• Norway!

    Norway: Sunnylvsfjord. Go Now!

    Known for its natural beauty, Norway is home to isolated villages, fjords, and mountains that create a culture and landscape without compare. Begin Your Journey!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Spain!

    Spain: Guell Park and Gaudi architecture. Go Now!

    Fusion foods, lively music, historic ruins, and cultural events like the Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina make Spain and Barcelona (pictured) a favorite tourist destination. Explore Spain!

  • Jordan!

    Jordan: Petra. Go Now!

    Tucked away in this Middle Eastern country, the famed city of Petra (pictured) links the past to the present culture. Explore Jordan!

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    Mexico: Sunrise over the mountains in Puerto Vallarta. Go Now!

    Although many people just go for the beaches, Mexico offers impressive mountain vistas (pictured in Puerto Vallarta), great food, and historic ruins that compete with the best in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!


Elephant in Tarangire National Park

Mt. Kilimanjaro

August 6, 2003
Day 1: To Machame Camp

We left the Mountain Village hotel later than we had hoped, at about 9:00 or 9:30 am; we took three safari vehicles. About a mile after leaving our hotel we encountered a market; the dress and the scene were incredible. The people were mostly in authentic dress, but there was a sprinkling of American clothes as well. We struggled to get by, but soon bypassed the area; 45 minutes later our truck got a flat tire and the safari vehicle behind us stopped and helped out. The area we stopped in was rural, with many houses made of concrete walls, but no roofs. Ten minutes after our flat we were again on the road.

We turned off the main road and onto the smaller road to get to the trailhead. Here we got another flat tire in the middle of the banana fields. Unfortunately this time we were the last of the three vehicles and the other two vehicles didn't notice our flat so continued to drive towards the trailhead. Again the flat was the back right tire, but our tire iron was rusted to the truck. Our driver took a rock and knocked the iron off, but this took 15 minutes.

While he was trying to get the iron off, many of us got out of the car and walked around; Neal had to go to the bathroom so wandered into the banana fields and found a farmer's outhouse. Neal pointed at himself and the farmer let him use the outhouse so Neal thanked him with a pack of matches he had picked up from the hotel. This whole area was like a covered patio with little ground growth, but tall banana trees providing a canopy and giving us shade.

After getting the tire iron off, our driver changed the tire in a matter of minutes and we were again on our way. Shortly after this point the road went from gravel to dirt, or I should say mud. The jeep had a hard time, but after much sliding around and hundreds of potholes, we made it to the trailhead.

We all signed in, then I ran to the bathroom, only to find an eastern toilet... more specifically, just a hole dug into the ground. As we got ready to begin our hike, our chef, Hartson gave us our boxed lunches as another Tanzanian guide, Leonce led us up the mountain. Nicholas, our lead African guide had to stay behind for paperwork, but he eventually made it to our camp for the night.

Since it had lightly rained the past two days, the trail was all mud, which contributed to making the day's hike quite the adventure. Many places were puddles of mud about 8 inches deep and on average the mud was about 4 inches deep. The scene, however was beautiful; we were in a rain forest and the trees and vegetation were indescribable.

Neal and I tested our gear and walked trough all the mud and puddles we could find. Mary and Kathleen fell behind from the start... neither had gaiters or waterproof boots. We stopped for lunch at a clearing where we all sat on the muddy rocks and logs, making all of us a mess, but we were going to be eventually, so why not start now.

We continued our hike after lunch until we reached the park ranger's round green welcome hut. Here we all signed in then continued on for about two minutes to our camp. We camped a little higher than the established camp is; it was a little more secluded and right on the path, ready for the next morning's start.

Here, at 9,800 feet, we sat in the woods, not the rain forest we had seen earlier. We reached camp just after the sunset, but just before it got dark. We had steak and potatoes for dinner and they were fantastic; much better than I had expected for "camp food." While eating, our guide, Allen talked about the vegetation we would see the next day and he talked about the fire that spread through the area in 1996 that killed a French climber. Kerrin's comment to this was "not a lose," as he continued to eat dinner without any hesitation.

We have yet to see the actual peak of Kilimanjaro due to the clouds though.

August 7, 2003
Day 2: Machame to Shira Camp

We started the day early to watch the sunrise through the trees. I slept poorly, but managed to eat and find energy to hike. After breakfast we began on a very steady, but rapid ascent to Shira Camp at 12,600 feet. About an hour after we first began we stepped around a corner to see a perfect view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the first time I had seen the peak this trip. It was breathtaking, yet seemed so far away. We took a break here to take pictures and get some water in our systems.

Soon after our break we continued on and left the forest and entered the area devastated by the fire of 1996. It was hard to tell the entire extent of the damage due to our altitude gain; we were now above the heavy vegetation line and so couldn't tell what was caused from the fire and what just couldn't grow.

We arrived at camp around 4:00pm with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the views. I felt great upon first arrival, but soon after sitting down I got a terrible headache that lasted for a few hours. To get my mind off of this I tried to enjoy the views; we had a great view of Kilimanjaro to the east and Mt. Meru to the west. Unfortunately, the views didn't help the headache so I tried to play cards with Neal and Jake; that didn't work either. Only after drinking a lot of water and getting some food in me did the headache go away.

The camp was even more beautiful without a headache; it was sunny and about 75 degrees or so, everyone was in nothing but shorts and t-shirts, but the sun was quite vicious. As the sun began to set, we received the most incredible views of Mt. Meru, a neighboring volcano to the west. Mt. Meru is about 14,000 feet, and if one wants to climb it they must hire an armed ranger because the wildlife on the mountain is dangerous.

At dinner Mary and Kerrin joined Jake, Neal and I, who were still playing cards. We had a series of riddles throughout dinner; a meal that consisted of fried bananas, tomatoes and veggies that were surprisingly good. All the riddles were solved except one: if there were three carnivores and three missionaries on one side of a river and they all had to get to the other side of the river on a boat that could only hold two people at a time, how would they get across... but here's the catch, if there are ever more cannibals than missionaries, the cannibals eat the missionaries. Mary complained about these riddles, yet continued to remain in the conversation.

After dinner we went out of our dinner tents to see the clearest sky I've ever seen; the moon was nearly full and the stars were bright, the glaciers on Kili were reflecting the moonlight; it was gorgeous. I went to bed, plagued by the riddle, however soon after lying down I solved it, but the answer, you must discover yourself.

August 8, 2003
Day 3: Shira to Barranco Camp

I arose at Shira Camp freezing, but well rested. I stepped outside to the bathroom and found our camp in the shadow of Kili and that cooling our entire area; it was probably about 30 degrees and there was frost in a few areas. Ten minutes later, however the sun had risen over Kili and the temperature rose to about 65 degrees in a matter of minutes; it was at this point I stripped off the fleeces and put on shorts and a thin shirt.

For breakfast we had eggs and bacon, which was again excellent and gave us the energy to begin our ascent. Only a half hour into our climb we had risen around 1,000 feet and had phenomenal views of Mt. Meru, our camp, the Shira Plateau, and Kili on the opposite side. The feeling was indescribable; we stood above the clouds and they looked like a floor only 2,500 feet below us. These clouds gave the impression that Kili was an island, on which we stood and Mt. Meru as another, but nothing else, nothing but a sea of clouds reaching as far as the eye could see.

The hike was uneventful, it was a series of ups and downs, none too strenuous. We had lunch on top of a ridge overlooking the clouds, a ridge that stood at 14,420 feet... 9 feet higher than the summit of Mt. Rainer. Our final descent was down a long, steep rocky valley wall to Barranco Camp, which stood at the base of the Barranco Wall. It was on this descent that we saw our only real vegetation of the day: tall trees that almost looked like palm trees on the trunk, but much thicker and at the top they split into a few sections to find leaves almost in an oval like cluster. The rest of the hike had only rocks and dirt, it was very barren, and some said depressing, but I felt like I was on a different world and loved it.

We finished our descent to Barranco Camp around 5:00 and spent the night here, at about 12,800 feet. Again, the weather was great and many of us found our way outside to sit in the sun wearing only shorts and t-shirts again.

Today was Stacy's birthday, she is turning 19 so Allen had all of the porters and Tanzanian guides sing to her. They sang the Jambo song, I first heard at the Carnivore in Nairobi along with a few other songs. It was awesome, but Stacy was very embarrassed. Our chef, Hartson made her a cake.

Hartson made pasta for dinner and afterwards we looked at the constellations of the southern hemisphere including the Southern Cross and Pegasus (the horse body with human head) among others.

We are sleeping almost directly under the peak tonight, I really feel like we were in the mountain's shadow... in its foothills. It's here that you truly recognize the mountain's power and strength. We have been hiking for over three days now and yet it still looks so tall and majestic, the site is not intimidating, so much as it is exciting, it really gives a person a sense of how small we are and just how great this world can be.

August 9, 2003
Day 4: Barranco to Karranga Camp

I arrived to breakfast early along with Fritz and Mary; we have been the first three to breakfast every day thus far, always waiting for everyone else. It's been nice though; I've gotten to know them fairly well and it's quite relaxing. Today's breakfast consisted of French toast, tomatoes, and kielbasa. It was excellent as usual and gave us the energy to get going.

We started off down a very slight decline, across a dried up river then up to the great Barranco Wall. The wall is basically a straight incline of 1,500 or 2,000 feet, we used the technique known as "scrambling," it was a nice change from our usual hike and our trekking poles only were detrimental on this leg of the course. We took a break at the top, where the views were again great.

We continued our climb down into the valley and back up, then down again into the Karranga Valley and finally back up to reach a break in the wall where we had camp set up and ready to go for us. The reason for so much up and down movement is to help us acclimate, the rule is to hike high, camp low, so that's just what we did, we camped at 13,040 feet, just above the bottom of the Karranga Valley.

Today was an extremely short day because most groups start the day at the Barranco Camp and go all the way to Barafu Camp, high camp; we however are taking an extra day to acclimate so stop here. This also gives us a full day to rest and allows us to eat a hot lunch at camp. For lunch, at which Mary, Fritz, and I were the first to arrive, we had grilled cheese, French fries, BBQ chicken, and fresh fruit including pineapples that were the best I've ever had.

After lunch I just relaxed in my tent and did nothing. The ladies were kind of upset because it was supposed to be "spa day;" they were all going to "shower," clean, and do their nails, unfortunately we found our camp in a cloud with a mist everywhere, therefore making it almost impossible to go outside.

August 10, 2003
Day 5: Karranga to Barafu Camp

I awoke at Karranga Camp feeling great; I slept better than I had since we started our trek. At breakfast we learned that last night there was a porter from another expedition that had come over to our tents and was walking around; this is strictly forbidden and our porters were quick to grab him and take him to the ranger station. The rangers in the station tried the case immediately and determined that the charges should be dismissed on account of mental insanity.

The first hour or two of our hike was a very steady incline, at which point the trail leveled off and we crossed a ridge covered by shale rocks, creating a noise similar to glass breaking every time we took a step or placed our trekking poles on the ground. At another point the landscape consisted of dirt, rocks, and tiny yellow flowers very scarcely spread throughout the day's trek. The day continued down into a valley that blocked the light and welcomed a steady breeze, then finished up to the valley's wall, onto a ridge that met the Mweka trail and leads directly to the summit.

Our path met the top of the ridge at 15,000 feet, at which point we turned northwest towards Barafu Camp, only a short distance from where we stood. Barafu Camp stands at 15,300 feet and provided great views of Mwenzi, Kilimanjaro, and the many white necked ravens flying overhead. This was the first sighting we had of Mwenzi, the last of the three volcanoes on Kilimanjaro. Shira, the first to go extinct stands only at about 12,000 feet, Kibo, the highest stands at 19,340 feet and Mwenzi stands at about 17,750 feet. It was made more impressive because of a huge dip from the ridge on which our camp stood to the valley floor and up to the top of Mwenzi, a geological feature commonly called "the saddle."

We continued on to our camp, which stood at about 16,000 feet. Once we arrived we relaxed and enjoyed the views of Stella Point and Mwenzi as we basked in the sun. After settling down, we ate at about 4:00 and were quickly off to bed so we would be well rested for our midnight awakening and 1:30am departure.

August 11, 2003
Day 6: Summit Day

Today was a full day; we awoke at midnight then hiked for a full 13 or 14 hours. Today the camp seemed ready to go earlier than usual and everyone was wide awake, ready for our final goal to be met... just hours away.

We had nothing but porrage for breakfast, then everyone got a pack of crackers and a candy bar for the hike. We put our bags on and started up the "hill" at about 1:15am. We were dressed rather warmly due to the temperature, it was about 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and Allen said the coldest time of the morning would be 3:00 to 4:00, so we had to be ready.

After rising only 500 feet to about 16,500 feet I already felt breathless and tired; our group had already passed Kathleen, who had left 15 minutes before us. By about 2:00 or 2:30 Stacy was very sick and had to stop to puke... she had altitude sickness, but was not ready to give up; her mom, Monica waited behind for her, so our group was down to 13.

By 3:30am the temperature had fallen to below zero and my fingers and toes no longer had feeling as the altitude sickness had crept upon Mary so bad her head was pounding and she passed her bag on to Leance. Every step at this point seemed like a challenge and we walked slowly, staring only at the ground; every time I looked up I got quite dizzy from the altitude and a little flustered by the distance I still had to hike to reach Stella Point. It was at this point I vowed not to look anywhere except at the ground until the sun had given us more light. I say more light because the reflection of the moon's light was fairly bright and my headlight was unnecessary.

At 5:30am the sky's darkness disappeared as the sky turned to reds and oranges; on our left we could see a glacier not far from where we walked, and after stopping we noticed not only the Southern Cross and alpha centuri, but also Orion. Leance announced that we had another hour to Stella Point and an hour after that to Uhura Peak... news taken very well among everyone. On this break I realized how little energy I had and the little tasks so easily done in the past became enormous chores, requiring every bit of strength and energy I could find within myself. Walking was difficult and getting water out of my bag, breaking the frozen seal and putting it back was so difficult Leance actually helped me with it more than once. He did this for everyone, noticing the rising challenges in our simplest tasks.

The hike continued as it was for the past 45 minutes: deep gravel, about 3 or 4 inches deep, creating a surface that would force you to slide back four or five inches every time you took a six to eight inch step, which was the normal distance a step took given the energy it took to move.

By 6:15am we had arrived at Stella Point and before the rest of the group had arrived behind me, I was watching the sun rise in the east. Here I noticed we had lost other members of our group, who had fallen behind, but not turned back, so we now had 11, all in decent shape, except Mary whose head continued to pound, but she continued on.

We all thought the trek to Uhura Point would be easier than the rest of the incline, and while we were right, it was still very difficult considering we were at 19,000 feet and the air had half as much oxygen in it than it does at sea level. As the sun rose in the sky, we paced around the southern part of the crater rim allowing us splendid views of Mt. Meru, Mwenzi, the many glaciers, and the crater itself.

After reaching Uhura Peak at about 7:00am we relaxed and caught our breaths. Once we got up, Jake taught Leance and some other Tanzanian guides how to golf as we hit a golf ball off the edge into the crater one by one. I shanked it, doing about as well as the Tanzanians. We stayed for a long time; trying to eat and find our breaths and the energy to descend. We were concerned for our fellow team members who had still not arrived when we began our descent at about 10:00am. But soon on our way we ran into four of them.

After reaching Stella Point, we saw Kathleen nearing the top so waited to greet her. After greeting her we began the 70-degree steep decent; it went quick, but was hard on my knees and the dust was terrible. I also went pretty fast and lost my breath, getting another headache in the process. I didn't even think about my breathing technique on the initial descent, but soon the headache reminded me to breathe.

Once back at camp I packed up my stuff and got ready to eat, but caught myself staring into nowhere a few times until everyone else finished.

After saying goodbye to Leance, who had to get off the mountain to start a new trip the next day, we left high camp. I was in the first group to take off with Allen, Ron, Fritz, and later Monica, Stacy, Mary, and Jake. We went very fast and stopped only a few times for very short periods. We were all anxious and we made the descent from 16,000 feet at high camp to Mweka Camp at 9,500 feet in about four hours.

Jake and I soaked our feet in warm water when we got back, only to sit and realize that we were well in front of everyone else, who arrived about 45 minutes to an hour after us. Almost everyone had a Kilimanjaro beer, but I had no Tanzanian shillings and cared little to drink, I only wanted to relax.

This camp was quite different from the other camps since it was open to the public and many local campers were present. We signed in at the ranger's station and had dinner, after which everyone immediately fell asleep, having no more symptoms of altitude sickness.

August 12, 2003
Day 7: Mweka Camp to Arusha

We arose early at Mweka Camp ready to go and get to the showers. Everyone slept well and was more energetic to get to the showers than to the top the day before. Before leaving camp we had incredible shots of Kilimanjaro and as we left camp we said goodbye to the mountain, not knowing if we'd see the peak again during our stay in Africa.

On the three-hour hike I talked to Nicholas and learned more about him and his people, the Chagga people, who have been living in the lower reaches of the mountain for as long as he can remember. He told me about the tradition of his people and his father and brother-in-laws who are all guides on the mountain. This hike was through the rain forest, which was home to a cloud on this particular day; the scene was incredibly beautiful with exotic trees and animals everywhere on a white background, not allowing one to see farther than 30 meters or so.

When we reached the trailhead we signed out and sat for about 45 minutes, waiting for pictures, the final farewell to the guides and porters, and the final gear check on the vehicles. The hour and a half drive home was similar to the drive there: we saw Moshi, the countryside, hundreds of banana fields, school children learning how to work the fields, and finally Arusha, a symbol of our temporary home.

Once back in the hotel I showered, shaved, began the cleaning process, then had a cheeseburger, which I had been craving for about 5 days. Dinnertime consisted of steaks and a singing line of employees at the Mountain Village Resort. They seemed very happy and energetic when they presented us with cake and Champaign.

Dinner seemed to go on for quite some time, but no one complained; it was very relaxing and enjoyable with all the people who I had just spent the last seven days with: every hour of every day. Immediately after dinner I found the bed a pleasant friend awaiting me.

Note: To learn more about our journey, you can Read Our Cybercast Online (we were part of Team Pole Pole - you'll have to scroll down) or visit the site of our tour company, which ran the operation smoothly, or at least hid all of the bumps in the road... other than those flat tires: Alpine Ascents International, based in Seattle, Washington.

Safari at Lake Manyara, Ngornogorno Crater, & Tarangire

August 13, 2003
Lake Manyara & a Masai Village

We arose early as we did on the mountain, but today was the beginning of our safari and, although some were worn out and unenergetic, I was enthusiastic and found more of the team was agreeable to my feelings. I quickly ate breakfast in the hotel, checked my Kilimanjaro bag, and grabbed my backpack.

I was lucky enough to be one of the first ones outside and therefore had my pick of my vans. I went with the "low I.Q. van," which consisted of Jake, Monica, Joanne, Stacy, Mary, my dad, and I. Our driver was Eric and he seemed friendly enough as we again headed through the Market in Arusha to Lake Manyara. The market was incredible, the colors were much like the stereotypical Africa I've seen in pictures, plus the foods were reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and greens, including the hundreds of bananas fresh off the trees.

Eric, our guide, told us as we passed dozens of Masai villages and herders that the word Manyara comes from the Masai word Manyarta, meaning "house," for we were now in Masai country. We stopped at the park gate so Eric could check us in and we could stretch. While stopped we spotted a small monkey outside the bathrooms and I was immediately enthralled. Immediately after entering the park we saw a few baboons cleaning each other, and soon after saw warthogs, elephants, and a few Masai giraffes, similar to the more common giraffe, but much darker in color. Once we entered the clearing we saw a few impala, African Cape Buffaloes, thousands and thousands of flamingos, dozens of hippos, zebras, and other smaller species of birds.

The road to Ngorongoro Crater was bumpy at best and gravel, pothole-filled crooked one-lane-wide road for two-way traffic at worst; it's supposedly under construction. On this long drive our driver and safari guide, Eric warned us not to pee in the "bush" because there are snakes in they're waiting to jump up and bite us in places that they can't suck the poison out of. He also told us of his brother and a couple of his friends who were killed by an African Cape Buffalo, perhaps the most poorly tempered and dangerous animal in the area... even more so than the notorious lion.

After stopping at the welcome area of Ngornogorno Park we learned more about the evolution of man, because Oldavai Gorge is on the grounds of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area grounds.

We arrived to our lodge at around 6:30 and ran into an old friend's mom, who I knew as a child, Barb Wentworth: she had just summited Kilimanjaro two days before us. We talked for only a short while though because we were off to a Masai Village.

The two town spokesmen of the Masai village were sons of the chief and told us of their education in Arusha and their will to keep their tribal traditions alive, although their traditions are very controversial throughout Tanzania and the world. They taught us that in their village the men can marry as many women as they please and the women build the cow dung huts, cook, clean, and undergo circumcision and uterus stapling to please the men of the village.

The men are known as warriors and carry tall spears to carry on the tradition, however they have not had a war for many years and the men only graze the cattle and pleasure themselves with whatever woman they choose.

This particular village consisted of 14 houses, one for each wife of the chief and a gated circle in the center for the village's cattle; this village had about 200 cattle.

After asking a few provoking questions the spokesmen got upset and refused to answer saying that it was tradition and there would be no more questions on certain topics, but they continued to encourage questions on any other subject.

We later learned they use much of the money we gave them to buy banana beer and many of them get drunk nearly every night of the week on the expense of the tourist; the women are not allowed to participate in such activities. We asked what the women think about certain topics and they responded that the women have no say, the men make all the decisions; they were not at all embarrassed about saying this.

August 14, 2003
Ngornogorno Crater & Tarangire National Parks

We were up early and out of the lodge before most groups had gotten to breakfast. Our safari-mobile (as I called it) was the first out of the parking lot and as we left we passed about 40 or 50 other safari-mobiles waiting for their tourists.

By 8:00 we had made the journey to the crater floor and on the way already spotted an African cape buffalo. Soon after, the wildlife became endless: two mother lions with their cubs 30 feet away,  hundreds of flamingos, dozens of hippos at the hippo pool, and hundreds upon hundreds of wildebeests and zebras milling along to the lake and pasturing through the tall grass. These last two animals are known to travel together more often than not due to their strengths, the zebra sees very well, but has a terrible sense of smell, whereas the wildebeest is just the opposite, great smell, and awful eyes.

We also spotted a hartebeest, a few hyenas, all sorts of birds and cheetahs. Two cheetahs were on the hunt and later I heard they came within feet of catching a gazelle for lunch.

After lunch, we saw two male lions hunting a trespassing wildebeest on our way to the hippo pool, where we saw about 30 hippos trying to stay cool. Eric warned us here that we should stay far from the water because it's known for the python infestation it has... that would not be the way to go.

Even on the way out of the park we couldn't escape seeing wildlife.  We spotted a mother Thompson's gazelle with her newborn baby of about 3 or 4 days and the elusive black rhino.

After leaving, we left without Kerrin and Neal who were off to Serengetti while we were on the road to Tarangire.

The drive to Tarangire was monotonous: dirt roads, Masai villages and herders. The closer to the park entrance we came the more the scene changed and seemed to reflect the stereotypical "bush" of Africa. On the final approach to the park there were speed bumps to prevent speeding and at each were children trying to sell dead cobras that they claim to have killed. These snakes reached up to five or six feet in length.

Once at the park gate we came across a very pleasant surprise: American candy, we brought a few Kit Kat and Twix bars. As planned, we rushed trough the park and saw a few Masai giraffes and elephants, but little else. We arrived at our hotel in 45 minutes, the Tarangire Sopa Lodge, situated in the middle of the park. We arrived in time to witness an incredible sunset, then joined everyone for dinner.

August 15, 2003
Tarangire National Park

We arose at 6:30 to watch yet another sunrise, but this one over the bush as opposed to a mountain wall. I was the first to breakfast so had time to relax after my meal before setting off.

Once in the "safari-mobiles" everyone seemed warn out and tired, but within five minutes of leaving we came upon the most incredible sight, sounds, and smells; an unexpected surprise. The same road on which we drove just 15 hours ago was now home to a recent kill, about five hours old according to our guide, Eric. Feasting on the kill was a hungry lion pack of about 20 lionesses. There were about ten lions across the road or just down the way who had eaten to their fill, and another nine lions still feeding on the kill, which was almost entirely gone: only bones, a skull, feces, intestines, and a little neck and rib meat left. We parked about 10 feet from these lions and watched them growl and fight over the last little bits of what was once an African cape buffalo. We could hear their growls and smell the feces and carcass of the quickly disappearing animal.

Many of the larger lionesses had finished eating, but the largest lioness there was still eating, occasionally standing and walking around her kill, as if she were guarding it from hyena... and perhaps from us. She would stop, just feet away from our safari-mobiles and stare us down, showing no fear, but pride and a confidence unsurpassed by any other lioness. As she joined her pack they quickly moved aside to let her eat, whereas they fought with the other lionesses for room. After watching for about 20 minutes we left to see other parts of the incredible park.

Soon after leaving we came across a few elephant families with about 10 to 30 elephants in each. All were female elephant herds and many baby elephants were present, which led to uncertainty for the mother elephants feared us and seemed much more willing to attack than any lion. Two times, one mother elephant stared us down as the rest of the herd crossed the road and only after they were safe from us did the largest mother cross.

One time however the mother seemed more threatened than the others and she began to come closer and closer until finally she began a jog towards our safari-mobile while shacking her head violently, only to see us move out of her way. After leaving this area we came across a fervent monkey, dik diks, a tree full of about 60 baboons, fishing eagles, more elephants, and a couple Masai giraffes. We tried our best, but to no avail to find cobras hanging form the trees.

On our way out we stopped to eat at the park gate and soon on the road to our first of two stores. I tried to bargain, but with no luck, they refused to go down to what I wanted and so they lost my business. Their prices were set high and few people bought anything.

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