In Which I Make Things Up as I Go

The driver / guide is Sammy. His accented English is perfect, but my hearing isn’t. This leads to an occasional misunderstanding on my part. Mostly it has led to me mislabeling things in a way I could never possibly admit to him.

At one point, he told me that we were looking at a Gravy zebra. I wondered how that name came about – if perhaps there was something succulent to the meat and it produced wonderful gravy.

No – it was named after Jules Grévy (Grévy’s Zebra), former president of France. Also known as the imperial zebra, it has finer stripes than the standard zebra, as well as bigger ears, a more mule-like appearance, and a larger size. Grévy’s zebra is also more solitary, which explains why we didn’t see a herd of them.

He also pointed out the Kori bastard. “What an interesting name,” I thought. I wondered if there was something unique in the bird’s behavior or reproduction to warrant such a moniker.

The name turns out to kori bustard, so apparently not. Conveniently, however, Wikipedia states: “Male kori bustards, which can be more than twice as heavy as the female, attempt to breed with as many females as possible and then take no part in the raising of the young.” This fact alone would seem to support the Butterblogger Taxonomy.

On a more pleasant note, the kori bustard is the largest bird on this continent capable of flight. And the male may be the heaviest extant animal of any sort capable of unassisted flight. Here is one showing off as part of a mating ritual.

What an incredible day. Sammy picked me up at 7 am and we began the long trek north to Samburu, stopping somewhere along the way so I could look at overpriced knickknacks for which I declined to haggle. Truthfully, I liked some bowls I saw, but the price was beyond exorbitant and there was no feasible way to bargain my way to anything in a reasonable range.

Mostly I passed the time dozing off – the jet lag having hit me fairly hard.

Still, once we arrived the Samburu Reserve, the adrenaline rush was incredible. I was absolutely astounded by the things we were seeing.

Shortly within the gates we saw grand gazelles (apparently Grant’s gazelles, but I prefer my own nomenclature here).

And these lions lounging in the shade of a tree.

These reticulated giraffes also met us, as did numerous other species (oryx, impala, jackal, and ostrich, to name a few)

It’s hard to believe there are so many great animals living together shoulder to shoulder. It’s mind boggling that they don’t just kill and eat each other.

But they don’t.

Well – except for this lion who had killed this warthog.

We missed the kill, but found the scene by following the other land cruisers and the jackals. At least two other lions lurked nearby, but by the time we arrived this lone lioness remained to work on, and protect, the carcass.

She wouldn’t be alone for long. Once the pride felt it was safe, they escorted the young to partake.

The fact that there were 5 land cruisers clustered about was not something that concerned any of them. The lions have learned that, here at least, we aren’t enemies (or prey – not mostly anyway).

And so we spent the day, driving around the reserve, eyes wide open in search of new creatures to see. Here, it seems, there is always something new around the corner.

4 thoughts on “In Which I Make Things Up as I Go

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