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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Neats Visit Kenya - Disturbing The Wildlife Tour

 I never got to do my recap of my family's visit to Kenya - and I know there are some eager readers out there that have lost a lot of sleep wondering how the trip went!

I'll keep it succinct. promise.
They arrived on Thanksgiving Night. It was so so so great to see them at the arrival area at the airport - I was feeling super charged to see them and show them everything. There were big hugs and lots of smiles when we all reunited. I wish we could do it over and over!
Needless to say, they were exhausted from the trip so Friday we planned to keep it local and just see some nearby attractions.
We started the day by fighting some very ugly Nairobi traffic to get to the elephant orphanage. It was POURING down rain. They brought out the cute little baby elephants and they were just sliding around everywhere in the mud. But those elephants are sooooooooo cute - the rain didn't distract us.  For some reason I cannot find the elephant photos from that visit but just to give you an idea, below are the photos from when I took my mom there during her visit:
The clumsy baby elephants like to play with the soccer ball

awww..look at his little trunk

so playful - love those little munchichis
 After the elephants - we went to the giraffe sanctuary where we all got to show some love to the giraffes. Some of these giraffes will be released into the wild. The center was founded as an effort to conserve the Rothschild Giraffe sub-species. We learned alll about it when we went there.
It rained their ENTIRE TRIP. - But everyone was such great sports about it. Happy Campers.

The giraffes head actually makes my brother's look small.

Supa Freak.... of Nature.

Norma and the giraffe - A love story.

Happy Karen

He's eating right out of your hand..literally

My happy Dad


me and my biker man

My sister looking like a tooth paste model  -  beauty!

Right before I almost got a giraffe-head smack down
Okay so the next big highlight of the visit was our trip to the Masai Mara game reserve. That's where we saw the real business. We took a tiny little 8 seater propeller plane from Nairobi straight to the Serena Lodge landing strip - it took about 45 minutes and was a surprisingly smooth ride..but the plane freaked me out a bit.

Always Stylin'

A view of our lodge from the air

Poser - just happy to be on solid ground

The plane suddenly looks even smaller


Doing jumps at the Tanzania/Kenya Border

Karen and Norma holding up the landmark - And the head of david

Making friends with the park rangers...being friends with the guy with the gun is always good.

we took pictures in strange basket chairs at the lodge

The rare Norma mammal - spotted on the landing strip
In our safari vehicle - ready to roll



We saw a TON of sleeping lions

More sleeping lions

And well, it was also mating season - for about 15 seconds

Then more sleep followed

Love these cranes - so beautiful

Perfect little dumbo.
And last but not least - the highlight of the trip. After we stalked a certain leopard by sitting outside the bush it was hiding in for about 5 minutes - it decided it had had enough of us and completely went ape shit (leopard shit?) - see photo - courtesy of David Neat. I'll never forget the sound of that growl. We, including our driver/guide, all freaked out and cranked our windows up as quickly as possible - because it literally lept at us - we all had  teenage girl spasms for a good 10 minutes in the vehicle afterwards.
This is why it's called the Disturbing the Wildlife Tour

After the trip to the Mara, we played around for a couple of days - we went to Lake Naivasha and boated around with a TON of hippo. One said hippo charged our boat, which was exhilarating and has traumatized my little sister for life. I need to find those photos. On the drive back, we saw an interesting logistical situation on the highway - a scooter carrying two men with a live cow between them - don't take my word for it -  see for yourself:

 And then we did some hanging out in Nairobi:

Karen modeled a designer giraffe mask and a giant African cloth purse. It's a great look all around.

David got a haircut

I tried on skirts at the masai market. Everyone bought a ton of good pan-african stuff. We did our part in supporting the local economy that is for sure.

Lastly - I wanted to illustrate the rainy season in Nairobi - It rained for about 4 weeks straight, including the entire duration of my family's visit. The rains were so so strong - it just seemed impossible that the sky could open like that for so many days in a row. It caused trees to fall down and take out power cords and cause tons of traffic issues - people just could not move on the roads - it was horrible and there was flooding just everywhere. The wall that divides our apartment and the one next to us pretty much just collapsed. It was a pretty intense month of rain.

 Okay, that's I'll share for now. It was a great great trip and everyone had a really good time, especially me. It was such a treat to get to show all these people that I love where I live.  It's a beautiful country.  That's why you, whoever you are, should come visit Kenya. It's amazing here.

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