Sunday, September 4, 2011

A monkey stole my apple!

Friday, July 22

Today, Mom and I made the very fortunate decision to ask Victor for an abnormal game drive time, at 10:30 a.m. Our British friends had seen giraffes when they went at this time earlier in the week, so we were hoping the animals would follow the same pattern today. Victor was very accommodating and agreed to take us, even those this wasn't a time offered by the lodge.

As luck would have it, we saw both lions AND giraffes on this drive! The lions were extremely far away, so it was difficult to capture a picture of them, but we could see them (a lion and a lioness) clearly through the binoculars. The giraffes were a different story; they were everywhere! There was a group about eight walking along the horizon, plus four more under a smattering of trees, and finally a momma and baby giraffe crossing the road.


After the drive, we spent the day eating and lounging by the pool. Before dinner, I took my book with me to enjoy an apple and a drink by the main lobby. I set my book and apple down on the table and turned to get some hot tea. I had barely taken a step when I remembered a member of the hotel staff warning me that the vervet monkeys that overran the hotel liked fruit. (He told me this after I ordered a cocktail by the pool. Apparently, the monkeys like to jump up and take the fruit pieces right out of the glass!) I turned around to grab my apple, and a monkey was already sitting on the table, holding it in his creepily human-like hands! The monkey held it to its face guiltily before it turned and scampered up the pillar to hide on the roof, before the Maasai man standing nearby could run over and scare it away. I felt bad for my neglect, especially considering the signs that are posted all over the lodge grounds:


I did feel a little better later, though, when a woman sitting nearby had her soda knocked over multiple times by a persistent little monkey who climbed onto the table to lick up the spillage after she finally moved seats.

After dinner, we went on a night drive with Victor and the British family. This time, though, we had two extra guests: a park ranger with a large shotgun (uh-oh) and another guide with a spotlight to find the wildlife in the dark. Obviously, the timing wasn't very conducive to taking photographs, but we saw several night creatures, including servets, spring and cape hares, bush babies and a black-backed jackal. We also saw SIX lions - which brought our trip total to a whopping eight lions! One lion crossed the road within ten yards of us. I wasn't able to take a photograph, but I did get a video with help from the spotlight:

video

We also spotted several hippos out of the water, accompanied by baby hippos! It was a great last day in Kenya - Mom and I were both very grateful that we decided to do two game drives at unorthodox times. The only animal we missed was the cheetah (our accompanying family got to see a mother cheetah with her two cubs during the 4 p.m. drive), but who am I to complain? I got to spend a glorious three weeks in Africa, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything!

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