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Los Angeles, California
December 25, 2004
Salt Lick Lodge packed us three lunches, and we planned to stay all day, returning around 6 p.m. to the lodge. We had heard from other guides in Tsavo West that there were more animals to be seen in Tsavo East and indeed there were. We finally saw giraffes; cape buffalo; hippos; crocodiles; Gerenuk, also called gazelle giraffes (gazelles who stand on their hind legs and eat leaves from the trees); and cute little Dikdiks, which are tiny deer-like animals. We hadn't seen any of these animals at Tsavo West.
It had rained heavily at Tsavo East the day before, so many roads were blocked due to flooding. Since it was a holiday, there were quite a lot of cars and safari vans around.
We ate our lunch in the van under a tree at
Aruba Dam. The lunch box had a sandwich, a chicken thigh and leg, an orange, an apple, a box of orange juice, a piece of marble cake, and napkins. We were usually never allowed outside the safari vehicle, but at Lugard Falls there is a lookout where you can park and walk about 20 feet to view the falls. It is there that we spotted the hippos and crocodiles. They were across the Galana River, but with the binoculars, they were easily observed.
We ended the day with a visit to Voi Safari Lodge for a Tusker beer (Dominic, however, drank a Coke). This lodge also has a watering hole, but it is further down the hill. There is a beautiful view from the bar and restaurant over the flat landscape below. The drive this day lasted 11 hours from the time we left Salt Lick Lodge until the time we returned. As it was such a long day, we told Dominic that we wouldn't do the early game drive the next day so that we could all sleep in. He was very happy at this news.
From journal A Heavenly Kenyan Safari
As it had rained for a few days, there weren't many animals near the water holes in front of the lodge, making the game drives more important. During our many drives, we came across lions, zebra, baboon, impala, waterbucks, tortoises, ostriches, lots of different birds, smaller animals and even dung beetles. We brought our binoculars and camera with us. I wish we had brought at least 10x binoculars (ours were 7X) and a camera with more zoom. Still, every sighting was a thrilling event. Dominic could spot things very far away with his bare eyes. We got better at spotting as our experience increased. We would drive slowly until someone saw an animal. I learned how to say, "please stop," in Swahili, which is what I'd blurt out when spotting something. You say, "Tafadhali Simama.
After the morning drive, we would return to the lodge for a buffet breakfast, ready to share our sightings with anyone who would listen. The afternoon drives would find us taking a different route than the morning drive, returning after 2 hours and heading straight for the deck outside the bar to have a Tusker beer and spot more animals if they were about.