We got up early this morning and climbed into our land rovers for the ride out to the balloon site, where they were inflating the balloon. They had to stop and use a land rover to chase away a hippo that was about to charge the guys holding the balloon during the inflation. Obviously the hippo didn’t like us in his territory. Our balloon driver told us to stay close to the van because hippos are very dangerous. He said that once a lady asked him, “If a hippo bites you could you get tetanus?” He answered her, “No, you get dead! Hippos have been known to bite a human in half if that human is between the hippo and his water.” We got into the basket while they continued the inflation, but the winds became unstable and the balloon pilot aborted the lift off because he was concerned about how he could land in these winds. He said he would rather be on the ground wishing we were in the air than be in the air wishing we were on the ground. They are trying to rebook us on another balloon ride either tomorrow or in Amboseli where supposedly the winds are always stable. Maybe we are the jinx because our balloon ride last year in Egypt, over the Valley of Kings, was also canceled, but at least this time we got into the balloon basket so we are making progress.
So instead of a balloon ride, we went on a morning game drive. A large male Masai Giraffe came so close to our land rover we could almost reach out and touch it. Then we came upon a pride of about 11 female lions with one laying in wait for a herd of wildebeest heading her way. We were sure we were going to be able to photograph a lion kill at extremely close range when the wind shifted and the lead wildebeest turned the herd because he got scent of the female lioness. We did see a number of wildebeest carcasses in the area and the lions looked fat so they have been eating well. Our guide told us that they are filming a documentary about this particular pride of lions, and I can hardly wait to see it. It is amazing how quick you get spoiled around here. I knew we would see a lot of wild animals on this trip but never dreamed it would number into the thousands and we have only been here two days. While I am writing Holly is looking at a herd of about a thousand wildebeests, two different herds of impala, plus giraffes outside the balcony to our room. On the way back from this morning’s game drive we drove though a herd of about a hundred zebras and didn’t even stop to take pictures because we have already seen so many. Of course we are very lucky because by the end of October there are no wildebeest or zebras in the area because they migrate to Tanzania. This afternoon we are going to a Masi Village which should be extremely interesting.
We learned that the Masi are one of the main reasons for all of the national reserves. They believe in living with the animals due to many of their superstitions. They believe all animals should live as intended to live – free. So I guess some superstitions are OK. Interesting, I was surprised to see that their village had dogs everywhere. They told us that the dogs are an extremely important part of the village. They signal when danger is near and by their different actions let the Masi know whether the danger is a lion or some other predator or problem. We all laughed when we heard that because none of us have dogs that could do that. On our way to the village we saw a black rhino with a baby which is extremely rare. So now we have seen four of the big five. We now need to see a leopard. Tonight at dinner we were entertained by a group of Masai Warriors, some jumping close to three feet in the air. Amazing entertainment.
This is interesting! Out side of each room, there is a panic button. In case of fire is normal but then it reads “If a wild animal is within the compound or in your room.” OK, hope I don’t have to hit the panic button.
Every step of the journey is the journey. Zen Saying