Today, was a huge transition as we moved from seeing Compassion bless kids, to seeing Compassion bless pastors and leaders. This morning we woke up early to catch a flight to the Kitchwa Tembo Camp in the Masai Mara. Our plane was a bit smaller than I’m used to, but it’s perfect for landing on a dirt runway in the middle of the African savannah.
The Masai Mara is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and connects to the Serengeti National Park located in Tanzania. It is known for its exceptional population of Masai lions, African leopards, and Tanzanian cheetahs, as well as the annual migration of zebras, gazelles, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti. Upon landing at the reserve we were served tea and snacks before jumping into our Land Rovers to head out on our first safari.
In just a couple of hours, I believe I saw more wild animals than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Some of my favorites included the hippos, the zebras, the elephants, the giraffes, the baboons, the hyenas, the crocodiles, the warthogs, and the cape buffalo. As amazing as seeing all those animals was, I believe the scenery may have been the most impressive.
It’s absolutely breathtaking here. After our first safari we headed to the hotel to check in and get our rooms. We just so happen to be staying in tents, which I love since I’m such an outdoorsmen, but seriously these are the type of tents I want to stay in. Check out the view.
It’s currently 11pm while I’m writing this and I can hear monkeys howling in the trees outside my tent. Pretty awesome, what’s not so awesome, were the two snakes they found in one of the tents another couple was staying in next door. After lunch and a quick meeting to debrief on our trip, we were back on safari again. What’s funny is that because there’s so many of the animals, you quickly become disinterested in many of them altogether and just concentrate on the one’s you haven’t seen yet.
For example, elephants. Elephants are amazing creatures, but I bet we’ve seen over a hundred elephants today. So, for our afternoon safari we wanted to concentrate on finding lions, rhinos, leopards, and cheetahs. We ran up on four female lions napping pretty quickly. At one point I was within 10 yards of one and it never even looked up. Our guide informed us that lions are very lazy and sleep around 18 hours a day. He also told us that warthogs are very dumb, because they’ll be running away from a lion then forget why they’re running, turn around, and get eaten.
Cheetahs were a lot harder to find, and you’ll never believe how we spotted them. After a very long time driving a few of the guys decided they needed to…um relieve themselves. So, we stopped the vehicle, let them out to do their business in the middle of the savannah, and when three or four of the guys had their pants down, the cheetahs appeared. Luckily for the guys, the cheetahs were still a few hundred yards away and our guide had eagle eyes. We were never able to get very close to the cheetahs but it was still cool to see them run away from us.
That’s it for tonight, they shut the electricity off here in a few minutes to conserve energy. Tomorrow, we hope to see rhinos and leopards as we go on our last safari, then board a plane home.
Hey, if you just stumbled upon this post, I want you to know I’m in Kenya with Compassion International for a week. I wanted to document my experience to share with my family and friends and anyone else who may be interested. I will be back sharing my thoughts on leadership, church growth, and more next week. If you want to follow along with the blog, make sure to subscribe to get email updates delivered to your inbox each week.