Just like last weekend, this weekend held lots of promises and it didn’t disappoint.We packed our bags on Thursday night in preparation for our four-day safari. I didn’t know what to expect. The only safari I had ever been on was at Disney World in Florida and in my book that don’t count. Out of everything on this trip, this was the part were I was entirely clueless.
We were told to be dressed for dinner, so I packed my fanciest clothes and my adventure clothes.We were picked up at 9am by our Safari Adventure 360 tour guides, John and Joseph. I sat in the front seat because it is the best place for sleeping. We drove about three hours to Samburu National Park. We stayed at the Sopa lounge. On getting there, we were greeted with warm towels and cold glasses of juice. It seemed like something out of a movie. The rooms were spectacular and a far cry from our Daraja bandas. Everything was so fancy. We had lunch and soon were off on our first game drive. We saw lots of animals: impalas, vultiline guinea-fowl, gerenuk, dik-dik, yellow-necked sparrow fowl, oryx, waterbuck, lilac-breasted rollers, grant gazelles, warthogs, superb sterlings,etc. Most of the animals we saw on the first day, we saw on most of the other days. I spent that first day basically differentiating between different antelopes. We had dinner and I got to watch Big Brother Nigeria!
We had to be up in time to go for our morning game drive at 6:30am. It was early but it was worth it. We saw like three lionesses and one lion. We followed them around, and watched them do their own thing. I was looking at the lion in the eyeballs and it didn’t even look concerned. I stayed in John’s car, and he was skilled at going into the thickets so that we could get the best pictures. It was amazing. We also saw black faced/blue balled monkeys (vervet monkeys) and a martial eagle amongst other animals. During our afternoon game drive, we chased down an elephant. Not exactly, but we definitely stalked it. We watched it eat, it lowkey started charging at us, and we discussed what the drought meant for animals like elephants who needed tons of water to survive. We saw jackals and kudus as well. The jackals were way smaller than I thought they were, but they weren’t any less vicious.
It was the day to leave, but on our way out, we went on a game drive. We saw a jackal chase down and kill an African hare. A real life kill, there’s nothing like it. We saw olive baboons and a secretary bird. Something unexpected happened. John got radioed in that there was a sighting of African hunting dogs. They are very rare. We gassed it to go see them, and I almost cried. Joseph does and average of five safaris a month, and in the past 15 year, he had only seen them twice and five times in his life. I felt lucky. Most people spot one, but we saw an entire pack. I swear everyone at Samburu came to see them. That was a big highlight of my trip. Read my review here
We stopped at a village in Samburu on our way back,and I wished we didn’t. Once we got off the bus, they wanted us to take pictures of them. Even though it was a women’s village, only the men talked or seemed in charge. They made the children (which were all male) recite the alphabets for us like it was a show. They made racist comments directed at me, and they shooed the women away from their stalls and hiked the prices of the merchandise. I had a mini panic attack and cried. At Sweetwaters Opujeta, we were welcomed with towels and juices. Our rooms were tents with indoor plumbing, weird but cool. We visited a chimp sanctuary during our afternoon safari, and learned some of the challenges that chimps face in our world. We saw elands, grey-headed herron, cattle egret, thompson gazelles, and black rhinos. I did my best to put the sadness from earlier in the day away so as to enjoy the new environment.
During our morning drive, we saw a white-bellied buzzard, buffalos, kongoni/hartebeests, and caught a glimpse of northern white rhinos from behind their fence. We visited the rhino sanctuary and learnt about how close rhinos were to extinction. There are less than 50 black rhinos left in the world, even less Southern white rhinos, and only three Northern white rhinos. The Northern whites are constantly tracked and protected and funds are being raised to perform IVF with the egg and sperm, but put the fertilized egg in a Souther white rhino. Northern and Southern white rhinos can’t interbreed. The last Northern white rhinos are all at Sweetwaters but it cost more to see them. We returned to daraja. On our way, we got to watch some equator magic known as Coriolis effect. Water spins a different way depending on what side of the equator you stand on. With that, my weekend came to an end.