So, why is a giraffe’s tongue black??? I always thought their tongues were weird, black and 18 inches long. If you think scientifically of form to function in any animal’s confirmation, I should know that everything has a purpose. The giraffe spends the day using their long tongues to gather leaves etc. from different plants. Since their tongue is out so much of the time, if it was pink the tongue would burn in the African sun. Being black, it is protected. The giraffe’s saliva is basically an antiseptic because they also eat thorns and their saliva heals the wounds from the thorns quickly. You may have notice the leg bone from the giraffe that Tom and I are holding. It is extremely heavy and could easily crush a lion’ head. The giraffe is a rather amazing animal.
Well I always like to write about the people we are traveling with. One couple, Sandra and Don we have dubbed the “Betty and Ken” of the trip. Cheap, cheap and worry about every penny. We are supposed to be given free water with every meal and they threw this huge fit because the hotel charged them for water. However, thanks to them we got our free water this morning with breakfast. Actually Sandra is very interesting. She has even written a book called Loon Summer about her research. She studies birds to predict the health of the environment. Then there is a mother/daughter duo Marilyn and Gayle. Gayle is a prison guard. Never met a prison guard before, but if I was going to try my luck on the streets of Nairobi, I would go with Gayle. So you now know what she is like.
Back to our landing on the Masai Mara National Reserve. For your trivia, a reserve includes the native people who live on the reserve and the flora and fauna. A National Park only includes the flora and fauna-no people. Anyway our drive here was unbelievable. Our driver told us we were driving through the “restaurant corridor” that the migrating wildebeeste and zebra provide for the cats of this reserve. When they migrate back, cats are stuck with warthogs and deer types so the warthogs and other animals are pleased to see the wildebeeste and zebra too. In fact all of those animals work together to protect themselves. Pretty cool relationship. Our guide was funny explaining wildebeest. They look like they are made out of spare parts and they are very dumb. Not the word he used. He says they are genetically programmed to migrate to provide food for other animals. We saw the part of the river where they cross and it can be very treacherous but if it is time to cross they do. Zebras wait it out. Good thing they are prolific breeders. There are currently about 600,000 breeding females on the Masai Mara. The babies are so cute. Over 100,000 will become food for cats, crocs, and birds.
The hotel is amazing as well. Out our window we saw giraffe, all sorts of hoofed animals, cape buffalo (one of the big five) baboons and more. In our room is a sign that reads, “Baboons can bite and if encouraged will become pests. Ensure all doors including sliding doors are securely locked while you are out of the room.” Now that is not something that you see everyday. On the afternoon game drive we saw elephant families, lions, mongooses, beautiful birds, crocs, we also spotted a leopard but then lost track of him. I thought one of the most fascinating animals today was the hyena. We took a lot of great pictures today but too late to post most of them tonight. We will post more after our morning hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara. We have a 0430 wake up.
…if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it. Freya Stark