Day 3 – The one with four of the Big Five

After a restful sleep under the mosquito net, we woke up shortly before 6am to get ready for our day.

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It’s beautiful to see the day break over the horizon. With it being wide open plains, sunrise’s first light dissipates almost immediately to give way to the light of the day.

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Though we didn’t know it yet, today would be a great day for seeing animals, particularly the Big Five. So here they are in the order that we saw them today: First up, Cape Buffalo. We could make a lot of burgers out of these bad boys, but I would not dare cross it.

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For the first time since owning a camera, I wished I had a telephoto lens. As I usually photograph in urban settings, I’ve never really felt the need to change from my short-range lens. Also the idea of carrying more gear never really appealed to me, as it seemed like a recipe for disaster given my propensity to lose things. But looking at these mating ostriches in the distance, I really wished I had one.

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A lonely gazelle.

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As we were reversing the van to get back on the main road, we heard this angry chirping. Looking at the ground, we saw that we stumbled on to a mama bird protecting her egg. Look at that amazing camouflage!

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More zebras! Including a baby one that I wish I could just pack into my suitcase.

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It’s amazing how many animals all live side by side. Even the predators aren’t really paid much heed if they’re not hungry. We ran into a trio of hyenas, just like in the Lion King.

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Yes, yes, they’re evil. But they’re so cute!

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Saw the hippos peeking out. I wanted to go take a leaf out of their books and find me a cool spot to nap in as well.

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We also saw zebras crossing the Mara river, as the water level was so low. Everyone at the resort was telling us about how the rains were really late this year.

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Again, zebras crossing in a straight line.

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We also saw a koodo (Coke’s hartebeest) family making it across the plains.

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By 9am, we were back at the resort for breakfast. After tucking into fresh fruit, custom-made omelets and other goodies, the boys decided to go take a nap while I decided to lounge by the pool with a book. After a few hours of not doing anything, it was time to eat again and take a nap before heading out on our afternoon drive.

We started our afternoon drive by spotting another strange bird by the side of the road.

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Saw some marabou storks.

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Loved these solitary trees poking out from the horizon.

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Ah, finally we spotted the elephants! After only seeing them in the distance so far, we had the good fortune to see a whole family of elephants up close, including baby ones.

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We were by the watering hole. Look at these amazing feats of bird construction! And yet another unnamed bird.

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I was too busy looking at the pictures from the day to notice the lions lounging in the river bank, so just use the picture below as a reminder of what lions look like.

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Again, we heard the radio squawk excitedly.  By now, we knew that this meant something big was on the horizon and we sped off.

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The dusk was setting in and it was gorgeous. We were in high pursuit of the van ahead of us, following its trail of dust.

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And there he was!

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Low in the grass, the leopard was majestic. And what a rare treat to see him on the ground, instead of up in the tree as is his usual practice.

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What a great way to end our day!

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