My first Safari; Kenya 2007 – 28th September – October 6th;

9 days in Kenya!

We arrived at Nairobi airport, where we met up with Vic and our guide Charles.

Even driving through Nairobi there were Marabou stalks perched and nesting in the trees on route to Lake Nakuru, they are so big and tall, quite a surreal site but still amazing to see such a sight, especially for the first time as they are so tall!

This was our first safari and we went as a family; mum, dad, brother and sister, it was so awesome!

Lake Nakuru, was full of life and colour! Swallows, flamingos, pelicans, osprey awaiting patiently for his or her moment, marabou stalks, it was a beautiful colourful sight! So serene and still with an abundance of bird sounds.

We made our way up to what was called Baboon Rock and up there was a spectacular view, the flamingos was like seeing a different shape map of the world in pink and white!

The journey across rift valley was stunning too! – so vast! We loved the gift shops we came upon, the locals art, so much talent! We bought back most of our souvenirs from here!

For us, it all happened in Nakuru, we had 5 encounters with leopard it was so special. Even our guide said we was lucky on our first safari as a lot of people go and never see a leopard, but to see white and black rhino as well!

A few of you may already be an owner of one of my leopard drawings from this trip.

The first pastel drawing I drew from this amazing experience was called ‘An Amazing Moment!’ We had noticed this young leopard walking through the grass, as you can imagine, we were are all so excited at this point as she was quite close but quite hidden, catching sight of her now and again as grass heights vary, then, to our luck she crosses the road in front of us and even more amazing, she leaps up into this huge tree looking down at us, now this was the moment! She was so close and wild; one can’t describe the feeling…I just shook with excitement and it is just an amazing moment for me and my family, we was in awe for sure!

Then the young leopard decided to relax on the branch while watching us. The second original came from these photographs, so I had to title the next ‘Within that Moment’ a closer study of the young leopard relaxing in tree with an effective background of trees and light.…

I must say for myself and my family, as they are just like me as far as passionate for wildlife, having the chance to see the wildlife in the wild it captivates you in a way it is hard to explain, Africa takes you into into its soul, the flow of magical wilderness and vastness, with birdsong in abundance, frogs and sonar like insects, their sound was like in waves, just like in Tanzania too! It was an incredible experience which leaves you in awe not wanting to leave!

So Nakuru was a very special place, we saw wild dik dik’s roaming the ground of our lodge a long with a wild white rabbit, funny as whoever we tell does not believe us!

After our memorable time in Nakuru, we then went onto the next special place with lots of history, on other side to where we were staying at Lake Niavasha, we took a lovely boat ride to Crescent Island which led us to Elsamere, where Born Free started.

All around on both sides of the lake was full of birdsong, especially when we were at Elsamere. There were two pairs of fish eagles, both of them were falling like upside down umbrellas whilst their gallons were locked, it was incredible sight to witness this dramatic air-acrobatics! I had never seen this act before and couple minutes found out that this was their mating ritual!  And then there were their calls, so distinctive, I do love this particular call.

We were originally told that we would definitely be welcomed by black and white colobus monkeys but due to the fish eagles being around they disappeared!

But saying that, we did get an opportunity to see will black and white colobus monkeys in the trees as we were in the jeep. Quite a treat, as there is something special about them.

I have painted a number of these in acrylic too. Eyes and mannerisms are just so expressive and cute and their little hands and feet aww! We even got chance to see Python, to be honest he was so camouflaged and near where we were walking, we were lucky we didn’t disturb him! Luckily we didn’t as he quite a sized one!

On the Island it was more of a dryer terrain with zebra plentiful. Beautiful backdrop as well as the mountains were in the background with the pale yellowish dusty grounds up against the zebras and blue sky, lovely colours.

We saw such a variation of birds, a variation of bee eaters, shrike, a very camouflaged nightjar, night heron, an array of eagles including the martial, bateleur, tawny and the snake eating eagle, which I could make a photo flick book with all the frames I took of the snake gradually disappearing into the eagles mouth, frame by frame lol..this was a highlight as again never seen or head of a snake eating eagle. On the grounds of Lake Naivasha Country Hotel, we saw the spectacular African Harrier-Hawk!

Also we saw lots of variations of the striking blue starlings, weavers and their amazing intricate nests, stalks, ibis, another one of my favs is the crested eagle, rose finch, finches, kingfishers, mainly the pied and malachite kingfishers, cormorants, voltures, purple heron, various egrets, grey heron, night heron, red kites, honey buzzards, secretary birds, bustards, cararies, ruddy shelducks, egyptian geese, another highlight was seeing wild lovebirds in a beautiful old tree, hoping to draw that one day. We also saw lots of lilac-breasted and Eurasian Rollers.

The lake looked so beautiful in the mornings with the mist covering the lake making it look all magical and mysterious, so still and calm with slight highlights from the golden sun rising! I have included a couple of these in the photos above.

At Naivasha we met this lovely african young man. We saw him each day we went down to the lake, where the marshy part was, we called him the Marsh Boy. He told us about how hard it is to get pens, books etc, and that he is being taught local. I often wonder how he is…

So we gave him pens that we had, he so was grateful and thankful. It really made me realise how shouldn’t take for granted what we have and how lucky we are. Simple things in life are key. We don’t need half of the materialistic things we have in life. I have included a pic of my family and I with him and the one I love where I took a pic of him by his tree. I did ask his permission first though, as If you don’t ask, even in Nepal, taking pic is like taking their soul, always ask permission as it can mean more to others without you even realising.

Must admit was sad leaving Naivasha, a beautiful quaint places full of birdlife!

The Mara drives were awesome, so different each day to what you may see. Every morning starting off with that gorgeous mist laying across the plains where you start to see faint shapes of the cape buffalo and birds showing through where the sun was slowly burning the mist away.

We saw lions, cape buffalo, zebra and wildebeest which were quite large sized herds, our guide said the groups were part of the migration.

We saw lots of elephants.

We visited a couple of local places; one being David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, aww such a heart felt place. So many orphaned elephants playing in this vibrant reddy earth, was amazing to watch the bond they have with the keepers, so special, even sleeping with them to comfort them as the majority had been through some traumatic experience, especially when their mums get killed and they are left pining for them next to their carcass. Its horrific but The David Sheldrick do wonders for these little characters. They turn their life around and gradually re-inroduce them back into the wild.

I have drawn a pic from here where a baby orphan is trying to play with a warthog, even the elephants ears were opening wide and flapping about making these little noise, was so cute but still no movement from the warthog lol!!

Theres other pics I took where there was couple of them playing in the water, they were loving it! An amazing charity!

The other place we went to was a local zoo where the local schools bring the children to educate them and where we got chance to feed giraffe and stroke cheetah! The lady guiding us around was lovely and we asked if we could all have a photo with her.

We stayed at Keekerok Lodge whilst we were safari’ing in the Mara, but we had a couple of things that stood out during our drives in the Mara; one being an unusual experience but we found ourselves mesmerised, where we had found a carcass of a young buffalo really bloated so was fairly old and not touched, yet it was so quiet…then from being so quiet to and influx of flies, a really loud sound from the all buzzing, to seeing the vultures circling and starting to come down, then the tawny eagle trying to get in on the feast, watching how vultures are made so perfect for this as one of their heads slides up under the skin, seeing the outline of its head. Then a couple of jackal show, it was quite incredible to see the start and build to the a part of the circle of life once an animal dies on the mara to see all that feed from it. Survival.

The other part being seeing two young lion cubs suckling from their mother! Was so special! I have drawn a couple of the pics from this.

We also saw cheetah with her one cub. This to was a highlight. To be honest all of it was, such an amazing captivating country with all it beauty, colour, smells and birdlife and wildlife that make it so special. We were so lucky to see so much, even the cheeky lil yellow and olive baboons, a couple times were across the road in great numbers, so we just stopped and watched the little characters, the youngsters especially funny and always up to mischief!

The adventure we will always remember.

We left from Wilson, lovely little airport and as in a small plane the views and landscape are spectacular! Great seeing the Maasai circular villages from the plane too!

Hope you enjoyed the read and the pics and if you have not been to Africa, you got to get yourself there!