Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kenya Day 13 - Porini Lion and Home

Since our flight didn't leave until late morning, we were able to do an abridged game drive this morning.  We left around 6:15AM and returned around 8:30AM for our breakfast.  We managed to pack a lot into the 2+ hours though.

The morning greeted us with another nice sunrise:
Sunrise on the Savanna

We went looking for Fig but couldn't find her so we decided to try to find our favorite lion pride.  You know, the one with all the cubs.

On the way, we encountered huge herds of zebra.  They looked fantastic in the early morning light:
A Dazzle of Zebras

Plains Zebras

Even this Grant's Gazelle was enjoying the good light:
Thomson's Gazelle

We were able to find the lions.  They too were enjoying the morning sun up on a rock outcropping.  I think the lionesses were enjoying some alone time:
Relaxing Without Cubs

Queens of the Rock

But, that didn't last long:
Here comes trouble

"Is that a tail?"
Is that a tail?

Luckily, Leia put in one last brief appearance for us:
Oh oh, here comes one

There were also some birds that posed nicely while we watched the lions.

Little Bee-eaters:
Little Bee-eaters

Red-necked Spurfowl:
Red-necked Spurfowl

Since most of the cubs were up out of sight we asked if there was a way around the other side to see them.  The guides said it was too rocky, but we ended up trying anyway since they saw the look in Andreas eyes when she said "cubs"...  But, they were right.  It was really too rocky for driving and the only animal we could see was a zebra before we had to turn around and admit defeat:
The Lone Zebra

But, don't despair because of a lack of cub pictures today.   Here is a compilation video Karen and I took of some cat encounters throughout the trip.   There are plenty of cubs sprinkled in for everyone's enjoyment.

On the way back to camp, we did have one last new reptile.  A Nile Monitor:
Nile Monitor

After a nice filling breakfast, I had time to wander around camp a little bit before we left.  This little Brown-throated Wattle-eye was about all I saw though:
Brown-throated Wattle-eye

With that we had to say goodbye to the great folks at Porini Lion.  We had a great time there and really enjoyed our guides, the staff, the food, and of course all the wildlife.  As we were pulling out of camp the staff all waved to us and Karen commented that they were probably saying "Goodbye crazy banana lady!"

Our transfer to the airstrip took us through the huge herds of zebra we saw earlier and I took a couple pictures from the top of the hill looking back to get some perspective on the sheer number that we saw.  But, these two shots don't nearly show all the zebras that were foraging through the grasslands below us:

View towards Porini Lion with lots of Zebra

And even more Zebras

As our plane landed we said goodbye to Julius and Nelson.  They were excellent guides and very patient with our daily requests for cubs, cubs, and more cubs.

Time to leave

The flight back to Nairobi was direct and nice since the little plane had lots of air flowing.  We were dropped off at the Eka Hotel where we had a day room since our international flight was much later that evening.  We said multiple goodbyes to Tim and Andrea who were once again tremendous travel partners.  We have now conquered both Asia and Africa with them so hopefully there will be more trips in the future since there are more continents out there.  Hint...hint...

To say that our trip was great would be an understatement.  It far exceeded our expectations and is quite possibly the best trip we have ever taken.  The wildlife encounters we had were absolutely amazing and something that we will never forget.

I can't say enough good things about the folks at Porini.  Everything was just about perfect from the moment we set foot in Africa to the moment we left.  We didn't have to worry about anything while on the ground which was really nice.

Kwaheri Kenya.

The End

Here is a final tally of the wildlife counts for this trip.

We ended up seeing 139 new bird species which I of course won't detail out here.  But, that is a really good total considering we didn't concentrate on seeing birds at all.

45 Mammals (all lifers):
Thomson's Gazelle
African Lion
Common Warthog
Masai Giraffe
White Rhino
Grant's Gazelle
Plains Zebra
African Elephant
Vervet Monkey
Unstriped Ground Squirrel
Lesser Kudu
Kirk's Dik Dik
Blue Wildebeest
Bat-eared Fox
Dwarf Mongoose
Spotted Hyena
Yellow Baboon
Bohor Reedbuck
African Buffalo
Golden Jackal
Wild Cat
Scrub Hare
Black-backed Jackal
Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax
Banded Mongoose
Slender Mongoose
Olive Baboon
Spring Hare
Greater Galago
Southern Tree Hyrax
African Leopard
Common Genet
White-tailed Mongoose
Senegal Galago
Yellow-winged Bat

8 Reptiles (All lifers):
Black Mamba
Leopard Tortoise
Flap-necked Chameleon
Red-headed Rock Agama
Nile monitor
Blue-headed Tree Agama
Striped Skink
Nile Crocodile

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