Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kenya - Day 6

(This post is by Lilly Cady.)

The morning started bright and early with a 5:45am wake up. After seeing three lionesses last night, the group was hungry for more. The morning's game drive did not disappoint in the slightest. About five minutes in, we rounded a bend in the road and were face to face with a lion. Barely distinguishable from the grassy hillside, he stalked away from us with only a cursory glance. Everyone was spellbound by the moment, ecstatic with our second sighting.

The excitement only continued from there. After quietly observing the lion's path, we followed it towards the edge of the swamp. We came upon a scene straight out of National Geographic: a lioness, her two male cubs, and the lion we had already seen were lounging in the grass, watching us with mild curiosity. A few moments later, they slinked away into the marsh.

Entirely thrilled, we drove back to camp for a quick breakfast before getting ready for the day's hike. We embarked on a walk through the dry, rocky valleys of the park with two of Lewa's rangers, Tony and Cosiani. Putting our fitness to the test, we climbed up and down steep embankments, admiring the scenery for around 2 hours before finally reaching the ranger's station. After an informative q &a session we finished our hike with a visit to the watering hole. A herd of elephants approached the water as we drew near, and began to bathe in front of us. The smallest of the group, a 4 month old baby, frolicked in the shallows, splashing and spraying and squealing with joy.

Sad to leave, we said goodbye to the rangers and began our drive back to camp. Not even 100 yards down the road, Nissa spotted two lionesses sunning themselves on the far side of the hill. In pursuit, we slowly drove off the road and up the incline until the lions lay 20 feet away. Enamored, we snapped pictures until they padded off into the distance. Another amazing find by Nissa immediately stole our attention: a third lioness sat in a nearby tree, trapped there by a group of grazing elephants. Looking for an opening on the ground, she crouched down, muscles tensing. The seconds crawled by. We stood in rapture, the elephants below the canopy oblivious to the situation above. Finally, with a leap she sprang down, startling the elephants before trotting down the hill to rejoin her compatriots.

After lunch, we decided rest and relaxation was in order. The group headed to Kifaru, one of Lewa's luxury lodges, for a swim. We were treated to an amazing infinity pool and a fabulous view. Everyone took the opportunity to soak up the equatorial sun, lounging under the acacia trees. As the sun began to dip down in the sky we headed back to camp, taking a break for tea and coffee before heading out on our evening drive. The day capped off with a final lion sighting, which included a tense interaction between a skulking hyena and a lioness. We're excited for what tomorrow's adventures will bring.

-Lilly Cady

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