Thursday, August 15, 2013

Farewell Masai Mara - 07 Jul 2013

African Paradise Flycatcher
We left the Mara Serena Lodge this morning promptly at 8 am. Good news, our LL Bean Visa worked at checkout. As we walked to breakfast I found a White-browed Robin-Chat in the garden and got poor shots of it. After breakfast I was able to refind the Marico Sunbird near the lodge terrace. Down on the Mara plains I counted 14 Elephants and three Giraffe, including one baby.

Heading straight for the Mara Bridge Gate we encountered no significant wildlife. At the bridge we had to show our receipts from our entrance, and apparently they had questions about mine? It was squared away and we continued for the Main Entrance Gate. A Lilac-breasted Roller posed next to the road for some nice photos and we were able to get some flight shots, as well. A family of Giraffe were next to the road, and a bit later we came upon a herd of Elephants. The road became increasingly rough as we drove, but we managed to get through the giant pot holes that almost swallowed us on the way in.

Coqui Francolin
A quick Hippo Stop at the Keekorok Lodge, then onto the Main Gate. A pair of Coqui Francolin were in the road ahead of us and I was able to get some photos.

We would encounter the last herds of Wildebeest and Zebra inside the Mara.  Large herds of both were near the main road, and we had to stop several times while the animals crossed in front of us and behind us.  Meanwhile, we took the opportunity to see more Lilac-breasted Rollers.

Once past the guards at the exit of the Masai Mara NR we started for the city of Narok. The road was unpaved and extremely rough, dry and dusty. Each time a vehicle passed we had to roll up the windows, which meant baking in the mid-morning sun. A big rut later and the sound of another busted shock slowed us to a stop.

Charles pulled into a roadside garage, (the Moruo Omarou Garage & Spares) a shack among a string of roadside shanties, and asked for a repair. For the next hour we baked in the van as a mechanic repaired the shock and a leaking oil hose. Soon we were back on the road. For the next several hours Charles fought ruts, dust and mor dust. We were covered. The skies had a haze of smoke and dust, and we were covered.

At one point a security Checkpoint pulled us over. Charles had to show our park receipts to prove that we had paid for each night' stay. While he was doing that the van driver ahead of us got out of his vehicle, walked around the side of the building with one of the guards, handed him a wad of bills, then went on his way. The commandant then approached the guard to split the bribe. Apparently someone was in the park illegally...

Once in Narok we stopped at the small park restaurant and had a late lunch of lemon chicken and beef samosas. The Coke Lite was especially carbonated so we couldn't use straws without boiling over. I had the opportunity to get some photos of the African Paradise Flycatchers that we had seen last Tuesday. Across the street we could hear singing coming from one of the local Churches.

From there we drove to Nairobi, stopping at a small mountain chapel that was built in the 40's by Italian POW's. We thanked Charles for letting me not miss Sunday church.

We finally reached Nairobi and the Village Villa Guest House. We even had time to shower before meeting Nerissa for dinner across the street at the Village Market. It was a nice dinner, celebrating her birthday. Nicco, the owner, even brought out a birthday cake.

I continue to have trouble w the ATM. My LL Bean Visa won't work, and I couldn't remember the Pin to my other Visa. Luckily Robin was able to get enough for us to pay for the driver and van rental for the last five days. We also have just enough to pay for the Guest House, then we are out of cash.


Mark Wloch said...

The Lilac-breasted Roller in flight is even more spectacular than when perched. Beautiful shots.

John Schaffer said...

Hello Jerry, Great story's and fantastic pictures of your trip. With this quality you can drop your subscription to National Geographic. Please add a picture of the truck that you survived in.

t3dewys said...

beautiful as always Jerry. Were the BIF pics digiscoped or tradition photography? Either way they are awesome!!!

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