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Tuesday, January 29th, 2002

Buffalo Springs, Samburu, Kenya

Cheetah

Africa is still great! everyday is still new and exciting because we keep moving to new places. After a long dusty trip on the trucks we arrived at Buffalo Springs Game Reserve - Samburu to set up our tents. However, two-inch acacia thorns and burrs (everywhere) made this a very trying task. Especially when scorpions and a puff adder (a little but deadly snake) were found to share our camp! However that was the end of our troubles (Well until one of the outhouses blew over!).

 

What can we say about Buffalo Springs…well most of you survivor lovers must recognize the name Samburu. Our camp site was actually 10km from the Survivor camp site and on the other side was where the voted off group camped out (we found this out from one of our camp coordinator Deiter who actually worked on the set).

 

Every sunrise and sunset we set out on a game drive. It was great…we saw giraffes, gazelles, zebras, elephants (galore!!), cape buffalo, vervet monkeys, baboons, and a very nonchalant leopard, who didn’t even seem to mind our trucks being in it’s path, it just crawled right underneath us!

 

The last game drive we went on was the best!! Our truck decided to just go out find some animals and observe them for a bit instead of going trigger happy! :) hehe We got to hear what zebra sound like, they sound kinda like horses in a way. Another highlight was the elephants…. we saw them right by the river, it was incredibly pretty with the palm trees in the background and the green grass around them. The palm trees are called doum palms and are really neat cause the trunk splits half way up the tree which is unusual for palm trees. It was interesting watching the elephants eat, wrapping their trunk around the grass, ripping it out of the ground, and beating it against the ground to get rid of the dirt before finally lifting it up into its mouth. Very cool… all this was happening about 7 feet from our truck. I actually had to zoom-out (and I have a crappy camara)! We also saw some more vervet monkeys :) yay! They were climbing all over one tree, a baby too which had a huge head in relation to his body hehehe:) Another was hanging upside down trying to reach food!! I was in heaven!

 

The other highlight was seeing 2 leopards about 15 feet from the truck…a female and a male! Leopards are usually solitary so it was fascinating seeing two together, especially since the female was courting the male! They ended up moving back a bit to some rocks but we could still see them without binoculars. The female was rubbing her body and tail against the male and flopping over onto her back which is how she courts a male. It's apparently really rare to see this. Our driver said he's been doing game drives for 10 years and he's never seen it, and another staff member told us he's only seen it twice in 7 years. So we were really lucky to have been able to witness this! She just couldn't sit still! But he didn't seem interested cause he just sat there, maybe he didn't want an audience :P hehehe

 

During our stay we visited Archers Post, a nearby town. We were able to make a visit to the missionary clinic, a primary school, a womans group and a marketplace (where they sold cold pop!).

 

Some people went swimming in a (green, algae filled) spring while others stayed back and got to view our class tent blow over and tear. There’s a rumor that the spring formed during world war II from a german bombing. I decided not to swim despite it looking super refreshing and inviting because last year everyone who went swimming got sick, something I want to avoid. But I went to see it anyways. It had tons of algae in it, apparently it felt like swimming through hair, yuck! Around the spring were baboons and warthogs so I ended up watching the baboons! soooo cool!!! They were so close which made me a bit nervous at first cause they can be really viscous! I saw a little threesome action going on in which the dominant male got really protective over the female, very interesting watching their natural behaviour! They must've been 10 feet away, no joke! At one point the non-dominant male came running and screetching towards us showing his teeth as he must have felt we were getting too close, that was scary! But it was neat to watch them relaxed and doing their own thing as if we weren't there.

 

Two other highlights of our stay were getting to read email for the first time (keep them coming!) and having chocolate brownies for dessert. Everyone had a great time and no one got voted off! On to Marsabit….

 

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