African vacation, ver. 2023: Amboseli – elephant-land.

After the brief Bali-interlude, we’re back in Kenya…

First – recap:

Pre-safari Nairobi – done.
Ol Pejeta reservation – done.
Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru – done.
Maasai Mara – done.

Next up, Amboseli National Parkhere. Amboseli is more of the same wonderful wildlife but with the accent firmly on elephants – and with none other than  Mount Kilimanjaro in the background…

We arrive in this here small birdie ->

On arrival we were, like “so where’s Kilimanjaro?” Well, it is over there, somewhere, but on the first day it was obscured by cloud…

Only on the following day did it show its face:

Kili: the perfect backdrop with all the wild animals in the foreground ->

A zebra crossing a zebra! ->

After their brief domestic conflict, the zebras calmed down somewhat – as if mimicking the serene giraffes nearby ->

This hyena must be reeaal hungry – those bones were clearly stripped clean of all their meat long ago. Btw – can you make out the swarming flies buzzing above the hyena? ->

But who’s bothered about hyenas when you’ve got… elephants?! ->

Amboseli is teeming with them: there are whole herds of them roaming about all over, much like the sleuths of bears around Kurile Lake in Kamchatka! Actually, no: we were told how there are around 2000 elephants here, while Kurile Lake boasts a lot more bears than that. But I digress…

Since the elephant is the main “feature” of Amboseli (after Kilimanjaro:), let me tell you a bit about them based on what I observed here…

I. An elephants’ tale.

In the below pic, the group in the middle are she-elephants and their offspring. Male elephants, apparently, live mostly separately. There’s one, away to the left – all on his lonesome…

He comes over to his missus for a chat about this and that, and then they walked on all together…

When we got a little closer we soon found out that they’re somewhat like top celebrities: they don’t like their photo being taken! ->

Actually, it seems it’s not just tourists with cameras they don’t like, but most any Homo sapiens: even the cows’ shepherds sought refuge at the top of a nearby hill upon seeing them in angry mode. Curiously, elephants have no issue with cows – here, practically ignoring the great herd of them nearby! ->

Ok, ok – we’re on our way. You’ve got the upper hand here – and the broken tusks! ->

II. Elephant spa.

It’s hot, it’s humid – especially for the elephants with all that body mass. So if they find a body of water – they’re in it, no matter how filthy it may be! And it’s not just a bath they have; they have self-powered showers too! ->

This is more mud-bath than bath. Just look at this little one – covered in wet mud from trunk to tail! ->

Ooh, this one’s getting close…

And all this (I repeat) with the ethereal Kilimanjaro in the background…

Mom and her teenage son/daughter and new-born: literally a few days old, we were told ->

Plenty of water here to cool off in…

III. The curious elephant.

This here elephant, after his mud bath, took a good long stare at a passing ostrich. Remember – elephants are vegetarian; so, what was he doing? Studying his fellow-savanna-dweller for educational purposes?

Or was he simply turning away from the pesky tourists, and there simply happened to be an ostrich standing in the other direction?

IV. Boys will be boys.

Here are two young males having a play fight ->

Apparently, this kind of elephant sumo-wrestling match is won by one of them placing their trunk on the other’s head! ->

V. Elephant cuteness overload.

Here’s the mom with her newborn baby again, and it’s mother’s milk time! (Elephants’ nipples are nearer to the head – more like a human; less like, say, a cow.) ->

Next up – big cats (we hoped)!…

First – lions, we hoped: there are 18 of them in different prides around here. But we caught sight of their leftovers more than the lions themselves ->

Bones, more bones, and… elephant dung, and more elephant dung. Oof! ->

For some reason – you look one way, and the landscape’s dotted with animals; you look the other way – not a soul! ->

Onward we drive, and notice a few more elephants ->

As per tradition, a portion of ornithology. First up – flamingoes!…

Fantastic feathered creatures. This was the third time I saw them here, and but I never became tired of them ->

No Photoshop – honest! ->

// Apparently it’s their mating season…

Assorted other birdies ->

Beautiful trees too…

Gotcha! ->

Vultures sit atop trees, patiently waiting for Darwinism to run its course so they can swoop down and finish off the leftovers…

It’s dog-eat-dog here; rather – bird [eagle]-eat-bird! ->

This ostrich observed the eagle’s cannibalism, but took it all in her stride…

I’ll close this post on Amboseli with a few pics of and words about the place we stayed here. It was Elewana Tortilis Camp, right in the middle of the desert-savanna ->

That’s reception, while this was our bungalow:

Inside – not bad at all:

Two bedrooms, each with three beds, since we were a party of six ->

All very civilized and nice – and all in the middle of a desert! ->

The views all around – mind-blowing. And of course – there’s still Kili (not going anywhere!)…

Next morning, it was back into the Land Rover and off again for more safariing ->

Highway patrol waved us through, wishing us a safe journey and a nice day ) ->

And that’s that folks. Amboseli – done. More from the African savanna coming right up!…

All the photos from Kenya are here.

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