We finished our time in Africa on Friday with a final game drive and it was a good way to finish this Safari part of our trip.
We left in the late afternoon and travelled the plains and close to the Mara River. It was a warm day and quite dusty. On our morning game drive we saw very few animals but this afternoon they were quite plentiful.
Afters stopping to watch many zebra and elephant, we paused by the river to stop at a toilet block. Nearby was a hippo pool. I had been waiting to take a photo of a ‘hippo smile’ for many days, but we were rewarded with a couple as we stood on the high river bank and watched the hippos in the water below us. The yawn is actually a sign of threat behavior and hippos open their mouth wide to show their ferocity. We were happy to be at some distance.
Before we were ready to go, our drivers hurried us into the vehicles, telling us that “Something was happening somewhere else”. We have noticed that they never tell us what we are heading to see, perhaps in case we get disappointed. They talk on their radios with other vehicles in Swahili, but just give us a very general idea of where they might be going.
This time, we headed across the plains and right on dusk, we came across a pair of lions that were mating. The male was a large lion and relatively old, judging by his very black mane. The lioness was mature and full- sized. We watched them only, three metres from the vehicle and neither had any inhibitions about continuing with their mating even though we were so close. We were told that a male can mate up to 80 times in 24 hours, but this lady was looking as though she had had enough! At the end, she moved a few paces away an rolled over onto her back for a sleep. I reckon that there is only one thing like the ‘sleep of the just’ and that’s the ‘sleep of the just after’!
Our last activity of the day was to head for the a spot along the river where our hosts at the camp at set up a ‘bush dinner’ for us. It was getting quite dark by now and we should gave been out of the park by 6:30 pm. We stopped for a quick photo of the sunset and then drove without lights until we had reached the park boundary.
Following what seemed a very circuitous route, we ended up at a clearing by the river where dinner had been set up for us. We were met by Joseph, our assigned butler, two chefs and a guard armed with a rifle whose job was to protect us from the wildlife. The whole area was lit up by dozens of hurricane lanterns and it was a lovely ending to this part of our trip. We sat down to a linen covered table with proper cutlery and linen napkins. The meal consisted of carrot and ginger soup, then for the main course – grilled beef, chicken and vegetables. It was Barbara’s birthday so we enjoyed a cake for desert. By 9.30pm, we were back at our camp t pack, go to bed, and be read for a 7:00 am start the next morning with our return to Nairobi.