Honeymoon: Part IV

Day 5: Maasai Mara @ Cottar's 1920s Camp

Wow. Today was a day of a lifetime - not just for the amazing animals we saw and events witnessed, though even Calvin said it was more than a week of safari sightings all wrapped into one (Big 5 + so much more). The emotions felt are intangible -- you truly have to witness and experience for yourself to understand. We started our day with a 3:30am wake up and hit the road to get to the balloon launching site; what a beautiful way to see the sunrise. After a 1.5 hr balloon ride, we touched down and headed to a huge breakfast, which was a perfect way to get us through the rest of what ended up being a 14 hour game drive. Drive highlights: staking out and stalking a leopard (success!), wildebeest and zebra crossing the river (+ 2 near croc attacks during), male cheetah lunching on his morning kill, and the mysterious black rhino! We got back to camp for "lunch" at 6 pm -- after a quick bite we headed straight to the tent and found ourselves unable to move. Luckily, they are incredibly sweet and lit a fire in our cozy tent and served us what would have been a romantic dinner there, if we weren't half asleep at the table (oops!)

See also: Part IPart II, Part IIIPart V

 (^ the photo on the left was taken from the hot air balloon. we were close to the ground and scared this little water buck family into some brush. when we landed only 20 minutes later, we saw what we captured in the photo on the right. we had scared this baby into the hands of a leopard. the mom water buck stood in the area staring into the brush, which led us to stalking and finding the leopard. when we chased the leopard out of the brush, the mom water buck chased him as far as she could. what an incredible thing to witness)

(^ scoping out the best place to cross the river)

(^ note the croc in the water; the zebra magically escaped that attack. amazing)

 (^ this wildebeest swam across the river, so tired he couldn't get out onto the rocks on the other side, so he swam back. 15 minutes later he made another attempt, and again could not get out onto the rocks. on his trip back to the side he started on, the croc was hot on his trail. the croc was interested at first, but quickly lost interest, as this old wildebeest had no meat on his bones and was not worth the attack. he gave up and floated down the river)

See also: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart V