Thursday, July 14, 2011

By:  Angie Simon/L. Butler

Yes, we have arrived safely and in good spirits in the beautiful country of Africa!  Our jumping off point is Nairobi, Kenya, and after MANY hours on airplanes and in airports, we are happy to begin our journey on this amazing continent.  For those of us returning it is always a treat to experience again the sights, sounds, smells and smiles of Africa.  And for those of us who are here for the first time, today marks the start of  many wonderful memories and experiences like none other.

Jet-lagged though we may be, the fatigue of travel was quickly forgotten as we headed out on our first safari.  Seeing the animals of Africa is certainly nothing like visiting a zoo or watching National Geographic.  The majesty, power, grace and agility of these creatures never ceases to amaze and delight each of us, whether it is the first time to see them or not.  We were treated to an up-close encounter with a giraffe – one of the most graceful, really tall animals you will ever see.  In the wild they move with such fluid, elegant steps that it is really hard to describe – but suffice it to say we will never think of them again without smiling and remembering this day.  And to top that, we got to follow a mother lion and her two cubs – also up close.  Although nature shows sometimes make it seem that it is easy to see elusive animals in the wild, the reality is much different.  So we were THRILLED to get to see these predators, especially close by – and the addition of the cubs was very much an “awe” moment.

We weren’t done yet with our animal encounters.  We also got to visit an elephant orphanage today – a truly amazing experience!  The orphanage cares for baby elephants that have lost their mothers to poaching – a sad but very real fact.  We were able to feed them and pet them and the orphanage also has a sponsorship program to help cover their costs of caring for the babies.

Tomorrow we are off to Lake Nukuru and Kisumu as we make our way towards Tororo.

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