Plus: the World Cup of Wildlife
The most recent in my series of up-close-and-personal-encounters-with-wild-animals happened in the sprawling city of Nairobi, a most unlikely place. The Giraffe Centre (http://giraffecenter.org/) is dedicated to preserving the Rothschild giraffe, an endangered animal. Just for the price of admission you can get close to these animals and even feed them!
I am here to tell you that giraffes have very long tongues. Perhaps they are the French kissers of the Savannah. But they also like to head butt, so best to not get too intimate. Here is proof:
No one calls warthogs handsome, but I think they're kind of cute. Wouldn't want to mess with one, though.
Our Africa travel blogs are almost at an end. I will send you one more blog about Victoria Falls. But before I leave Kenya, there is just one addendum: the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara. Labeled as the the Worlds Most Spectacular Migration (or sometimes called The World Cup of Wildlife) we decided it was worth hanging out to see it. From the day we first arrived in the Mara, the wildebeest were everywhere---I mean over a million of them! In huge herds! I mean everywhere! Oh, and all the predators (including our beloved hyenas) were ecstatic to see this Fast Food of the Savannah return. The weak and the young are easy pickings for hungry predators. Wild nature, as much as I love it, is not warm and fuzzy.
The drama of the migration comes when the wildebeest cross the Mara river. They gather by the thousands and stand around on the banks until, for some unknown reason, they all of a sudden rush, fall, tumble and slide down the banks into the river below and swim as fast as they can to cross it. Crocodiles and hippos await... and take down ones that get separated. It is definitely a time of red tooth and claw.
But if you are expecting some of that drama in this blog, you'd best see the migration on Animal Planet---because the crossings we saw were, yes chaotic and dusty, but SAFE. All of them made it across. Sigh of relief. (I suspect the crocs and the hippos were full.)
I wish I could tell you I took the above picture---but it reflects what we saw but were too slow to get.
And this was taken by some lucky person in a balloon.
And if you want to see more, check out this time lapse video of the migration, only takes one minute and has some cool music. It's the only one I saw on line that gives you a sense of the immensity of this event. My puny little camera could not do it justice.
Next and last blog about Africa: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia). Stay tuned!