Today I was joining a guest on their walking safari which I was looking forward to, however it meant a very early rise to be able to walk and feed the dogs before 7am!
7:00am turned into 7:30am (a mild case of Swahili time) and then we were off. We were brief by the man with the gun, told to walk silently and in single file, never in front of the man with the gun, seems to make sense to me. Immediately out the gate we saw Hartebeest, Impala and Grants Gazelle, who were ‘pronking’ away from us. Pronking is the springing jumps they do where they have all 4 feet in the air simultaneously.
Grants Gazelle pronking
We discussed the types of gazelle found in Lewa (not Thompson apparently – due to the type and length of the grass) and then continued our walk. Walking safari are amazing for reasons different to your normal safari;
for one you are not stuck in a vehicle,
you get to do some exercise, which is quite difficult on normal safari holidays which usually comprise of light breakfast, game drive, real breakfast, rest, lunch, rest, afternoon tea, game drive, dinner, bed.
you get to take time looking at the little things, including termites, ants, droppings, tracks etc
you learn a lot
There are of course many other reasons but this isn’t a walking safari advert so I won’t go on.
However I really enjoyed the safari and quickly learnt that should I ever achieve my dream of becoming a guide I have a LOT of learning to do! For example, our guide taught us about intimate social structure of termites, I learnt there is a queen, a drone (who mates with the queen) workers and soldiers within one colony. I learnt that when the Queen can no longer produce offspring she is fed a special diet to help her, if that doesn’t work she is licked to death by the rest of the colony, its a termite eat termite world out there! We investigated Rhino middens (a place where Rhino go to do their business) and identified if it was a male or female who had been there (males leave kick marks where they kick back their poo to spread it around) and which type of Rhino the midden belonged to, white or black. White Rhino are grazers (eat grass) and black Rhino are browsers (eat from bushed and trees) therefore Black Rhino middens have twigs and stick in their poo and white rhinos don’t. We identify Hyena poo by the colour (white) due to the calcium in the bones it eats as well as various other types of poo by size, shape and texture! Our guide, Daniel knew every name of every tree, what it is used for and its Latin name… I have a lot of studying to do!
A tree that I can’t remember the name of
Studying the termite mound (mount Kenya in the background)
We walked to a small waterfall within a cave and studies some rock art which was drawn by Maasai with red ochre many years before (don’t ask me how many years).
Studying the rock art
Once through the cave we came out the other side of the valley and started heading back to camp. The walk was about 2 hours and I returned home to try and do some training with the dogs and have some breakfast.
In the afternoon we went for sundowners and saw all the cars (the guest go on safari before the sundowners, while the staff set up the bar and chairs etc) stopped on the road at the bottom of the hill. They all came through eventually after excitedly telling us about the 3 lion cubs within eye sight of us, needless to say when we tried to go see them after sundowners they were gone ? Oh well, plenty of time for lion cubs in the future.
sundowners set up
Another thing I will need to learn about if I wish to become a guide is the star constellations and I also want to learn how to photography starts at night, although I am quite impressed by my phones ability…
How to plan an African Safari Planning your first or even second or third African safari can be an overwhelming process. Where do you even start? How much will it cost? How long do I need to be on safari? Which animals will I see? What else is there to do in Africa...
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