The last leg of our trip was a few days in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and then on to the Maasi Mara to conclude the trip with four days of amazing wildlife photography. Let's start with Lewa, a unique place where wildlife preservation is the purpose of the Conservancy. Like the rest of Kenya, there are lots of animals in Lewa, migrating across Africa, but the population most focused upon is the Rhino. Poaching is a serious problem for Rhino's and you will hear more about this on the podcast in this blog. Here is a Rhino from Lewa, that I photographed on one of several days we observed these majestic creatures.
One example of the White Rhino in Lewa
Be sure and listen to the podcast to hear about the efforts and costs in protecting these animals from extinction. Lewa has the full range of animals you see in Africa, the major difference is the extent to which The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy goes to protect the Rhino. A small army of armed police roam and watch over these creatures from poachers. With all the animals free to roam and move on, the task is daunting, but best described by Frans when he discusses the issue. In the meantime, check out http://www.lewa.org/ for more information.
Next we stopped in the Maasi Mara for four wonderful days of photography. We stayed on the Mara River at the Serian Camp(to get a glimpse watch this) , a great place with the sounds of Hippo's snorting at night. As you will hear in the podcast, the abundance of wildlife in the Mara is unbelievable. You land on a dirt road, no buildings, just your Rangerover(hopefully or you are screwed), to drive you into the bush. We did game drives twice a day, balloon rides, tracked animals, watched, saw and photograhed so much wildlife, at the end of this Safari, I had nearly 10K photographs. The Mara is truly a wildlife photographers paradise and here are just a few examples of what we photographed. The young and the old Giraffe.
The young and the old lion and going out with Jonathan Scott of The Big Cat Diaries. Jonathan went out with us one day to visit the Marsh Pride. Check out his work at http://www.jonathanangelascott.com/
The young feeding, in this case on a Zebra
The young and the old showing affection.
The handsome young posing like a "rock star"
And one of the most feared animals in Africa
The Topi looking like a sentry for predators but not really, he is staking out his territory. A common citing on the Mara
And for birders the Lilac-breasted Roller(hope I'm right), one of the prize birds of the Mara.
Also common the Gray Crown Crane, on beautiful bird with quite a mating dance.
To hear more about this place, from the perspective of others and listen to Frans and Christine talk about their work, click on the podcast embedded in this blog or click on the Maasi Episode listed in the right column.
Well this is the last of the podcasts while on the Safari, I plan on an upcoming one, talking about what I learned about the "right gear" for such an adventure in Africa. To say the least I learned a lot, but I was lucky with my choice of equipment but most of all with choosing Frans and Christine as the Safari Leaders, they are wildlife specialists, world renowned as videographers, photographers, and writers, and their explanations as well insight helped make this a trip of a lifetime. Also a special thank you to David and Patrick our guides as well as Lydia and William of Origins. All of the camps I have written about were wonderful as well as great experiences. There is so much to see, to learn about, to appreciate, that at times it is overwhelming. Africa is a wonderland of opposites, great good and evil, chaos and tranquility, but most of all change. Rwanda with a terrible past just a few short years ago is peaceful, clean, and tranquil today. The wildlife that is abundant today is struggling, no one knows what a decade will bring, or when the last wild Rhino will disappear. There is nothing profound that would do Africa justice, it is what it is, and as a westerner, I have never seen anything like it.