Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Our first "Safari" by Chris

I decided to surprise my family with a special treat.  We had been in Kenya for 5 months and 9 days and had not yet had the chance to go on what most people in the U.S. think of as a "safari".  Safari is the Swahili word for travel, so there are signs all over as you leave places saying "Safari njema" which means "Good travel".  We waited to go mainly because of the cost.  The cost for entry for a U.S. citizen without residency to Meru National Park is $52 USD for an adult (this was reduced in 2016 from $75 to encourage more tourism) and  and $35 USD for a child.  This would have cost us $254 USD for our family when you include the $10 for our vehicle pass.  Since we waited until after we recently received our work permits we were able to get in for the "resident" rate of $10 USD for adult and $5 USD for child for a total of $50 USD for our whole family.  We had a great day at Meru National Park and were able to see many wonderful animals such as: a family of elephants, many zebra and giraffes, black rhinos, baboons, amazing exotic birds, crocodiles, emus, ostriches and last but not least, dung beetles!  Katelyn spotted this one on the road we were driving down so we stopped and filmed a video of their amazing dung rolling teamwork!  I hope y'all enjoy the photos and videos!  Thanks for all of your support which made this "day out" possible.  
To read more about Meru National Park, here is a link from the Kenya Wildlife Service:
http://www.kws.go.ke/content/meru-national-park
Thank the Lord that Karen thought to take a picture of the map at the entrance to the National Park...
as that was the only map that we had to find our way around...
Jack wanted to be up on top to have the best view of the wildlife!
The first animals we saw (other than the baboons picking through the garbage can at the entrance) were giraffes....Wow, it was so amazing to see them in their natural setting.  Up until this we had only seen them at the Detroit and Toledo Zoos!!!
Jack inspired Katelyn and Michael to get up on the hood to improve
their view and to be able to be the 1st to spot something cool!!! 
Good thing the maximum speed at the park is 40 km/h which is about 25 mph.

I volunteered to undo the hi-voltage electrical fence opening to enter into the black rhino viewing area...I could hear the loud buzzing sound as I approached....Thank you Jesus for insulated shoes!!!

You can get a feel for how big these black rhinos are by the width of the two-track in the photo.
I believe this is called a waterbuck, which is a type of antelope
I believe this is a Grey-headed Kingfisher
Impala????  Not really sure but those antlers are sweet!
Up close and personal with 2 black rhinos

We came across 14 giraffe all hanging out together....there was even a really cool albino giraffe in the bunch!!!
Just looking at this, I can hear Sir David Attenborough saying "The majestic Grevy's Zebra".....
but you have to pronounce zebra like Deborah

This is the elephant that was 50 feet away flapping it's ears and tooting it's horn to protect it's family from us. 
It was quite a display!

This ostrich ran out in front of our vehicle and then bolted for the bush!
This gnarly old tree seemed like the perfect backdrop for a family photo!



























































































































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