Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kenya : Giraffe, Hippo, Crocs and "Hakuna Matata"

This is the last post on herbivores from Kenya, and specifically Maasai Mara. I have included some meat eaters too, but the photos of the lions have been reserved for the last!

We saw a few groups of giraffes.

Yes, they are very tall :-)

They have a curious way of looking at you.

This mother was with 2 calves, so understandably she was far away from humans.

All the previous were "Masai Giraffe". The next is a different type of giraffe, called "Rothschild's Giraffe". It has much lighter colored coat and a clean honeycomb pattern. These are commonly found in many zoos. But their numbers in wild are too few, and these are listed as an endangered species. Their home habitat is near Kenya Uganda border. We were told that during the times when the rebels were fighting Idi Amin, they were killing these giraffes for their meat as well as their skin which was used as camouflage.

On of the fearsome resident of the Mara is the "Nile Crocodile", an apex predator. The wildebeest migration hadn't reached the river yet, so these crocodiles were just relaxing. These can be really huge.

The one in the next photo,  is easily over 15 feet long.

We saw numerous hippos, but of all the animals, I found them to be the most difficult to photograph. They spend all day submerged in the water, and come out only after sunset to graze. So you never see them full in clear daylight.

This baby was hiding safely behind the mother, and on the other side, at a distance was the crocodile above!

There has to be a photograph of a hippo with the mouth wide open :-)

This mother came out a tad early. Maybe she gets hungry earlier, or maybe she wants to give a chance to her baby to graze before the others get out. Still there was not enough light.

The resort at Lake Naivasha gets mobbed by hippos at night. They come out to graze on the lawns. I did not have a tripod, so tried taking this photo with 1 second exposure.

The movie "Lion King" made the phrase "Hakuna Matata" famous. In Swahili, it means "No worries". The famous song is sung in the movie by a warthog and a meerkat. The warthog is a type of wild pig, adapted to the savannah

They generally run away from people.

Meerkat is a type of mongoose, so I am taking the liberty to post a mongoose photo in the context of "Hakuna Matata". Meerkats are not found in Kenya, they are from much southern part of Africa. This one is called "banded mongoose".

They live in large families.

Next, I would post pictures of birds of Kenya.

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