Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amboseli II

I stayed at Ol Tukai Lodge in Amboseli, and I was very pleased. If you ask for an "elephant view" room, your window faces the swamp and you can literally sit on your bed or your porch and watch elephants, zebra and other animals grazing in the swamp outside. You can also enjoy fervet monkeys and baboons around your cabin. Every evening I caught leopard frogs hopping around the grounds. Although this is a bigger lodge than I typically like to stay in, it was very pleasant during low season, and options are limited here. And, while the box lunches are mediocre like most places, the box breakfasts are actually quite good.

I was lucky enough to come across three lions near dusk - two females and a male. The male was laying a ways back from the road under an acacia tree, pictured above in the evening sun. I also spent a long time with a group of elephants in a swamp. It's weird to see elephants with only the tops of their backs and heads showing and the rest underwater! A few photos of those in the days to come.

Overall, my Amboseli experience was actually predator rich. I saw 9 cheetah, over 26 lions in four different prides (including maneless Tsavo-like lions), over 30 hyena, two kind of jackals, and bat eared fox. In addition, we saw giraffe, lots of elephants, zebra and wildebeest, Thompson's gazelle's, Grant's gazelles, and every now and then another herbivore of sorts. I had three days in Amboseli, and I was worried that would be too long for it to stay interesting, but there was enough to see that I was alright with it - though I would not stay any longer than that or you'll be recovering ground over and over; the park is not that big. The view up to Kilimanjaro is nice - but given how dry it was in the "wet" season I would never want to go there in the dry season. The dust would have to be severe and intense.

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