We call this page “nocturnal Africa” since we spent a significant amount of time out in the bush throughout the evening. Its a whole different world at night….
Before we begin lets look as some of our guides par excellence!
Simon, guide and budding comedian forgetting to take the lens cap off.
Chui, the flat tire king
And Alex, laughing at us as we clang aboard the Land Rovers with all of our equipment.
We used a million candle power light at night in order to see in the distance. Most of the time all we could see were the reflections from their eyes. There were numerous false alarms, and lots of embarrassing laughs, as we learned the difference between a predator and a harmless creature like a bush baby.
Lets look at some “night eyes” and see if you can figure out what creature is behind those eyes. You already saw the lion eyes, see if you can figure these out before we give you the answer
Lets turn a few dials on this camera and see if this helps you.
You need a powerful flash for most of the night time shots. Once you get it set up there are lots of critters waiting to put on a show.
White tailed mongoose were a common sight.
This Serval walked right up to us, concentrating totally on his hunting.
The waterholes always had some evening action.
This bat eared fox entertained us by chasing this mouse.
This is a genet, an nocturnal cat-like creature that is actually related to a mongoose.
Staying awake throughout the night wasn’t always easy as you can see. We will keep this person’s name confidential so the head researchers don’t find out who he is and make him come back next year!
We would often stay out until the morning sun. We were in the right place when the sun came up for this cheetah picture.
Back at camp, after a long evening, we all enjoyed our mid day siestas. We were too tired, and it was too hot, to do anything else.
After our nap we would to go to the waterhole at camp and watch the elephants interact.
Late one afternoon we came across these two males resting in the shade. Their names are Kabochi and Bahati.
As we continued to observe them Bahati walked over to a buffalo killed we hadn’t noticed.
Both lions feasted away for several hours until it became dark and we had to get back to camp
Just before we left I took one last photo
We returned the next morning to see if they were still there. They were gone, and never returned
In our two weeks we had one (and only one) day off. So guess what we did? We did something different, and went game viewing at Tsavo East National Park.
We did a no-no upon entering the park and were immediately arrested and thrown in the brig. After the State Department posted our bail we continued on our tour.
Tsavo East has lots of elephants to say the least. The park has a hard time keeping them from roaming outside the park.
At the entrance to the park is a nice hotel with a beautiful view of a waterhole. As you can see the hotel has a sense of humor, which fit in well with our group.
A highlight of the trip for many volunteers was Kabochi’s sedation and replacement of his radio collar.
The veterinarian called in to do the sedation was very experienced and it went off flawlesslly.
As soon as Kabochi was safely under anesthesia the guides did their thing. Dr. Kasiki was the record keeper.
Alex took skin and hair biopsies
Chui put the new radio collar on
As for Simon…. lets just say he helped supervise and we will leave it at that.
Dr. P helped take a blood sample and perform an exam. The lower right canine tooth has a slab fracture.
When all the real work was finished we had a chance to take a few photos before we gave a reversing agent
We went back to our vehicles and watched as Kabochi slowly woke up and staggered away, giving us one last look before he disappeared
Our last evening was spent toasting to the people, animals, and beauty of the area. Dr. P is standing with Dr. Kasiki, the head researcher at camp. He is one of the nicest and most sincere men in Africa. He also knows how to drive his truck at breakneck speed when you need to get to some funny-named and out-of-the-way airport on time!
To learn much more about a research trip like this and how you can go on a trip with lions click here to see the details.