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Samburu National Park

January 27, 2010

Finally out of the city! Samburu National Park is located about 350 km north of Nairobi. It was an almost 6 hr drive from Nairobi through a varied landscape. We passed through the foothills of Mount Kenya, where everything is lush and green. Quite a few greenhouses in which roses are grown. Leaving  the foothills, the semi-arid plains opened up and the last hour of our drive was a rather bumpy and rough ride.  A taste of things to come.  We checked into our lodge in time for a late lunch and left for our first game drive shortly after. Luck must have been on our side, since we saw a leopard only about an hour into the trip. It was quite the sight!

What a gorgeous animal! And this at the beginning of our trip! Everyone was quite excited. Over the next 1 1/2 days here we were able to spot a lot more wildlife.  Another leopard, plenty of elephants and these extremely rare wild dogs.

The African wild dog is a vanishing species. It is estimated that only 3.000 to 5.000 animals still exist.  In all his years of coming to Samburu our driver had only seen them three times! Two other species endemic to this area are the reticulated giraffe

and the Grevy’s zebra, the largest of all Zebras.

Passing by the river on the way back to the lodge we came upon these three elephants. I have no idea whether or not they were having a serious argument or if it was just play.

We watched them for quite a while. All of a sudden they just stopped and walked off into the woods as if nothing had happened.

One afternoon we stopped to visit a  local Samburu and Turkana village.   The drought in recent years is a big issue here and money collected from people visiting this village went towards digging a new well.  We finished  with a visit to  their school where the children were eager to meet us.

They were quite fascinated by the magic trick our guide, Ryan Snider, performed for them.

Later on we had another opportunity to photograph a few Samburu  as they were preparing for a dance at our lodge. This young woman was quite beautiful!

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