Monthly Archives: June 2013

Carnivore – A Beast of a Feast!

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If you like meat, the Carnivore is a must visit in Nairobi. Rob and I did a lunch stop here on our way from Lake Nakuru to Amboseli, and had an awesome time. As we were seated our waiter explained the “rules” of the place to us.All of the tables have a flag and as long as the flag is up the waiters will keep coming over with different types of meat for you to try. When you are too full you need to take the flag down and they will leave you alone.

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In order to build up the appetite needed for all of the meat, Carnivore serve their own special cocktail called Dawa. It is made of vodka, lime and herbs. Dawa means medicine in swahili by the way, and they call the guy serving it the doctor 😛

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We started out with pretty standard meat: lamb, beef, turkey etc etc. Then after a while the waiters started offering us slightly more special things. Ostrich tasted pretty good, but Ox Balls not so much – not sure why I even tried it I think I just wanted to show Rob that I dared to. They didn’t taste much but felt really strange when chewing on them. We got pretty full after a few more rounds of beef, but decided to ask wether we could try crocodile as well since we knew they had it at Carnivore and never tried before.

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In my opinion, crocodile tastes like a mix between chicken and fish. Pretty cool to have tried, but not something I really have to have again. We decided to give up after finishing the crocodile and put out flag down – the waiter came over asking if it was broken or if we really were giving up.. I guess we didn’t eat as much as we thought?

Even after you give up on the meat there’s more food though, desert is also included in the menu. Luckily I have a special stomach designated for desert only though, so that’s ok 🙂 This was easily the largest lunch we had on our whole trip to Kenya, and probably the largest lunch I’ve had all year.

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Amboseli

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The national park I looked forward to seeing the most on my trip to Kenya was Amboseli, because of it’s location at the foot of Kilimanjaro and the large herds of elephants living there. As you can see on the picture we sadly didn’t get the greatest view of Kilimanjaro, but at least we saw the silhouette as we entered the park. The day after the mountain was completely hidden in the mist – I have to admit I was very disappointed after seeing pictures of how great the view can be on a clear day online. There is no way to control the weather though, so the best we could do was to make the best out of our time there with our without the view.
Every morning all of the elephants living in the park make it a habit to walk to the water, this makes it quite easy for tourists like us to get to see them all up close as they cross the road.

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I was really impressed by just how big these animals can get. That guy with just half a tooth left was a giant – much larger than our safari van! After seeing the elephants cross the road, we found two lions a male and a female. At first glance it looked as if they were just relaxing in the sun, but after a little while it became pretty clear that was not what they were doing at all..

 

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Apparently, lions mate for a whole week. During this time they don’t hunt or eat – they simply sleep and mate with eachother over and over again. We decied to give the lions at least a little bit of privacy (allthough several vans arrived after our guide explained the situation over his radio) and drove to a hill overlooking the park. Here we could get out of the van for a bit, stretch our legs and get a good view of the elephants once more, as they were closing in on the water.

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On this gamedrive we also saw a confused hippo on land, hyenas and zebras among other things – In conclusion: the park is worth a visit in it’s own right even when you can’t see Kilimanjaro 🙂

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Lake Nakuru

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Lake Nakuru is famous worldwide for the hundreds of thousands of flamingos living there. We were really looking forward to seeing this bird spectacle for ourselves, but as it turns out the birds migrated to other lakes 3 years ago due to too high water levels (according to our guide in Kenya). I guess we should have looked into this more closely before deciding to spend a night in the park, but we didn’t see any reason to doubt our safari company that also advertised this on their website. This being said, the park is definitely still worth a visit. There are several other animals still living there including lions, leopards, buffalos and of course the white and the black rhino.

Rob and I only did two short gamedrives in Lake Nakuru, but we had a few really awesome moments. The highlight for me was when we ran into the rare black rhino – this one even had a baby as well!

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The Black Rhino is really really shy – we noticed first hand when we got a little bit closer, they ran into the woods as quickly as they could.

We also saw a really big family of baboons – the youngest only a few weeks old

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We found some lions as well, but they were very tired (look at her stretch haha)999405_515443742828_1707550068_n And here is the white rhino as well 🙂 1010641_515444127058_9699183_n

A Game Drive in Masai Mara

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It is 7.15 in the morning, the sun is about to come out and Rob and I are finishing our breakfast at our lodge in Masai Mara National Game Reserve.

“So what do you think we’re gonna see?”

“I don’t know, animals I guess? Nature?”

“time to meet our guide –  wash down that coffe and let’s go”

As we exit our lodge and pull out onto the main road, we see a huge herd of buffalos. We stand up in the car immediately and start taking pictures. Our guide smiles and tells us most people don’t get exited unless there are lions involved. We like all animals, we answer and take some more photos.

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After a little while our guide tells us he has gotten a call on the radio about a rhino a few minutes drive away. We rush over to check it out, and indeed see a beautiful black Rhino standing under a tree not too far from the road.Unlike the peaceful and social White Rhino, the Black one is both shy and very aggressive – it is also the most endangered out of the two types.

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Happy that we got to see this very rare animal, we keep on going, looking for more animals. After a little while we see a rather large group of Elephants. Having been to the shelter in Nairobi, the fully grown Elephants seem incredibly large, and we feel an overwhelming sense of respect for them. (some of them really are larger than the safari van we are in)

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as we move on, we drive around for a while without spotting any animals at all, but the park is beautiful in its own right and we enjoy the scenery. We decide to make a stop at the Mara River, to look for hippos and crocodiles. As we exit the van and get closer to the river, we hear sounds coming from the water. We quickly realize that these sounds are hippos blowing water out of their noses as they stick their heads up from the river. The group of hippos is rather big and there are even quite a few baby hippos in the mix!

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As I try to get closer in order to get better photos, I am told by our guide to keep my distance – as hippos are known to kill humans for fun. It is hard to belive that these adorable animals are cold-blooded killers, but looking at their size I realize that they are probably more than capable of hurting me if they decide that they want to do so. Some other tourists tell us that they saw crocodiles further down the river, so Rob and I decide to go look as well. Sadly we can’t see anything and decide to go back to the van.

Our guide tells us somebody spotted a group of lions, but that they are pretty far away. We begin our drive to the other end of the park, enjoying the hills, the yellow grass and the occasional group of zebras, gazelles or buffalos. As we get closer to where the lions have been spotted, our guide stops the car all of a sudden, telling us to look ahead. After a few minutes we see it too – there is a lioness walking straight towards us. She crosses the road and keeps on walking right past the van. We keep on driving, and finally reach the rest of the lions – a group of lionesses and cubs resting under a tree.

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For me this is, easily, the highlight of the whole day. I love all of the big cats, and seeing so many small cubs just melt my heart. After we have taken at least a hundred photos, we finally let the guide drive away from the lions. It is time for lunch, and as we wanted more time out looking for animals, we have agreed to eat out in the park. Our guide finds us a quiet spot, where we have a picnic out in the bush – awesome 🙂

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The rest of the day is, sadly, rather quitet in terms of animals. The truth is, you do generally spend a lot of time just searching while on game drives. It is, after all, not a trip to the zoo but a visit to the animals own habitat – and you can’t control nature. After a few hours of not finding much we head back to the lodge. We really enjoyed seeing so many animals in their natural environment, and the park itself is beautiful as well. I am pretty sure I will remember some of these moments for the rest of my life! 🙂

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Seen on the road in Kenya (pictures)

This gallery contains 13 photos.

  Seen on the Highway: A man driving a cart pulled by two donkeys Seen in Nairobi: A furniture store by the side of the road Seen on the  road: A Long distance bus Seen on the Highway: Simba Cement, … Continue reading

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I kissed a Giraffe and I liked it!

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Introducing Lynne!
Height: roughly 4-5 meters. Weight: 900 kgs or so. Hobbies: grazing, making friends and kissing humans. She is a Rotschild Giraffe, living at the Giraffe Center in Nairobi. While the Giraffe in general is not particularly endangered, this subspecies only has a few hundred animals left living in the wild. The Giraffe Center in Nairobi is a breeding center, dedicated to perserve the Rotschild giraffe, and to educate school children. Lucky for me, tourists can also visit the center to feed, play with and (yes!!) kiss the giraffes! 🙂

As we entered the center, we saw a huge giraffe standing next to a platform, where people were feeding and petting it:

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I don’t think I actually realized just how tall a giraffe can be until that moment. We climbed the stairs to the platform, where a keeper met us handing out pellets to feed the giraffes with. We fed the giraffes for a little while, they were actually quite tame and let us pat their long necks as well. We noticed that a giraffes toungue is, as it’s neck, extremely long. In spite of this, I decided to try and go for the giraffe kiss – you only live once right?I gave Rob strict instructions to take a series of pictures, put a pellet in my mouth, and there she was – kissing me with her enourmus toungue,it was quite the experience! My whole face was covered in Giraffe saliva, and my cheeks almost hurt a little as the tounge was slightly rugged. It is still hard for myself to belive that I actually kissed a giraffe, but I do have the pictures to prove it I guess 🙂 In my opinion the Giraffe center is absolutely a must if you ever go to Nairobi!

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Baby Elephants!

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Our first day in Kenya, Rob and I had the pleasure of visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust, also known as the Elephant Orphanage. Visiting the shelter was obviously a great experience for us as we got to see over 20 young elephants up close, but the shelter is mainly there for the animals and it has saved hundreds of orphaned elephants over the years.

As elephants actually take about as long as humans to grow up (they grow up at about 17!) , they are not able to survive without their mothers for the first few years of their lives. Sadly a lot of elephants are left orphaned, especially due to poaching – the mother is killed for her ivory and the baby left to die, terrible! :(The David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust started saving baby elephants already in 1952, and the project is still alive today – devoted to save these amazing animals.

We spent around one hour watching as the keepers fed the elephants, and told us the stories of how they saved them for various reasons, how they are doing now and so on. It was really great watching as the elephants played with each other and we got to pat and play with them whenever they got close to the rope we were standing behind.

It is also possible to adopt an elephant, donating a set amount to the shelter every month. You will then receive e-mails with updates about the elephant you select. You can find more information about how to do this, and about the shelter in general on the shelters offical website: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.

And now, more pictures of the adorable elephants:

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