September 27, 2011

The very serious business of SSG

The word "safari" conjures many images.  Off-roading 4-wheel drives and kiswahili on walki-talkies; sleeping in tents out in the bush; migrating wildebeast vs. hungry crocodile; lions, tigers and bears, oh my!  Wait... that last one isn't right.  It doesn't often conjure images of pot-lucks and late-night dance parties on the porch.  But that's the type of safari you get when you have Friends in High Places, specifically one who works as a giraffe researcher at the Soysambu Conservancy at Lake Elementeita, Kenya.  Not only did we get private game drives in the conservancy and real beds in a fabulous old colonial house equip with two fully-functioning kitchens, but it also came complete with its own Weimaraner!  
Hallo Weimaraner!

Not to be outdone by the accommodations, transportation also stepped up with a snazzy pop-top van.  That is, the top detaches and pops up about 4 feet up so that you can stand and peer over the side during game-drives, whilst still enjoying the shade.  Or so you can ride in silly ways like this.  

Just loungin'.

But we weren't simply in the business of lounging and drinking and cavorting and making silly animal faces- NO- We were also in the very serious business of Seeing Some Giraffes!
Hallo Jerafes.  Where ya heading?

Ah, I see.  Just crossing the road.  That's cool; carry on.  

What?  You invited the whole family to cross?  Do you think I have all day???

Okay, okay, so we did have all day.  No need to rush, giraffes.  There's still time for a picnic with the flamingos down at the lake and catching up with the buffaloes... Just a quick visit though; African buffalo are notoriously aggressive and rival hippos for human fatalities.   

Lake Elementeita flamingos.

  "Run away! Run away! Run away!"

Zebras, on the other hand, are much more pleasant, if (allegedly) stupid.  If there are any unamused zebra enthusiasts out there, I'm not saying it's true-- it's just something I heard.  Or perhaps I should say that it's something I herd (tehee hee)..... Sorry.  So, Zebras.  Or Zeh-bras, as the rest of the world calls them.  Either way, the're very plentiful here.  Zebras in the game parks, zebras on the side of the highway, zebras on your way to the airport.  It's like going to Montana and seeing cows, I'm guessing; I've never been to Montana.  In Soysambu, they're making a plan to introduce lions to the park within the next several years to cull the zebra population and restore some natural order.  But until then, they're so stylish.

Black and white and red (once the lions get to 'em) all over.

Speaking of carnage, we also visited some hyena dens, complete with old bones and less-old carcasses of kills dragged inside.  Was it smart?  Perhaps not.  Creepy?  You bet.  Bats?  At least a couple.  Carcass fumes?  I'd rather not think about what I inhaled there, quite frankly.  Was it like in The Lion King (3D)?  Just like!  Who knew Disney was so true-to-life?

Don't go in there, Simba!

Mean buffalo... he probably deserved it.

Oh Kenya weekends, is there anything you can't do?

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