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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kenya and Tanzania Safari: OVERVIEW

I have not been posting recently due to a tremendous amount of travel. I spent a week in Idaho attending a wolf tracking course (more about that in future entries) and then four days later the family and I left for our summer vacation to Africa! I have many photos posted to our Picasa page if you are interested.

Gerenuk, Samburu National Park,
Kenya 8/11
 We arranged our safari through African Servalcat Safaris and had an amazing adventure. We selected the 14 day Kenya/Tanzania package and cannot say enough good things about every aspect of the trip. We started inquiries in December (for our August trip) and found that Servalcat's owner Sylvester answered every question I had promptly and gave me a sense of comfort regarding the trip and all the details needed for my wife, 15-year-old daughter and I to have a successful vacation. As the date of our departure neared, we began peppering Sylvester with questions both big and small that we had forgotten to ask earlier. By the time we left, we were excited and confident! Sylvester met us at the airport in Nairobi with our driver guide William. Our safari began the next day and lasted for two weeks, In that time, we visited seven parks in two countries. We saw 44 species of mammals and many more species of birds. We witnessed behaviors, some of which were truly remarkable (and will be the subject of future posts).

Below is a list of the mammals we identified on the trip (in the order we saw them):

-Cape Buffalo
-Boher Reedbuck
-Common Waterbuck
-African (Cape) Hare
-Spotted Hyena
-Black Rhinoceros
-African Elephant
-Masai Giraffe
-Olive Baboon
-Besia Oryx
-Kirk's Dik-dik
-Grevy's Zebra
-Tompson's Gazelle
-Unstriped Ground Squirrel
-Dwarf Mongoose
-Rock Hyrax
-Bat-eared Fox
-Black-backed Jackal
-Slender Mongoose (ran across road while travelling between parks)
-Black-faced Vervet Monkey
-White Rhinoceros
-Common Zebra
-Bush Pig (under bird feeder at lodge)
-Coke's Hartebeest
-White-tailed Mongoose (came to bait station at lodge)
-Greater Bushbaby (came to food in lodge)
-Yellow Baboon
-Lesser Kudu (saw single individual outside of Amboseli National Park)
-Zorilla (on the road to Ngorongoro, after dark)
-Common (or Golden) Jackal
-Side-striped Jackal
-African Porcupine
Yellow-spot Rock Hyrax
-Sykes/Blue Monkey

African Elephant
(8/11, Kenya)
The list itself is impressive! We also saw (and photographed) a few species of small rodent and bat that I have yet to identify. But the numbers only tell part of the story. Beyond simply identifying the mammals, we really enjoyed spending time watching behaviors. In the coming weeks, I hope to create a series of entries that will do justice to our trip.