausage, and
a wide array of fruit. Although I could only eat the eggs and sausage, I was content. 

Anderson found a perfect spot under a tree where the grass was short, away from potential danger. Also, the place he’d picked had a nearby huge rock that provided modesty for all of us to “check the tire pressure” before hitting the road again after breakfast. 

Bending over the table was our safari mate, David, and sisters, Susan and Linda, all experienced travelers to the right.

At this point, I’d become rather adept at managing my “tire pressure checking” in the wild, a feat I’d never considered before embarking on this experience.  See…we’re never too old to learn new tricks!

From left to right, on the ground first: Tom, Anderson, David, Linda.  In the truck, from left to right, is David’s wife, Cindy and Linda’s sister Susan.  I took the photo.

Anderson had observed the last morning that I had asked for “real cream” for my coffee, of which there was none.  Here we were the following day, and he proudly whipped out a can of fresh cream. I couldn’t have been more appreciative of him for remembering. 

Anderson took this next photo of us, a little blurry but worth keeping, the only shot we had of our group of safari mates.

We had much to accomplish on the road again after breakfast before our morning drive ended.  Anderson had promised we’d go to Tanzania to see the tail end of the Great Migration. 

Besides myself, with excitement, I could hardly wait to get back on the road. Tomorrow, we’ll share the photos of another round of rhinos we found that morning and our subsequent exciting trip to Tanzania, another highlight of our adventure.

This hyena, not the cutest creature in the bush, stopped for a morning pose, curious about our intentions.
Cheetah blocking the road.

Patiently waiting for her to clear the road, he meandered to the side of the road, content to watch us as we were only a few feet away.

As we searched for more rhinos (check back tomorrow for rhino photos), we continued to find more awe-inspiring sightings with the help of Anderson, his eagle eye, and his use of the finest pair of binoculars in the land.  We were thrilled when he spotted this lion family lounging under a tree at a distance as he maneuvered our way for a closer view.
Females and young lions were lounging in the shade of the tree.  Our perception was that the male lions hang out with the family, which is not the case.  Once these young males mature, they’ll go off on their own to hunt, mate, and occasionally hang out with their male sons and siblings.
Such a relaxing day, lounging with the family!
Watching the lions was addicting. We could easily have stayed there all day, but we had to keep moving, searching, and veering toward our goal to travel to the Tanzanian border to see the tail end of the Great Migration.
It was taken quite a distance since we had little time to chase down an ostrich.  Nonetheless, it was fun to see.
After what we’d seen after the Great Migration had left a week earlier, we were not disappointed we’d missed it. Someday, as mentioned earlier, we’ll return to the Maasai Mara, planning it to coincide with the two million wildebeest crossing the Mara River over and again as it winds from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara.  
Most likely a mom and a maturing baby, butt to butt, in quiet repose.
 But, having an opportunity to travel by Land Cruiser across the rough plains to Tanzania was exciting in itself.   It was hard to believe we could accomplish all of this with the day we’d already experienced in the remaining time. Leave it to Anderson to figure it all out for us. Again, we were never disappointed.
Our safari mate, Susan, was so excited to see this turtle.  With hers and Linda’s new giant cameras in hand, none of us minded stopping for a photo op.

Before noon we were on our way to Tanzania, with more exquisite sightings along the way. We hope we still have your interest in our safari as we attempt to wind our way down.  Yet to share:

1.  Rhinos and our trip to Tanzania, including a few fantastic lion photos along the way.
2.  The dinner hosted by Camp Olonana in the bush is a surprise treat for Maasai singers and dancers and a feast pleasing to any palate.
3.  The trip to the Maasai village and our visit with Chief Richard, his two wives, and many children and extended family.
4.  The review of Camp Olonana, Sanctuary Retreats, where we’ll someday return and hope to visit their other worldwide locations sometime in the future.
5.  Our return flight and musings of our entire journey.

We are holding stories unrelated to the safari that we’ll share as we move along. So far, Africa has proven to be a world on its own, leaving us breathless and hungry for more. 

It would be worthwhile to go on a bird-watching safari with wide varieties. Focused on the larger creatures, we often missed bird photo ops. Had we had more time, we definitely would have taken more bird photos.