Amboseli Game Reserve, Kenya
July 2000
(Click any photo throughout to see a larger version)
Amboseli, we were told, is the Swahili word for "dust". It was well named. On the dirt roads in and out of the reserve, the swirling dust clouds kicked up by passing vehicles were almost unbearable. However, thoughts like these were quickly banished by the sight of vast herds of giant animals kicking up a little dust of their own.
The hot dry savannah lulls many a creature to sleep, including this spotted hyena, lion, and my brother-in-law Igy and his girlfriend Fabiola.
Not all mammals have the luxury of sleeping all day. These yellow baboons work hard at inspecting one another for tasty parasites.
Amboseli has a healthy elephant population, and they pay little mind to the safari vehicles. This one walked close and slowly enough for me to get away with reasonably well-focused hand-held shots like this.
If you've been to Disneyland, you will recognize this as the fake elephant hiding in the bushes that "startles" the boat captain 3 times an hour on the Jungle Cruise ride.
Just one more Amboseli elephant picture, and then I promise I'll move on to other topics. This is Mom, Dad, and Li'l Junior. Junior was very, very small, and had humorous difficulties crossing a small ditch at the side of the auto track.
From the mighty herbivore to the delicate predator. I spotted this praying mantis on a bush at Tortilis Camp, our lodging in Amboseli. It was much less obvious in context. I played a game with my wife and her family where I held my hands about six inches apart and challenged them to find the mantis somewhere in the space between my hands. They were not all successful.
Tortilis Camp had a little stream running through it, packed with these attractive little reed frogs. The colors for this one population of this one species ranged from yellow to tan to black, some spotted, some striped.
We saw several different species of kingfisher, most of them beautiful like this pied kingfisher. This one was hanging out at the edge of a marsh. It spent most of its time hovering, then abruptly zooming down and splashing into the water after some fast-swimming morsel. Here it is resting between dives.
In California the largest herons we see are great blue herons, which are very large and imposing birds. This goliath heron put great blue herons to shame. It was both much larger and much more colorful.
We thought this could be the first in a series of greeting cards for your enemies. Perhaps the caption would be something like "Looking forward to your next birthday? I know we are!" My notes tell me that these are Nubian a.k.a. lappet-faced vultures. It's a little hard in this picture to tell how lappetted their faces are.
Finally, in their typical alphabetically last position, are some zebra. These are common zebra, and they validated their common name by showing up in the hundreds.

Onward to The Mountain Lodge

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