Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Kenya Day 2 - Porini Amboseli

We had breakfast at 5:15AM which is super early.  But, it was necessary since we had a 7:30AM flight to catch.  We said our goodbyes to Moses and learned that we would see him again at Porini Lion later in our trip.

Our flight left from Wilson airport which handles all the domestic flights.  It was a short drive from the park to the airport.  When we arrived we were escorted personally by an airport employee all the way from our van to the plane.  The service was exceptional.

At this point, I need to back up and mention that for all these domestic flights we were told we would be limited to 15kg (33 lbs) of luggage including carry on.  We figured this would not be an easy task since my camera backpack was 20 lbs all by itself and Karen's snacks probably weighed that much as well.  So, not only did we have to buy a new lightweight bag but we practiced packing to be sure we could hit that limit.  Let me tell you we left quite a few items at home in order to make that weight limit (like my yellow ducky pajamas).

Well, all that trouble was for naught because they didn't even weigh our bags at the airport.  They just went in one end of the X-ray machine and quickly out the other.  The same was true with our next flight out of Wilson too.  Heck we could have packed 50 lbs of plastic bags and no one would have been the wiser.

Anyway, the flight to Porini Amboseli was only about 30 minutes and since all the passengers were ready at 7AM, that's when the plane left.

Arriving at Porini Amboseli:
Arrival Plane

Shortly after our arrival a couple vehicles showed up dropping off folks that were leaving and picking up us new arrivals.  We met Daniel and Amos who would be our guides/spotters for our time at Porini Amboseli and we liked them both.

It was now about 8AM and time to head out for what would be about a 3 hour game drive.

We didn't get far before we found one of my must see animals of the trip.

Gerenuk Pair

These are one of the coolest antelopes around.  They are slender with great looking horns and their ears stick out "Will Smith style" from their heads:
Gerenuk Closeup

But, the coolest thing about them is that they have really long necks and have evolved to stand upright to reach more tender leaves.  No other antelope can do that and it's awesome!

Gerenuk Standing

The Selenkay Conservancy had a lot of birds so here is a taste of what we saw on this drive.

Buff-crested Bustard:
Buff-crested Bustard

Little Bee-eater:
Little Bee-eater

Red and Yellow Barbets:
Red and Yellow Barbets

Black-faced Sandgrouse:
Black-faced Sandgrouse

Superb Starling:
Superb Starling

Long-tailed Fiscal:
Long-tailed Fiscal

Black-shouldered Kite with lunch:
Kite with Lunch

European Roller:
European Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller:
Lilac-breasted Roller

Black-headed Heron:
Black-headed Heron

We also saw some good looking Warthogs (No, I don't think that is an oxymoron).  They must have just come back from the salon.  Check out those blonde highlights:
Common Warthogs with Blonde Highlights

Giraffes were abundant on this drive so we got some great looks.  The coloration of the Masai Giraffe is really pretty and their tails were spectacular.

Masai Giraffe

Masai Giraffe with Young

There is a watering hole close to camp that has a a platform set up so you can get out of the vehicle and see some of the animals from a higher vantage point.  It didn't take long for the elephants to show up.

African Elephants

Showing some nostril:
Nice Nostrils

They made a bee-line for the water.
Elephants Drinking

And they took some mud baths...
Elephant Taking a Mud Bath

The Elephants were great fun to watch.

After watching them for a bit, we climbed back in the vehicle for the short drive to the camp.  Just like at Nairobi Tented Camp, the tent we had was very nice. Notice the Gerenuk curtain to the bathroom:
Porini Amboselli Tent

En-suite Bath:
Ensuite Bath

The Throne:
The Throne

Now, I know you are wondering if I was able to stand up and pee in this tent.  The answer was "yes".  But, photo evidence has been withheld for obvious reasons...

The camp itself was very nice.  The Selenkay Conservancy is filled with large bushes but the camp was built among some cool looking trees.  Before our afternoon drive, I wandered around camp and found lots of things to photograph including the camp itself.
Porini Amboseli

Dining Tent with the Masai "gift shop" back and to the left.
Dining Tent

This little bird bath attracted lots of birds to the camp.

And here's a shot of the typical Safari Vehicle.  This one had OK leg room but the back row did not work for tall people so Tim and I had to sit elsewhere.
Safari Vehicle

The trees around the camp were not only occupied by birds but they were also occupied by Vervet Monkeys.
Vervet Monkey

Northern Pied Babbler:
Northern Pied Babbler

White-headed Mousebird:
White-headed Mousebird

Unstriped Ground Squirrel:
Unstriped Ground Squirrel

Beautiful Sunbird (That's actually its name):
Beautiful Sunbird

Vitelline Masked Weaver:
Vitelline Masked Weaver

White-bellied Go Away Bird:
White-bellied Go Away Bird

Nubian Woodpecker:
Nubian Woodpecker

And finally, another Vervet Monkey:
Vervet Monkey

Our afternoon game drive left at 4:15PM and we got back at around 7:30PM.  We saw quite a bit in that time.

Lesser Kudu:
Hidden Kudu

Von de Decken's Hornbill:
Vod der Decken's Hornbill

More Giraffe of course:
Masai Giraffe

A pair of Black-shouldered Kites:
Black-shouldered Kites

White-browed Coucal:
White-browed Coucal

Our first Dik Dik!  This is a Kirk's Dik Dik and it was really cute but they don't tend to stay still long.
Kirk's Dik Dik

Emerald Spotted Wood Dove:
Emerald-spotted Wood Dove

Black-chested Snake Eagle:
Black-chested Snake Eagle

Male Lesser Kudu:
Male Lesser Kudu

As the sun was going down, we headed back to the camp to have sundowners on the platform by the watering hole.  The light was just about perfect.

Blue Wildebeest:
Blue Wildebeest

If you ask nicely, the Elephants do tricks...
Elephant Balancing Act

Our first African sunset wasn't that spectacular but I liked the cloud formations.
First African Sunset

Some Zebras came in to drink:
Zebras Waiting Their Turn

Plains Zebra

As did some Giraffe.  Although the young one in the back never got up the nerve to actually drink.  Because they are so vulnerable when they drink, the Giraffes were really cautious around the water.

Giraffe Drinking

Drool Much?

At that point, we lost too much light for photos. But, it was certainly an exciting day and we saw tons of wildlife.  The trip was certainly off to a great start.

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