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I was on safari in Africa... Roho Ya Chui - photograpy courses

Ute Sonnenberg, Wild life photographer Ė photography courses Ė Africa
Roho Ya Chui


I was on safari in Africa and it was pouring rain and it was hot. It was tough and it was beautiful and it all started in Nairobi.
Departure 8.15 in the morning. The safari vehicle was waiting for me with Paul the driver and Alex the cook. Alex was tired. He had worked a lot and
fell a sleep as soon as the vehicle started to move. We headed towards the Masai Mara through the suburb Muthaiga to get onto the road to Mai
Maihiu, a more scenic road than the A104 they said. Iím actually not sure if the road was more scenic. For my feeling it took longer than the highway
and it was probably not such a good idea, because it was already a long drive to the Mara. Anyway we took this road and it was a good road, built
by Italians after the war. After Mai Maihiu the road was really bad. I guess lots of traffic to the Mara from Matatus, safari mini vans up to trucks and
4x4s like us. It was hot, dusty and bumpy. The road went through dry land. Every now and then a settlement or market and some animals, most of
them cattle, little wildlife.

We reached Narok after a three hours drive and had a break at a gas station. Narok is a busy town and it seemed that everybody took a break
there to get ready for the Mara. Lots of mini vans with tourist, having a last or first (depends where you come from) bathroom stop, a drink and a
snack. A good business for the inventive, friendly and persistent vendors. The gas station was fine, except that there was no gas. So, Paul
went off to get some somewhere else and we hit the road again. The tar road stopped shortly after Narok and from there it was a bumpy dirt
road to one of the gates. After an hour and a half we entered the Mara through the Sekenani Gate and it was like a miracle. It was dry land until
the gate and from there it was green with plenty of wildlife. It almost felt like entering a zoo, like the animals know they are supposed to be there,
because itís the famous Masai Mara with lots of wildlife. It made immediately everything worthwhile, just to be there with the animals.
Another 40 minutes drive brought us to another gate, the Talek Gate where we pitched camp just outside the gate at the Crocodile Campsite. This was
after a 6 hours drive, including the stop in Narok and we drove just 245 km.

The campsite was next to the river Talek and a bit further was the Masai shopping center. We choose a nice spot and two Masai came to help
setting up the tents, which was nice, I guess for all of us. Alex the cook was very strict with the kitchen stuff. Nobody was allowed to touch it and
he set up his kitchen in a secure cabana, which has the function of a kitchen. Secure means for the food. The animals canít get to it and that
makes the life of the cook much easier. The facilities where ok. Simple but tap-water, shower, a sink and dry toilets. And my tent looked good as well.
A light dome tent with enough space for me and my equipment. So, everything looked good and I was ready for a small snack and off on the
game drive.

We drove for 15 minutes and there was a leopard in a tree and we drove another ten minutes and there was a pride of lions and a cheetah with
three cubs. This is unbelievable. Three big cats in one game drive just around the corner from the camp. But thatís also a result of the Mara of the
cell phones and because itís so crowded with vehicles. The Mara is quite flat and open and when you see more than seven vehicles looking at
something you know itís a cat sighting. If there are no vehicles in sight, just call other drivers and theyíll tell you. I was struggling with that a lot. On one
hand you see really lotís of animals and on the other hand itís a disaster with all the vehicles on the cat sightings. About fourteen vehicles fighting
for the best spot making a game drive a competition and stressful event for all, the drivers, the guests and the most for the animals. There are rules,
some kind of, but it seems a sport to get around them. It annoyed me a lot that I had to spend so much energy on anger about vehicles blocking a
sighting forever, driving through the picture and getting so close to the animals that they almost drive over their tail. It started raining, or no
actually it was bucketing. Great to see and lovely shots of wet cheetah cubs playing with mum. And I was worried about the tents.
When we got back to the camp the rain had stopped and unfortunately there was reason for worry. My tent was leaking. It came through the
stitches where bottom and top were stitched together and it was all around. The nice tent became smaller. Luggage and mattress in the middle and
toilet paper around as a safety belt to soak up the rain. I told Paul and Alex about the leaking and Paul had the same in his tent. We would call the
office in Nairobi the next morning to ask for flysheets to cover the tents and the fridge was also not working, so this was on the list too. The dinner was
delicious and I had an early night. A leopard was calling next to my tent. I thought, yes, thatís what Iím here for. Wonderful.
... to be continued ...

find the complete story of 21 days in Kenya on Ö
solamie.blogspot.com
www.rohoyachui.com

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