I want to start this with an apology. I realise it has been a little while since I last reached out and wrote a blog. Life has been a little challenging of late. We are no longer on the road but have returned back to Brisbane, Australia for a quick sorting out. Coming home when you have no home can present it’s own challenges and as we are not back permanently but only for a quick stop I have been busily finding us a suitable place to live and getting us a little bit organised. With all of this messing about I have found it hard to get in blog writing frame of mind so I apologise for the lack of posts.
So what happens to the blog now that we are home? A heap of good stuff. I now have time to get in and write a little something and I still have plenty to tell. You have barely heard anything of our trip to Africa and there are a few little travel tales from the rest of our journey that didn’t make it in the first time around. So this little travel break will be a time for me to catch you up on some of the fun things that we did and to do a little work on the back-side of the blog (hopefully without breaking it).
And so we re-start our journey from where we left off – the Maasai Mara in Kenya…
On our first full day in the Mara we saw a great many animals of all different kinds, as you would expect. And they all filled me with awe and wonder. It is amazing how sitting in a vehicle with no windows makes everything feel so close and touchable. It is a feeling of being very connected to the scene without actually being endangered by the animals. After all, even though the sides were open on the car it was not as if the animals got that close. Every time we came close to zebra or wildebeest they turned tail and ran away.
Not all animals do that though.
Lions don’t turn and run. Lions don’t do anything. They don’t even acknowledge that a vehicle has pulled up and is full of people looking at them. They are much too regal to bother with insignificant trucks and thankfully they have not worked out that the people inside could be considered edible.
That does not mean however that there is no interaction.
We came across a great big male sauntering across the plain. Mohican was his name and he really was quite spectacular. I was quite surprised that he walked across in front of the car and didn’t seem to care that we were nearby (in an effort to get better shots Charles had positioned us in front of his path). It was the closest any of the animals had come to the vehicle.
Charles then drove us around again for a second run at a series of shots with him walking towards us. I was madly shooting away with the camera firmly pressed to my eye when I realised that I couldn’t take any more shots because he was filling up the frame too much which could only mean one thing – he must be pretty close.
Close?!!!! Ah yep, you could say that!!!! When I pulled the camera away from my face there, no more than 15 feet away, was a lion casually walking toward me. Ok, he was on the ground outside the car and I was up in the vehicle but there were no windows or anything between me and him. I swear – I stopped breathing. I couldn’t look anywhere other than at this magnificent scary beast that was so close and getting closer.
He was so close in the end that he had to alter his path to get around the back of the car without hitting the corner. And just as he pulled level with me he lifted his great head and looked me straight in the eye – and then dismissed me and just kept on walking. This huge beast that was no more than 4 feet away looked straight into my soul and scoured it clean.
It would have to rate as one of the most terrifying moments of my entire life and one of the most exhilarating and life affirming and so many other things that just can’t be put on paper. I couldn’t breathe and when I finally did manage to hitch in a gasping breath I just started to cry. It was so scary and so exciting all in one.
According to my fellow car-mates all of this happened in the blink of an eye (not for me, it took ages for him to walk past us) and every moment of that emotion played on my face. Billy was laughing with sheer delight having watched me have my first ‘big’ African moment and Dave didn’t think I was that scared because I didn’t move away (mainly because I was completely frozen in place). It was certainly an experience I will never forget. I saw Mohican the lion, and Mohican the lion saw me. Does something to your heart I think. Made me love Africa even more and surely made me re-evaluate my place in the worlds food chain 😉
What an awesome way to meet the king of the beasts – face to face and eye to eye.