Thursday, December 03, 2009

Drama, Comedy, Suspense…Safari has it All

As I mentioned earlier, in the main we were overwhelmed by how peaceful the Masai Mara is. A large proportion of the animals are herbivores, so spend their days happily munching grass, trees and bushes.

But obviously, there’s the meat-eaters. And there’s quite a lot of them. And by Day 3 it stood to reason that we were going to see something getting eaten.

The lions were the first predators we saw in action, and they make quite a team. They’re amazingly impressive up close, and it’s easy to forget that they’re basically enormous killing machines. We watched a pride chase a wart-hog into a hole and then spend the next hour digging it out. Patience and tenacity in spades.

Later we discovered that one of the resident leopards (and there was only three in the near vicinity) had been killed by a hyena. We went to see the evidence- not pleasant. Anderson was visibly moved and it was a very sobering moment.

Another occasion saw us literally stumble over a cheetah who had just eaten – evident by it’s huge stomach and bloody mouth. It was obviously slipping into a food coma and was far too sated to do anything other than collapse on its back into a heap, which allowed us the most amazing close-up view of its tummy. Crying out to be tickled. Joke.

Later we saw a group of nine lions stalk another wart-hog. Watching them emerge slowly slowly from the bushes and stalk it through the long grass was honestly a ‘heart in the mouth’ moment. The warthog escaped unscathed in the end, by which time my nerves were shot to pieces.

On our last day we got a flat tyre, right in the middle of the bush. On one side of us were elephants, the other side giraffe, and behind us a huge group of antelope. The big sort. Didn’t help my nerves that only the day before we’d seen lions in that very spot. Thankfully Anderson proved to be a dab hand at changing tyres and we were only out of the car for about ten minutes.

Thankfully all this drama and suspense we came across some elephants wallowing in a muddy hole. It was truly hilarious and a typical example of the range of emotions that you experience on safari. Amazing.

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