Kenya-A Journey Back In Time- Part 2

My list of Top Ten Things To Do in Kenya continues..

5) Visit the Elephant Orphanage- The elephant orphanage is for baby elephants whose mothers have been killed by poachers. The baby elephants played in a mud bath, played with a football and over all were absolutely adorable. Since baby elephants are cared for by their mothers for the first few years of their life, the ones who are orphaned tend to treat their keepers like their mothers. The keeper who was giving the introduction to the elephant orphanage was interrupted frequently by his “baby” who kept coming over to hug him with his trunk 🙂 The keeper also told us how the elephants are let back into the wild once they mature but how some of them keep coming back till upto 20 years post to meet their foster parents. 🙂

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6) Game Drive- That’s where we saw the Wilderbeest crossing the river and also the many lions. One of the most stunning sights we saw was a leopard on a branch of a tea almost 50 feet above the ground with the carcass of a fully grown Wilderbeest. The guide pointed out to us that he had probably taken it up on a tree to keep it safe from lions and hyenas. Not just that, he told us the leopard is a much more intelligent and dangerous hunter than even the lions and asked us to imagine the strength and power involved if he could drag a Wilderbeest weighing approx 200-250 kg up a tree purely by the strength of his jaws. Pretty sobering thought, isint it? 🙂 That was the Number 3 of the Big Five that we saw.

Lions-On our way back we saw a couple of lionesses around a fresh giraffe kill (disturbing), a lion on a tree-quite high up actually…I didn’t even know they could climb..they were the fourth animal(s) we spotted of Kenya’s Big Five and of course the most frequently spotted-largely because the are not at all shy and because in my opinion they play to the gallery when tourists are around 🙂

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7) Walking Safari- While a game drive is safe (the windows and walls are made of glass in all the tourist vehicles-the tourists are safe simply because the animals are so uninterested in humans :-)) a walking safari is a little bit on the wilder side…and a good chance to try and see animals from even closer. It was on the walking safari that we caught a glimpse of the wild buffalo (which surprisingly enough as the guide informed us is the most dangerous of the big five and the only one likely to attack without provocation) This completed our list of The Big Five and with their dangerous reputation, we were quite content to not get too close. The perfect end to our walking safari was when we were served tea and a small slice of cake right in the middle of the forest on tree stumps. Of course, there was a thrill to that to too because the keepers had to spend some time tidying the tree stumps-they had all been thrown around hither and thither the previous night by a herd of elephants in a bad mood….talk about living dangerously :-p

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8) Fine Dining-Apart from the famous Carnivore restaurant in Nairobi-which includes a all-you-can-eat buffet and is famous for its game meat-there is another lovely place I must recommend. Carnivore is famous for serving among other meats-giraffe, ostrich and even crocodile. It’s not for the faint of heart-and particularly after watching the carnage of the Wilderbeest, I would suggest going in there without thinking too much about what you’re eating-for an unusual and fabulous eating experience. Since I love beer I also sampled the local beer called Tusker that I loved 🙂

For the cheese lovers I would also suggest visiting the Browns Cheese Factory.

Also a must experience is the fine dining experience at the Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant in Diani. It’s an open air coral restaurant in a cave where one dines 10 metres below the ground and under the stars.

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9) Nairobi Safari Walk- The Nairobi Safari is driving distance from Nairobi. While it may seem a bit off to visit a zoo while one can see wildlife in the open, I would recommend it as a chance to see the animals up close. At the Nairobi Safari Walk-we got to see the animals that we had not managed to see in the wild. Most memorable among these-was seeing the hyenas and the leopard. Anyone who has underestimated the lowly hyenas-will definitely change their mind on seeing them up close. The hyenas looked more deadly than any other animal we had seen- barring the leopards. The hyenas have a few inches of difference in height between their hind legs and their front legs and that’s what gives them their weird loping walk. The hyenas we saw had their cage diagonally opp the antelope cage. The keeper told us that even though they are well fed-they continuously pace up and down and are completely restless as long as they can see the antelopes-so much so that at night their cage has to be covered with a cloth because as long as the antelopes are in front of them they won’t sleep at night. That and the information that the hyenas jaws are strong enough to break any bone in the body was enough to get us moving speedily away from the cafe.

And yes here’s the Pièce de résistance of my trip-me inside the cage with three cheetahs. Let me just say-I wasn’t on any substance and neither were the cheetahs, if you see them up close the iris of their eyes appears yellow, yes-it was a scary experience but I was not scared, I doubt it’s legal and no I have no regrets….:-) am definitely going to be telling my grandchildren this story!

The leopard cage was the only one with a wire wall around it almost 150 feet high and that was because the leopard was smart enough to use a tree in the centre of his cage to leverage himself onto the top of the wire wall and had managed to get himself out of his cage-that too twice! Wow!

10) Hot Air Ballooning- Gives a birds eye view of the whole Masai Mara with a champagne brunch on landing. Nothing like seeing the dawn break out while in the midst of clouds to make you feel one with nature. A champagne brunch on landing will give you a head rush if you don’t have one already 🙂

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All pics (except the one of the hot air baloon are taken by me-and are real :-)-including the cheetah pic and the one of me kissing the giraffe)

So this is my list of Top 10 Must Dos in Kenya. Watch this space for my next blog post 🙂

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