When I think about Africa I have Henryk Sienkiewicz in my mind, Polish author and Nobel Prize-winning novelist, who wrote a novel in 1911 named “In Desert and Wilderness”. Book was full of adventures of Staś and Nel, two children, who were kidnapped by Arabs and had to learn quickly how to survive on a foreign land. But book was also full of descriptions. Author showed the beauty of Africa, wild nature, delusive Sahara and life of tribes from remote parts of this continent.
„I don’t want to cry … it’s just the fact that … my eyes are sweating” – said Nel once to Staś. Why do I bring this now? Because all I can say is that my eyes are sweating when I see wild animals in cages in zoo. Squeezed like oranges in a glass of fresh juice. Now, Imagine you live in a room with glass walls and all you can do all day is stare at onlookers? Not very comfortable I guess. So I decided to see lions, giraffes and zebras in their natural environment, which means only one. Safari trip. It was my dream to see the shining fur of wild animals, happiness of being free and possibility to watch how their perfect instinct puts them out of trouble (most of the time of course).
Some giraffes were to be seen on road, but …
… when we crossed Maasai Mara gate, the real safari has started. I liked the way colors are changing all the time (which you might see on different pictures). Clouds are very low, therefore sun is not always visible. From mammals you may see: lion, zebra, giraffe, white impala, gazelle, wildbeest, jackal, giant eland, hartebeest and many others. There’s also many bird’s species, I think there could be even more than 470 of them.
Wildbeest are everywhere, there’s like millions of them, so I was curious why do lions kill giraffes or zebras instead of wildbeets. But it’s not that easy as I found out. Those animals are Big 5 of Maasai Mara, which means they are strong enough to fight with a lion. So it’s common to see lion hidding between trees, looking for opportunity to have a nice meal and wildbeets which are not bothered at all about the presence of another mammal.
Before Kenya I didn’t know there are two species of elephants which are quite different. African species have bigger ears and their shoulder height can reach from 3 up to 4m (Asian one can reach beetwen 2-3,5m). Also contrary to Asian one, both female and male elephants have tusks.
Who doesn’t like to take a nap after dinner?
Lions weren’t easy to find actually. We’ve been searching for them for like 2 hours and all of them were sleeping. During first game I’ve learnt you really have to be carefull and observe everything what’s going on around you. I knew we were close to lions when I saw a lot of bones around us, sometimes they are very distant, but you have to watch carefully and read signs. I felt like on a hunting, the only difference was I didn’t plan to kill any of them and I wish there would be no poachers in Africa.
I didn’t know jackals are that small. However the size of this animal make them very clever, they sneak out between trees or observe other animals and try to steal their food. I’ve seen once how jackal stole something from vulture and run away. Vulture was chasing him until small jackal hid in a hollow. On a second day we saw jackal trying to attack very small and young impala. You may think that small animals are weak and all they can do is wait till someone eats them. However Mother Nature cared about every species giving them something which would be an advantage or predominance. Jackal didn’t succeed this time, because mother of the baby started to chase him. Impalas are quick and it was funny to observe how jackal was running away from angry impala.
Gazelle or impala – who knows the difference between those two?
My favourite mammals are giraffes of course. When you look how they walk you may get the impression they are supermodels on a catwalk. There’s so much grace in that, you can’t take your eyes of them.
When I tried to come closer, the giraffes stared at me. I didn’t have to hear any word to understand I am an intruder. 😉 Animals have amazing hearing, when you’re like 2 meters close, they feel your presence. That’s the reason why on so many pictures animals look straight into your camera. It’s funny because it may look like they like posing, but I assume they try to watch your move and decide whether they should run.
Affrican buffalo belongs to “Big Five”. They look very calm however they are regarded as very dangerous. According to some sources they may kill over 200 people every year.
Life is brutal, so are wild animals. Death is a daily part of safari trip.
One of the thing I was really hoping to was a visit in Maasai Village. I was happy to meet members of Maasai Tribe, who were eager to explain me the rules the whole community follows. Did you actually know that they build houses made of cow’s shit mixed with water and mud? It takes around two months to build one house, mostly it’s a job for women. Men may help with wood used for the construction, so when you add cooking, bringing up children and handmade jewellery to women’s tasks you start to wonder what do guys actually do? From what I’ve observed they relax most of the time and try to entertain tourists 😉 Below you may see traditional dance.
This hat was made of lion’s fur. It might look light but trust me, it’s heavy 😉 Every Maasai has to spend 2 years living in the wild to became a man. Bringing a dead lion after that period is highly recommended, it gives you a respect in a village.
Jumping – very important skill for a man. When you think of getting married you can bargain the number of cows you must give to bride’s family if you jump really high. Bigamy is accepted but you have to be rich to have more than one wife. The exchange is very specific. One wife = 10 cows.
The village itself looked simple, I am not sure I could live in such conditions though but I appreciated the fact everyone contributes to others, they actually help each other and there’s no jealousy.
The tree you might see in the picture plays very important role. During important events the whole community gathers around it to celebrate and dance.
This guy wanted to sell us some bracelets and guess what? He fell asleep. I give him 10 out of 10 for perfect selling skills!