Nairobi is close to the equator,
But at 5,000 plus it's surprising weather.
Not very hot and we're there one night.
The contrast in living is quite a sight.
Our Land Rovers came and we headed out
To Amboseli Park and without a doubt
We'll see more wildlife in the days ahead.
But we make a stop before reaching our bed.
A school for young girls, who need a place
To avoid childhood marriage and even worse fate.
We've brought school supplies and hotel toiletries.
We tour their dorms and other facilities.
Their lunch will be bulghur and cabbage on the side.
The classrooom is bare but the benches wide.
The jewelry we buy they've made from beads.
I've brought lots of packets to replace their needs.
On down the road our rest stop supplys
A chance for more shopping. We bargain and buy.
As we near Amboseli, the Land Rovers get stuck.
The rain residue has turned mud into muck.
All get out to push and finally get free.
The second's not so lucky and that one held me.
They get out the shovel and pack in some rock
To try and get traction. Minutes tick on the clock.
Finally it catches and spins out of the rut.
The third went a new way, and they made the cut.
We reach Amboseli in time for late lunch.
An afternoon game drive produces a bunch
Of Thompson gazelles and elephant herds,
Cape Bufflo and lots of birds.
Baboons are around, as are monkeys at the lodge,
Guinea hens, a few impala and zebra we must dodge.
Our lodge is so pretty, very rustic in looks.
Much like you'd imagine from reading in books.
There's no air-conditioning, but the evenings cool down.
There's a beautiful pool if the time could be found.
But busy we are, game drives twice a day,
And a visit to Masai Village where again we pay
By buying their crafts and donate to their school
Which doubles as a church as they learn the rule.
Their colorful garb and shoes made of tires,
Their houses surrounded by a thick mesh of briars
To keep out the wildlife and keep in their stock.
And the houses so simple, I don't mean to mock.
Two beds and a fire pit and so dark inside,
Two slits in the wall and the beds are cowhide.
The women build these using sticks and cow dung,
Elephant grass and then elephant dung.
The houses are round and built close together.
They mostly cook out unless it's bad weaather.
A man may have more than one wife.
But they have separate houses for their way of life.
Many are Christians. We heard one preach.
He's young and sincere and school he does teach.
Back at the lodge after lunch we saw
A video on elephants and that's not all.
It started to rain so we delayed our game drive.
We still saw a lot when we went out at five.
We had our last dinner before leaving next day.
We see lots of game as we go on our way.
Ostrich and zebras, buffalo too,
Baboons and gazelles and an impala or two,
Giraffe and wild donkeys, camels and goats,
Guinea hens, crested cranes and our very last hope
To see a rhino is dashed as the park's left behind.
Perhaps Masai Mara is where we will find
Those and the Cheetahs, for just yesterday
We thought we saw two as they fed on their prey.
They were at such a distance, I couldn't be sure,
But the rest in the Rover said it was true.
For a brief moment, Kilimanjaaro peeked out
Of the clouds and it caused all of us to shout.
The rain caused a rainbow and arced o'er the sky
From one side to the other. Was a sight for sore eyes.
We got to Nairobi for a tasty game meal
At Carnivore Restaurant. Man, what a deal!
Then a charter flight takes us on the park
At Masai Mara and before it is dark
We go on safari to see what is there.
The lions seem to be out of their lair.
Three of them lounge in the open grass.
We circle around close and as we pass
They're calm as can be, ignoring us.
We watch quite awhile without any fuss.
But what thrilled me most was the cheetah we found.
There with three cubs lying on a mound.
We got up real close and she paid us no mind.
We watched a long while and then in time
The cubs began playing and chasing each other.
And finally off the mound came the cheetah mother.
She looked all around as though seeking her prey.
So we left her alone until another day.
We also saw animals we had seen before.
The topi was new and maybe we'll see more.
Next day we were up before it got light,
As in a balloon some would take flight.
They say it was awesome. In addition to that,
They had champagne brunch down in the flat.
The rest took a game drive in the cool morning air.
Saw a big herd of zebras and warthogs, a pair.
A lonely giraffe, five elands were there,
Gazelles and impalas, as always, so fair.
Three cape buffalo up close plus a far-away herd,
Hyenas were five and still lots of birds.
A monitor lizard lazed in the sun,
Six lions lolled up close before we were done.
Approaching the lodge, a dik dik appears,
They mate for life, the little dears.
Breakfast was bountiful, as always the case.
Free time until lunch to enjoy this place.
Our adobe lodge is built on the edge
Of an escarpment with rooms perched on the ledge.
The Rife Valley below and mountain surround-
It's a beautiful sight from sky to the ground.
The weather is pleasant. No need for A/C.
Although on the equator, it's hard to believe.
In fact, on the game drives in the evening and morn,
A jacket is needed to keep you warm.
Our altitude here--just over a mile high.
The birds chirping sweetly as overhead they fly.
Lunch and then later, trivial pursuit.
Chris tested our knowledge. It was a hoot!
We seemed to do better on animal ID's
Than political history and geography.
On the evening game drive we saw much the same.
They were out in full force, everything you can name.
Two dik dik appeared but they are so shy,
No pictures we took as they skittered by.
Went down to the river and saw hiippos noses.
And giraffes with their long necks struck elegant poses.
But new to our list was a hartebeest today.
It dashed through the topi and went on its way.
An interesting sight was the cheetah and lion.
The last chased the first and I swear I'm not lyin'!
The cheetah stood his ground so the lion turned around,
Went 40 feet away and lay down on the ground.
She never looked back to see if he moved.
Ignored him as though she had nothing to prove.
But the cheetah watched her and after awhile,
He decided, he too, would lie down in style.
At dinner, a surprise, as the chefs and wait staff'
Paraded through the room, singing first class.
One carried a cake, birthday candles on it.
Proceeded to the table where Lavone did sit.
We all sang Happy Birthday, to her great surprise.
They got her up to march with them. You should have seen her eyes.
Outside on the patio, the full moon beamed above,
The fire pit blazed its glory as the strummer sang of love.
The morning brought the fog in, couldn't see a thing,
As we started down the hillside, we hoped 'twould not bring rain.
On further down it lifted, as we went on our search
For more exotic animals, like eagles on their perch.
Zebras, impalas, gazelles, buffalo,
Ostrich, giraffe and cranes, don't you know.
Topi and warthog, an Egyptian goose,
Hartebeest and plovers and vultures on the loose,
Two jackals with four little pups, an elephant with a baby,
A cheetah with two young cubs, was certainly a lady.
We then confronted two male lions. They stopped us in the road.
A fitting end to our game drive, cameras we reload.
It's back for breakfast, we're running late.
We're anxious to eat and try the new pancake.
Before lunch we hear an interesting talk
By naturalist, John, at the end of the walk.
He describes the environment of things in the park,
Of conservation efforts and how they make their mark.
After lunch we're treated to a kitchn tour
And learn to make ugali--the measurements not sure.
It's like a thick corn pone, rolled around in a ball,
Used to scoop up the filling and hope it won't fall.
Kale, tomato and onion make up the vegetable part.
Cubes of beef and onion begin the second part.
Add a little garlic, a touch of tomato too,
And you have got an African meal that will surely satisfy you.
Our evening ride did not produce the rhinoceros we sought,
But did come up with other things that our cameras caught.
A pride of two lions with a baby cub, plus a pride of six up close,
A baby elephant among the herd was something they can boast.
A waterbuck was added to the others that we've seen
As well as the usual assortment of game that's on the team.
After evening repast, we watched a video
About endangered rhino and how they're dwindling so.
Our final safari in the morning culminated with a surprise.
But before we learned about it, we found out that Samuel lies.
But first we found three lions, adults with manes so long.
Then eight giraffe were browsing and galloping along.
Then we happened on a rarity marching down the road,
Three lionesses, two juveniles, two cubs a few weeks old.
Down by the river, enormous herds of zebra and impala.
They came to get a drink of water here where it is shallow.
The crocodiles were eyeing them to see if they would dare
To try and cross the river here as if they had no care.
We glimpsed a dik dik in the brush, but he was quick to flee.
And many other animals were there for us to see.
Back to the lie that Samuel told, he said he'd take us down
To see albino hippo, by the river they'd be found.
We stepped down from our vehicles and walked on through the brush.
Sure 'nough there were hippos...and champagne awaiting us!
They were not albinos, that part was Samuel's ruse,
For breakfast was awaiting us, the lie was to confuse.
The kitchen staff had set up tables along the riverside,
Complete with linen tablecloths as though we were inside.
The buffet line provided the usual breakfast fare--
Bacon, sauasage, eggs and breads, pancakes the chefs prepare.
Fruit and juice, potatoes too,
Coffee and tea and a wonderful view.
Hot towels were provided to freshen up.
And tented toilets before we sup.
Another surprise was a birthday cake,
Especially for Gail, the chef did make.
Our time in Kenya has been well spent.
We got what we came for--worth every cent.
Now it's back to Nairobi for one last night.
Then on to Cairo before daylight.
This is the third chapter of my recent triip to Africa. More will follow.