Recent guest Laura Galbraith returned for her third Wild Eye Safari and joined us for the very first Amboseli and Masai Mara Safari. This trip combines 1 night in Nairobi on arrival in Kenya followed by 5 nights in Amboseli National Park, finishing with 6 nights in the Wild Eye Mara Camp.
Laura shares her thoughts and some images from her safari with us.
What can I tell you about the experience of Amboseli?
Probably the first thing you realise is that it’s not as massive an area as some of the other parks I have visited but boy does it pack a lot in. Each morning we would head to a bit of the park where Andrew knew we might get some sunrise type shots if
a) there was a sunrise and
b) some of the wildlife cooperated.
On two mornings we had elephants and sunrise. Now anybody who has met me will quickly realise I am a bit elephant mad and I have had some amazing experiences with spending time with Elephants both in Mana pools and in Hwange (with Marlon) sorry Marlon Amboseli is now my happy place. These two mornings generated the three shots of sunrises involving elephants. After the sunrise we would generally do a drive to various parts of the park depending on what had been reported on the radio or what we specifically were trying to achieve before heading to the lakebed.
Many of the iconic shots you will have seen of elephant’s form Amboseli will have been taken out on the lakebed, but nothing quite prepares you for the experience. All you can see is flat dried earth with grooves worn in from various animals walking through. Then your guide is trying to find an elephant or group of elephants ambling through, but the area is huge. We went out there three times and were lucky to spend time with elephants on two of those occasions. The first time was a lone elephant bull. As there was just two of us with two guides we were allowed to get out of the vehicle and lie just beside it as the elephant walked past. Then it was either back into the vehicle so we could get ahead of it again or hold onto the side and walk to get into the correct position. The thing that strikes you is that you would think that an elephant wandering past would be loud but the grace and silence that they walk with is just awe inspiring.
On a couple of occasions, we spent some time at the lake where we watched a snake bothering some birds. Took some images of the various bird life and watched a few zebras walk through the completely still water with gorgeous clouds in the sky. Simply a case of being in the right place at the right time. But good thing come to those who wait.
One species I really wasn’t expecting to see many of was lions but there was a pride with several lionesses and I think we counted 12 cubs a couple of the cubs were slightly older but most of them were small so the lionesses had their hands full with clubs trying to get at the milk bar constantly. Nothing better than spending time watching lion cub antics. A little more light might have given us a few more useable shots, but it was a joy to see them thriving. I didn’t know that the male lions in Amboseli can only be described as mane deficient as Dad was a rather unimpressive looking male to use but clearly not to the lionesses.
One of the issues that we had when shooting images of the elephants was that we had heat haze and you can see this clearly in one of the images. Some people would not take images with the heat haze, but I like to have a play when faced with challenges like this. Often the resulting images never see the light of day but sometimes you can end up with something you like.
I specifically booked to visit Amboseli to take images of Elephants and there are still a few in my head that didn’t come to fruition but then there are many on my hard drive that I would never have imagined. Amboseli is a special place, the lodge we stayed in was lovely and perfectly located, the people I shared the time with were fabulous, our guide Ken was excellent (he found me elephants on the lake bed so he is forever a special person as far as I am concerned) and Andrew overloaded my brain with photography knowledge.
Amboseli you were amazing and I will be back.