October 28, 2014

October 28, 2014  (2 lions + 1 leopard + 2 lions + 1 serval) Stayed at Buffalo Luxury Camp

As is the normal routine at the camps we have stayed at, we had French press coffee and biscuits brought to our tent with the wake-up call.  We checked out the night camera chip and discover that all we got a photo of a waterbuck.  Too bad, I was hoping for a leopard!  We got ready for our nature hike with Marco.  He is Maasai, as is our two armed guards in case we run into wildlife.   There are elephants and a leopard in the area.  Marco taught us about Maasai life.  We went on a three hour hike up a mountain side to a pretty meadow at the top. The view was beautiful.  We could see a Maasai village protected by fences made from thorny acacia trees, across the valley.  The cows have bells and we can hear them in the distance. He showed us the dung of different animals and some fur of an animal that had been taken by the leopard.  We saw a giraffe and a springbok.  They made Maasai toothbrushes from…uh… a toothbrush tree.  I think he said that the name was a grewia tree.  One end was whittled for a toothpick and the other end is cut blunt and chewed until the fiber looks like bristles. ¼” x ¼”.  They also made a fire by first crumbling zebra dung.  They had a stick about 12” long and another piece of wood that was about 6”x1”x3” with 2-3 holes along the 3” side.  They started rubbing the stick between their palms, spinning the stick in one of the holes.  This stick was sitting on a machete and as embers formed, they would fall onto the machete.  They would move the embers to the dung and blow on them until smoldering and then add grass and twigs until the fire formed.  It was pretty amazing.  We walked back to the camp and took a photo of a waterbuck, grasshopper, and an agama lizard (it is so colorful), while listening to Marco tell a Maasai children story with a moral but he kept getting messed up.  It was kind of funny.  He also said that besides the big five, there are the little five:  ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, and elephant shrew.  We had a nice lunch and had decided to give Michael the afternoon off.  I took some photos of our tent and a photo of an agama lizard on a cape buffalo skull.  We also took a 360 degree time-lapse video to document our tent and vista.  We hung out until 4:30, when we went out with Marco and Sekato for a night drive, in an open jeep.  Because Buffalo Luxury Camp is outside the park, we are allowed to go off-road.  We saw a committee of Ruppell’s vultures and white backed vultures on an elephant carcass, a tree hyrax, numerous impalas, waterbucks, zebras, a couple of giraffes, a herd of topi, and some cape buffalo.  Then, we saw a couple of female lions.  They were starting to sleep, so we headed on.  We saw a little bee eater and a pair of black backed jackals.  When it was close to sunset, we stopped and they got out a table and cloth and were getting ready to open up a cooler, when Marco heard on his radio that a leopard had been found.  They asked us if we wanted to stay for the Sundowner or go see if we could find the leopard.  The decision was easy for us. We wanted to see a leopard!  They packed up quickly and off we went.  Marco was driving fast and we were bouncing all over so we hung on tightly.  He headed back to an area we had driven through earlier.  Then Marco saw his friend across the creek.  The leopard was there too!  We watched it for a while, and then Marco decided he had to get us across to the other side, so that we would have a better view.  He followed the edge of the creek until he could cross over.  We pulled up next to two other vehicles and saw the leopard again.  It was getting dark, but Marco kept following the leopard as it moved along and we got a lot of photos.  We finally decided it was time to head out.  On the way back to camp, as saw a baby bush baby and verreaux eagle owl.  Sekato moved onto a jump seat that was strapped to the hood.  They rigged a spot light for him to hold and watch for animals with.  We saw a mongoose and then a serval cat.  Then Sekato spotted a male and female lion lying down.  Sekato switched to a red flood light so as not to upset them.  We saw scrub hares, too.  We made it back to camp and had a delicious meal.  Tonight, was special because Michael joined us and we shared our story of our night drive with him.  He told us that he had waited for us to ask him to take us out on a game drive during the day.  Hind sight is 20/20.  We probably should have gone out, rather than relaxing; after all, we may never experience this again.  Off to sleep in our wonderful tent.  Our laundry has been washed for us and a hot water bottle warms our bed for us.  Sweet dreams.  ~ Mary & Mark

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We love adventure and creating new memories. We travel, not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. We are loving this journey called, "life." We're living our lives fully, with gratitude in our hearts. There are kind people all over this world and we have discovered that we are more similar than we are different. The smile is the same in all languages. I love the following quote by Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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