SAMBURU – Leopards on the prowl
Thursday – What a great night’s sleep. Yes – all the netting zippers were tightly locked and to lie there in the moonlit night listening to the sounds of lions and assorted wildlife was incredible. I did not have any elephants brush past me – well as far as I know.
Today after breakfast is another day in Samburu – maybe we will come across our leopard friends, maybe not. Maybe we will discover new and interesting things, maybe not. Whichever way it goes it will be a great day for sure – but first up breakfast which true to form is incredible to say the least. A great way to start our busy day as we have a morning game drive, then a visit to a local Maasai village and an audience with the chief and then back to Samburu for lunch, bit of a rest and then out again in the afternoon. I have worked up a sweat just thinking about it.
This morning we are planning on returning to the ‘leopard tree’ in the hope that we may get lucky and see them again. Maybe they are using the tree as their home – anyway let’s keep our fingers crossed.
We depart at 6.30am and bump our way along the track – arriving at the tree we see – nothing. Hang on – the youngster is on the ground and walking around the bottom of the tree without a care in the world – or so it seems.
We have had elephant fests – lion fests – rhino fests so I don’t suppose a leopard fest will be anything out of the unexpected. They are such beautiful creatures – not as big and muscular as lions but they are extremely stealthy and strong.
All of a sudden mum appears – coming down the tree. She had been there all the time and we couldn’t spy her. Talk about camouflage – she was keeping an eye on her cub all the time and we didn’t know it!
As we trek across paths already explored we find ourselves back at the river where the elephants have come to throw dirt and have a good time.
I am not sure why they dig up the banks with their trunks. Maybe they just want the dirt to throw over themselves to protect their skin or maybe there are salts in the dirt to aid the diet?
Anyway, whatever they do it for – it provides great watching and some more good photos.
We return to the leopard tree but unfortunately we can only get a glimpse of a few spots so we decide to leave them to it and start making our way back to camp. That is easier said than done as we spot a lilac breasted roller.
What a pretty thing. The colours are amazing – and wouldn’t you know it? Now that I have nearly got bird photos down pat it is near the end of the holiday. Well, I will just have to come back that’s all there is to it!
Here’s a rather strange fellow. It is a Yellow Necked Spurfowl. The yellow neck is obvious and have a look at the spurs on the bottom of his legs. I certainly wouldn’t want to get attacked with those that’s for sure.
Back at camp, we have breakfast, freshen up and then it is now time for our meet and greet with the Chief. A short drive through the dust, it is so dry here, and we arrive to be greeted by a wonderful group of Maasai ladies in traditional dress.
The chief then shows us around the huts and the way they live, how they administer the village and in general how they survive.
One lady has a beautiful little boy and she is very proud of him as you can see. Even though they live in what we think is rather primitive environment, everyone is happy and healthy and are so pleased to see us.
They have a lot of crafts set out on sheets on the ground and we wander around and have a look – we can also buy the necklaces that were placed around our necks.
I suppose I could be cynical and say that it is typically touristy but I won’t. I bought my necklace and also a few other items all with the thought that the money they raise will go toward the village and every time I look at my treasures I will think of this experience.
Above is one of the huts – the chief explains how it has been made and then we get to go inside – watch your head! I think it is just for tourist purposes as there is nothing inside, the only thing is that it has a pretty low ceiling and it’s hard to keep on bending over.
The chief is certainly one happy person.
Sometimes I wonder what they think of us. Are they bored witless with us tourists? Do they think that they have been forced to provide a ‘touristy show’ to earn money to sustain their village? Do they wish that they could just live their lives in peace without us asking what most probably seems to them stupid questions? Anyway, I am beholden to the chief and his clan for allowing us into their lives for such a short time.
Back to the camp for lunch but I am not hungry so decide to spend some down time in my plunge pool. It is stinking hot so a nice cool dip should be very refreshing thank you very much. We are not heading back out until around 4pm so I have plenty of time to relax.
This is my own private plunge pool which is on the decking at the front of my tent. Pulling back the cover (there were no little creepy crawlies lurking) the water looks oh so good and making sure I have everything – cool drinking water, towels, waterproof camera – I sink into the depths and laze in this watching life pass by. Animals were free to pass by as well but unfortunately they were also taking a rest in the shade somewhere.
The water is wonderfully refreshing and I just bob around in the cool thinking about what the people at home are doing (yeah right!)
Highlight of the morning – the leopard or the pool? Yep the leopard of course.