06.05.2012 - 06.05.2012
Sunday, May 6
Awake at 6 to enjoy breakfast at 7 in the world renowned Thorn Tree cafe. Known for the message system for decades. People would leave notes as a way of communicating with others.We departed with Raphael in our van at 8 and drove through the streets of Nairobi to explore the Karen Blixen museum. She was known for her respect and empowerment of the Kenyan people through her employment and dedication to their education, which continues today on her 600 hectares of land.
We arrived at the Giraffe center, where we were all able to feed Lynn, the eldest of the group of 5, at the age of 16. She was born in captivity and is the primary breeder of the babies which are returned to the wild at about 18 months. In addition to hand feeding Lynn, we all managed to receive a big kiss
Gestation 15-18 months, depending on weather conditions. If it's too cold, they can hold the baby in until the temperatures increase. They are nursed until about 6 months, when they can begin to feed on the soft vegetation. They have only bottom teeth at the front, with a 45cm tongue. They have full top and bottom teeth at the back of their jaw, where they chew their cud. Their saliva contains antiseptic, which helps protect them from the thorny vegetation
One kick from a giraffe can kill a lion. The main predator is a group of wild cats or hyenas.
They are most vulnerable when they are drinking from the watering hole, because they are on their knees, making their necks vulnerable.
There are 3 types of giraffes; Rothschild, Masai (which are the largest, with star like patterns) and Reticulated.
Rothschilds are at the reserve, they have white socks. Females have 3 horns, males have 5. Males grow to 18 feet, females 16. Calves are about 6 feet at birth, and after one hour, can run.
Hearts weigh about 8 kg, and need to pump blood all the way up to their brain.
They eat 30-60 kg perday, but the ones at the reserve, especially enjoy being fed the pellets of wheat and molasses.
We drove and drove and drove until we got to have one pee stop at a lovely Americana Curio Shop, where Louise purchased some tea light holders.
We drove another 1 1/2 hours along a very bumpy, windy road, with periods of rain and sun, but no snow!
Eventually we arrived at the Sweetwaters Tented Camp, inside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where we saw Giraffes and Camels who appeared to be enjoying a local Volleyball game. We were greeted with a warm wash cloth and freshly squeezed juice. Then escorted into the nicely decorated dining room for a lovely buffet lunch, where we watched Impalas at the watering hole and were quickly introduced to George the resident Marabou Stork.
We quickly checked into our exotic homes (tents) and quickly left for our first game drive.
We immediately saw more Impalas, but rounded the corner to see our very first African Bush Elephant!!!!!
On our way to the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Orphan Santuary, we saw Zebras, Warthogs and a mother Elephant with her 3 calves. Shelley is insistent that she had twins, but Raphael says it is more likely she adopted the extra calf.
At the Chimp reserve, we were entertained by Sarcate, Poco and Max and learned much about our close Primate cousins!
On our 2 hour drive home, we managed to locate 7 lions, just lazing by the side of the road. It appeared to be a family; Mufasa, Sarabi, Simba, Nala and one extra, along with 2 other lionesses. We had the luxury of watching them play and torment their parents just like our kids!
We also managed to see Cape Buffalo, Fish Eagles, Giraffes, Jackal and Eland and tons of Guinea Fowl. All in all, an amazing introduction to Africa!
On our way back to our tents, we witnessed 3 Elephants just hanging out by the watering hole, along with multiple Zebras.
After dinner, we returned to find our beds turned down with hot water bottles warming them.