Weekends are the best times to enjoy life in the wildness and catch up with your fellow animal lovers. Joining various adventurous teams helps you to always be updated on all events going down each other day.
Those of us who love wildlife and are expert at spotting game, love looking around while driving were offered a chance by the friends of Nairobi National Park to test our skills. The event went down as treasure hunt.
Participants were ready and well equipped to show off their skills. What interested most the most is the fact that most of the competitors did it as a team involving even the kids. This shows that finally conservation of the wildlife is being spread throughout the family. And as we all know that family love protects everything dear to them. Our wildlife’s future has a bright future.
Registration at the gate didn’t take long and all teams were given the checklist of the game to spot and take photos as evidence. Each game had different points depending on their easiness or difficult to be spotted.
The list included warthog, zebra, wildebeest, African lion, hyena, serval cat, jackal, monitor lizard, eland, thompson’s gazelle, grant’s gazelle, cheetah, leopard, baboon, black-faced vervet monkey, sykes monkey, tortoise, African rock python, guinea fowl, yellow-billed stork, Egyptian goose, bee-eater, martial eagle, vulture, hartebeest, hippo, crocodile, white rhino, black rhino, snakes, giraffe, buffalo, marabou stork, tick bird, egret, crested crane, secretary bird, pelican, ostrich and rock hyrax. This does not mean that this park is only restricted to these game but they were the few used for the challenge.
Personally, I didn’t participate in the challenge since I accompanied one of the judges during the game drive. We drove around checking how the teams were fairing on with the challenge. The best part was that our car only had gurus, thus spotting the game was very easy and interesting. We could challenge each other and each one was excellent at it.
Game drive becomes more interesting when you do it with other people of same passion, love and commitment to wildlife. With such a team, they will be patience while tracking the shy game, respect of the animal space, very minimal interference to the wildlife during the game drive, among others. Game drive involves us visiting the animals in their homes and thus obligated to go by their rules and ensure we cause no harm in any manner to them.
The day was chilly after raining shortly in the morning. The park was green again after the long drought, the herbivores were very happy enjoying the green supplies. I wish you could see the faces of my friends when they noticed how green the park was. They was a feeling of happiness and contentment that wildlife was going to enjoy good meal.
On the first dam, we almost witnessed crocodile hunt but the prey got lucky and escaped. We drove silently to a safe distance ready to capture these wonderful moments. The crocodile swarm secretly towards her prey who seems to have no idea. The prey was a pelican that was feeding along the edges. The crocodile moved at a good speed but before he could reach the pelican, the pelican was already moving too fast for him. He tried to keep up the speed but gave up shortly. Later after leaving the scene, our friends who were behind us witnessed crocodile hunt. An impala came to have some water and ended up being the crocodile’s lunch. From how they explained the scenario, it happened very fast, the crocodile could not risk missing another meal opportunity.
The herbivorous game were out in the open enjoying grass so spotting them was not any difficult. The cameras were the ones having rough time here. Unlike other game drives where you only take photos of the animals you like the most, this time was different. Each game had some points attached to them so taking their photos was part of winning. Game like warthogs that are easily ignored and rarely photographed had a different side of the story today.
People who love adventure and spend most of their time with nature naturally get connected to people with the same interest. They share information freely, take care of each other during the adventures, exchange tricks and ideas, share light moments, as they enjoy nature. I remember how one of the cars got stuck in the park and all the guys from the other vehicles offered their help ensuring that the car was free from the mud.
We took different routes into the park and guys could call the other teams when they spotted the very rare game like lion and cheetah. We were able to witnessed lion hunt although we came when the action part was over (sad).
The best part was that we were able to see almost 20 rhinos. This was a good thing as they are endangered and not easily spotted. All the white rhinos we saw were in family groups but the black was alone.
I have never been lucky to spot a snake during the game drives so I decided to try my luck. I concentrated on the ground most of the time hoping to fulfill my desire. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to spot any snake but I had a bonus one. I was able to spot a monitor lizard sun bathing. I was so happy and my team could not believe how I manage to spot the lizard in that surrounding. My skills for sure gained another level higher.
By noon, the teams came together in one of the picnic sites within the park. They submitted their photos together with the marked checklist. The challenge was closely contested and teams had very few points apart. But most important part was that they all enjoyed the event and had loads of fun. The winner was crowned and we shared some snacks.
Shortly afterwards, the teams embarked to the afternoon game drive. We revisited the places we had earlier visited trying to catch up with the cat family that had really given everyone a hard time to spot. They were not yet ready to give us easy spotting. One of the teams spotted some brother lions and gave us a heads up. On our way to their directions, we were lucky to meet two lioness and a male lion.
Cheetah decided to play hide and seek with us once spotted by one of us. He completely hide out and camouflaged into the bush. We remained grounded for almost an hour waiting for him to emerge since all the signs confirmed that he was around. The impala near him were alert and completely not eating ready to take off once he emerged. It was really windy, and the impalas must have been getting his smell. Despite waiting that long, the cheetah refused to emerge.
It was already getting dark, time to leave the park. This is one day I will always remember and feel good about it by just remembering it. It was full of fun and breathtaking moments.
Enjoy some of the photos that I managed to take…..