January 18th, 2003

Hard to believe is only day 3. Feels like 3X that at least!

Woke early again. Shower a bit temperamental.

Bkfst buffet - much like previous.

Saw balloon up. Had to take pics. Also purple plants & friendly lil rodent.

Plan today am is go along rivers, look for lions & leopards.

Am running out of adjectives to describe this place. Is stunning.

Friendly lil rodent is Rock Hyrax, actually relative of elephant!

Outside main door were mongooses (mongeese?) sunning on rocks. On steps was colorful lizard.

Saw lots of impalas - young males, then large herd unescorted ladies. Males probably fighting. Typical guys. No lions yet.

Guinea fowl running ahead of vehicle, don't want to go into grass because is still damp, & too lazy to fly.

Elderly male cape buffalo all by lonesome. Would not give us face shot. Still no lions.

Troop of vervet monkeys w/babies. V. cute!

Camera being difficult. Turned out to be batteries. Hope doesn't effect pics. Still no lions.

LIONS! Female scout guarding group of mamas w/3 month cubs. Took about 2 doz pics.

Giraffes hanging out w/yellow barked acacia - also called fever trees.

Went to much ado about leopard tree. No leopard today.

Muddy lows make for fun driving - let's twist again!

When we pass other landrovers, we stop, guides exchange who's seen what where.

Wound up back by lions - had moved, two up tree, rest hiding in grass.

Recent hvy rains make for many ruts, lots of bouncing. Recommend large breasted women wear supportive bras!

Stopped at hippo pool, now complete w/hippos. Took enough pics to make Craig jealous.

Pic of starling on acacia. V. colorful in sunlight.

Solitary waterbuck - tried to take pic, but much like tree, well blended.

Passed by large herd cape buffalo - many pics. Had to go on before watering road as cape buffalo mean & dangerous.

Lil way on were straggling cape buffalo - watched in distance by cleverly hidden pride of lions. Lions too far, too cleverly hidden for pics. At least six lions, one male. Looking for lunch. Seems mean & dangerous is relative - one critter's dire enemy is another's tasty treat.

Other guide (semi-lost) said were 16 lions including cubs.

Went off road (naughty!) - got up close & personal w/lions. Male, females, cubs.

Looking for leopards in all the wrong places - drove around Masai Kopjes, but no leopards. Did see eland, but was camera shy.

Still no leopards. No cheetahs, either. Landscape v. pretty, though.

Passed two vultures Then encountered herd of elephants enjoying mud bath - right in middle of road! Many young elephants - tusks at 2 yrs. If under mama's belly is under 3 mths.

Drive through elephant's mudbath v. tricky.

Later saw three waterbucks. Still no leopards or cheetahs.

Found a topi who was not camera shy. Snuck up on him v. slowly. V. nice topi!

On way back to lodge for lunch, saw assorted giraffes & topi, also impalas.

At lodge many colorful lizards sunning selves on rocks.

Have discovered braiding hair works best. Also useful for holding pen. Take off birks when in vehicle so can stand on seats when game viewing because am short. Feel v. hobbitish.

Must buy more film. Am over halfway through stash & less than halfway through trip. Will cost fortune to develop.

Lunch v. good, but v. filling. Think prefer boxes - eat less.

Nap & read before afternoon game run. Rereading Tolkien while on safari makes whole thing even more mythical.

Woke at 3:15, headed out for pm game run 3:30.

More giraffes & impalas. Craig's hippos not in pool. Must have other spot for pm.

Heading different way from morning, looking for big kitties.

Stopped for elephants who didn't cross road - had conference in bushes instead.

Stopped at river, but no animals there. Took pics anyway, because v. beautiful.

Next river spot did have hippos! V. good photo ops, including yawn.

Then went to other hippo pool. Full of hippos! Up & down, up & down - adult hippos can hold breath for four or five minutes. Some mock fighting. Babies there, too. Usually v. big crocodiles, but in hiding today.

The encountered 3 jackals - different breed than yesterday's.

Next met dik-dik, smallest antelope.

Long drive on track through bushes, v. beautiful. Saw giraffe & couple of bachelor impalas, but no big kitties.

In open field, saw hippo walking. Probably loser in fight, heading for quiet river. Hippo spooked giraffes.

Wonderful drive. More elephants, giraffes, dik-diks, impalas, vervets, vultures, guinea fowl. Still no big kitties.

On way back to lodge, saw herd of topis. V. unusual.

Still no big kitties. Disappointing, but not v. as have seen so many other wonderful things.

Went to bar before dinner - spectacular view. Had beer (Safari, better than Tusker) while it got dark, then watched thunderheads & lightning. Got pics of the moon, then in to dinner.

Dinner buffet & BBQ - don't seem to know that lamb kebab is a redundancy.

Bought out lil shop's supply of Kodak Ultra. Also t-shirt & other lil things. Then off to bed!