“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day 5 - Thursday, Malika and her cubs

Finally clear sky! when we left at 615am we could definitely see stars! not many, but they were definitely visible... our 1st sunrise of the trip!! closely followed by more lions and some hippos in the water. We spent a bit of time with one of the known female cheetahs, called Malika, and her four cubs - but they were pretty lazy and lying flat out on the plains for most of the time - worn out, so we left them and went for a picnic breakfast by a river under the trees which was just gorgeous. The rains had caused a few problems across the area as crossing points became a little more exciting than usual - this particular one we didn't bother with - Charles' gut instinct told him to cross further up - you didn't hear any complaints from us ladies in the back - we've already seen a massive Nile Crocodile disappear into the water as we plunged across in the truck a few just metres away.
There's been excitement in camp over learning (and subsequently managing to recall) the various names of collective creatures, such as a troop of baboons or my personal favourite, a dazzle of zebra... today we saw a journey of 12 Giraffes (when moving they are known as a journey and when stationary they become known as a tower). Camp guests have become so obsessed that Emma has printed out pages of lists for everyone - I can barely get the animal names right, let alone the collectives as well.

Kiki (Greek wildlife photographer) arrived today, but sadly, his luggage did not. We also have Richard Costin in camp at the moment, another impressive British wildlife photographer, here with his student, Dave, and his Nikon gear to try out - the same lens I have - 80-400mm f4.5. Excited to see what he makes of it.

Abraham, our Masai waiter, serving our table again today and since I am of course the piggiest of all the camp guests, I am always the first to the alfresco dining table with my plate of food -which also means I get to spend some time chatting to him about his life in the Mara and his family - truly fascinating. Depsite the leftovers being made available to these tribesmen, they prefer to eat only their typical diet of Ugali and Matooke with various relishes. Not the choice I would make given the delicious alternatives on offer here.
After a bit of a rest and the usual clearing down of cards and transferring to remote hard drive for safe storage we were off again at 4pm.... this time chasing Vervet monkeys, Olive baboons and Imani, an 18 month old Cheetah alone on the plains. Then by sheer accident we spent time with tiny lion cubs 2-3 months old... it seemed every place we chose for a pee stop, kept popping up lions!

We also had our first sighting of Fig the Leopard towards the end of the afternoon, and she didn't disappoint - bounding down the rocks in front of us, and pausing a few feet from the front of the truck before moving off on her way to hunt a baby Impala in the approaching darkness. Astounded how well the D4 performs in low light conditions - simply magic.
Whilst Kiki was shooting giraffe silhouetted against a lightning storm on the horizon (for his new book about light), we drank sundowners 200 yards away from Fig. What more could anyone want.

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