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Janine & Dusty Britton, Smyrna, Delaware


Kenyan Safari - Day 6

DAY 6, Tuesday, April 03 - SAMBURU

""A full day of game driving includes outings at dawn, when animals are most active, and in the late morning and afternoon, when the light is best for photography. Return to the lodge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Today you stay close to the Ewaso Nyiro River, where vast herds of plains game come to water, braving lions in the grass, leopards in the trees, and giant crocodiles. Stars of Samburu not easily seen elsewhere are the liver-red reticulated giraffe, the long-necked gerenuk antelopes, and the elegant Grevy's zebra. (FB,L,D)""

We wake up at 5:45 am, grabbing a quick cup of coffee then leaving 6:15 am for our first game drive!  It was exciting, to wonder what was in store for us!
We returned for breakfast at 8:30 am the off again at 9:45 am for next game drive!
Picture Index for the day - Roll #10
As we headed out, the top up on the safari van, we were all searching for the wild animals of Kenya, then VIOLA !!!  Kombo exclaimed that we were driving right into excitement.  In our path were two zebra stallions, battling over territory and mares!  This confrontation last several minutes!  The videos below were captured by Dad, on his Panasonic DV Camcorder!

Video of the Battle: Low Res (Low Bandwidth)    High Res (High Bandwidth)

A school of reticulated giraffes that wandered around us!

Vulturerined guinea fowl

A termite cathedral shaped by elephants

Our first encounter with lions, and it was not just a driveby!


Video of the Lionesses: Low Res (Low Bandwidth)    Hi Res (High Bandwidth)

-17: kirk's dik-dik
-18: red hornbill near termite mound
: , , , lions, waterbuc.

Picture Index for the day - Roll #10

: Lions, impalas being challenged by a bachelor group, croc, dik-dik, dwarf mongoose, go-away bird, hippos, spare-winged clover, eagle, zebra, Grant's gazelle, superb starling, oryx in the road, a troop of olive baboons (baby taking a ride)

Picture Index for the day - Roll #12

-24: monitor lizard, sunning, lylac-breasted roller, impala, croc sunning, baboon eating fruit from sausage tree, common waterbuk, wort hogs, Samburu choir.

"While at the Samburu National Reserve, we visited a clan of the Samburu tribe. The encampment has a population of 182 people, of which approximately 25 were young children. They are nomadic people, raising cattle, sheep and goats. Their diet consists of meat from their herds, purchased vegetables (corn and cabbage), and a mixture of milk and blood from their cattle. They milk the cows and draw blood from the bulls on a daily basis. They believe that their god created all cattle for the Samburu and they have the right to claim them. They will not kill wild animals for meat, only to protect their families and property. Their village gate is attended by the clan elders and their chief, Joshua. When establishing a new village site, they select a large acacia tree that represents the family tree, having a large main trunk and many smaller branches. This is the meeting place for the elders. Their village encompasses an area of approximately 5 acres, that is completely fenced, using the thorny branches of the acacia trees.
Their huts are small enclosure, framed with acacia branches and twigs; the roof is covered with hides and scrap plastic to reduce the effects from rain. The walls are covered with a plaster, made by mixing water and cattle manure to provide protection from the wind. The huts are about 15 feet in diameter and about 5 feet high. There is one opening, a small opening for entering and exiting. The fireplace is a small stone lined pit, used for cooking and warmth; there is no chimney and therefore the hut has a strong acrid smell of smoke. The floor is earthen, with leather hides for bedding. They have a few primitive wooden tools, and bowls and cups made from gourds. 
The wealth of each family is measured by the number of cattle owned. The women are responsible for essentially all the daily chores of collecting the fire wood, collecting the water, cooking the meals, doing the laundry, tending the children, and so on. There is one teacher in the clan; the children spend about 4 hours in schooling each day, learning the three “R’s”. When the male child reaches the age of 12, he is given the rites of manhood including circumcision. At the age of 14 he becomes a warrior for the clan and serves in that capacity until he is 28. He is responsible for guarding the camp from intruders and wild animals. His “weapons of war” are a bow and arrows, a spear, and a wooden club. Only after serving his years as a warrior is he allowed to marry. His wife is chosen from a distant clan, often times prearranged. The married man is permitted to have as many wives as he can afford; Joshua told us he had one wife. Each wife has her own hut; no two wives in the same house. The individual family herds are tended daily by a senior family member, and the herds are moved into the protection of the encampment fencing at night. 
The Samburu clan will live at on site for 2 years, then burn their village and move several miles away to build a new camp. Although the Samburu are primitive, they are a happy people. They get a small income from charging an admission of $10 per person to visit their village and take pictures of them and their habitat. They feel justified in this conduct because they think we take the photographs back to our homeland and sell them. Their handcrafts include animal carvings, bead work, tools and implements, which are for sale to visitors. They purchase vegetables, primarily corn and cabbage, cloth for clothing, steel for their spears and arrow heads, and beads and fine wire for their ornamental crafts. The warriors and many of the male adults dress in red serapes. Lions are frightened by the color, red; but the cape buffalo is enraged by it. If they are confronted the buffalo, they  will hang the red cloak over a bush. The buffalo will furiously attack the bush, providing the time for the warrior to escape. As a point of reference, the annual per capita income in Kenya is $340; less than a dollar a day. "
Bill Britton

We visited a Samburu village, nomads that stay near river basins for 2 years at a time. Bought a 'club' from the son of the chief(Joshau) for 500 KSh, which is used for herding and protection. Janine bought a bead bracelet from a little boy who then got in trouble by Joshau. He then gave the boy the 100 KSH, with a look.
-24: cheetas, with over 30 safari vehicles converging in moments, monitor lizard, herd of oryx(30 or so)

Picture Index for the day - Roll #13

-24: zebras, grant's gazelle, oryx head, bat-eared fox family, a cheetah with her 3 cubs (all 4 looking content, one cub was licking and playing with mom), ELEPHANTS (12)!!!!! This was fate, since we had spent the second morning game ride looking for elephants, but they had left 2 weeks ago- plenty of signs they had been here: dung, rubbings, stripped trees and downed trees.

Oryx Mock Battles: Low Res (Low Bandwidth)    Hi Res (High Bandwidth)

So, on our final game ride of the day, Jackson had us return to the same area as the first drive, the highlands. Spent most of the drive looking for elephants to no avail, but seeing other beautiful animals. As we were wandering, came upon a British guide in a safari range rover who said the magic words, there were elephants just over the river! Since we all heard and understood, major anticipation! Off we tour, and soon after crossing the river bed, they were spotted 100 yards!! We all wanted Kombo to stop but he knew better, heading off for a road to get us closer, WOW, VERY CLOSE! A family of elephants, 11, marched before us, not 20 ft away! It was so inspiring, they had such majesty, letting us enjoy their company! Then they moved on, And Janine spotted a 12th elephant bringing up the rear, with a strange gate. Walking on 3 legs, this elephant had experienced a major injury in the past. Kombo related that poachers throw nails on game trails, which then get embedded in the feet and eventually they die. Then the poachers come along and take the ivory. This elephant had the damage to his right-rear foot, the entire hind quarter had atrophied, but he looked healthy and the herd waited for him. Just incredible!!


Picture Index for the day - Roll #14

-12: more of the herd of elephants, a pair of cheetahs observing the gazelles

-18: a possible dung beetle flew into the dining room, and Jackson demonstrated its behavior using a ball of down fiber
Dinner was just excitement, talking about the animals we had seen, and the experiences of the Samburu Tribe.  Everyone wanted to claim their trophy from the tribe, and the prize pictures of the day.

On to Day 7...

I've tried to link to any businesses or organizations mentioned, including their website addresses, so you can visit them to learn more.  If you want to learn more about these safaris, I invite you to visit Jacko Africa Safaris!

All double quoted comments ("") come directly from our Tour Itinerary.  Please contact me if you have any questions or corrections, at dusty@bwci.com