Simon, my first and most likely only tent butler, brings Mandy and I hot chocolate and cookies at our 7A wake up call. He recommends that we eat them inside because monkeys like cookies – smart monkeys. He also shows us how to tie up our tent zipper so we don’t get monkey looters when we are away. After a quick shower and the excellent hot chocolate, I step outside to meet the loveable looters and chat with Simon. Just then a wild warthog strolls toward us from the brush beside the tent. I, brave soul that I am, leap behind Simon. We come to find out that there are warthogs all over the resort – but that they are still wild and we should not touch them.
Then off to the morning safari drive – I cannot express in words the scope of the landscape – the view is too vast to fit on a page. Samwell tells us that we will see 2 percent of the Masai Mara this weekend – and that 2% holds so much. Vast fields of Red Oat grass, the Mara River, the Acacia trees – so Dr. Suess like in their shape, the backdrop of mountains. A heaven on earth that should not be missed.
In two drives today we see so much:
- A young giraffe startled by a noise runs Jerry Lewis-like in the other direction
- (even now, late at night as I write this – I think I can hear hippos bellowing in the night.)
- A muddy crocodile rests on the bank by some 15 hippos.
- Four curved bills or hornbills or something, walk the side of the road
- Lions, lazy in the morning sun, find a place to rest
- Many large groups of Thompson Gazelles, complete with racing stripe, keep watch so as not to be a lion’s lunch
- Topi groups roam freely
- A herd of 20 elephants graze as they move and one mother lets us know not to get any closer to her calf
- And zebras and herons and water buffalo and the leopard that got away.
Like children with a new box of crayons, the colors and shapes and sizes that the Masai Mara offers, thrill us to no end. Even now, as I sit in my tent late at night writing, I hear howls and bellows that I don’t recognize and they are not too far away.
We enjoy and excellent lunch overlooking the pool and savannah with zebra and giraffe today, extends into the distance. The warthogs venture close enough to slime Al’s briefcase, but skitter away quickly, back to their postulate-like position, grazing from their bended knee.
The only thing rivaling the view is the food – outstanding. An excellent lunch and then I have some time with Al’s laptop so I sit in the lounge to work. The bartender closes up shop and tells me he’ll send the security guard to check on me – and shortly a man in a green trench coat and tall rubber boots appears, carrying a rifle. He asks if I am ready to go to my tent – and I never disagree with anyone with a gun – so even though I have not uploaded a single photo, I say yes.
We pass his compatriate, who is brandishing a bow and arrow and they speak a moment in Swahili before we venture forth to my tent. A pleasant walk and no weapons fired. No even a single warthog or monkey to block our path.
And now it is 1130p and I have 5 or 10 blog entries to type up. We have a 6AM call where Simon will bring us coffee – which alone will be an adventure because I haven’t had coffee in two or three years. He’ll also bring us yogurt and granola so we can be off on a 630AM game drive. I may have to nap a bit during the drive as sleep is a treasured hobby of mine and this heaven on earth has me worn and amazed and I feel as if I have lived three lifetimes in this last week.