Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kenya Safari Part XI

And then it was Christmas Eve in the park...

If you're only joining my blog today and would like to read and follow previous posts of our recent safari through Kenya, click here.

On Saturday 24 December, we drove through the park in search of, you guessed it, lion or leopard. We saw giraffe, zebra, buffalo, a Black and white Colobus monkey and a lion in a tree. In Lake Nakuru National Park, lions are often seen in trees and that day we stopped behind another car with the driver pointing in the direction of a small tree. When I trained my binoculars on the spot, sure enough, there was a lion in the tree. Very indisctinct images but it's there nevertheless.
Some of the animals seen in the park on Saturday 24th December. Note the lion in a tree in the last photo

Apart from looking for baby animals on safari, I also photographed trees. I have many trees with name plates and hope to post about these shortly. That day in Lake Nakuru National Park, I had the map of the area spread on my knees and saw two interesting places marked:  the Euphorbia forest and a grove of Wild Olives. I'll also post about the origin and history of these two collections of trees later. For now, I just wanted Grant to drive me there (Of course, his question was: "What for?") When we arrived I took photos- many photos!
The top two photos are of the Euphorbia Forest, and the other four are of the Wild Olive grove in Lake Nakuru National Park.

Then it was back to the lodge to get ready to enjoy another night of entertainment that the hotel was offering around the pool and of course, Christmas dinner. First I posed with the Masai warrior at the lodge entrance. Then I wandered around the pool area and took photos: you can arrange a romantic breakfast or dinner for two around the pool. The deck chairs begged you to relax while the water sparkled clearly in the large pool.
 Clockwise from top: me and the Masai warrior, (note how cold it was in Nakuru, I'm wearing a thick top- I think you call it a hoody in the USA); a romantic breakfast or dinner for two at the pool, me and the Masai warrior again and the poolside with inviting deck chairs

The entertainers and hotel didn't disappoint. Once everyone had gathered around the swimming pool, the waiters handed out cocktails, fruit juice or wine and offered platters of hot snacks. The lodge manager and his staff mingled with guests which I found a wonderfully personal gesture.

Then it was time for the dancers to arrive and entertain us again. I had my camera settings correct this time and managed to get beautiful images. I loved it that several little children joined in the dancing!
The dancers really gave it their all on Christmas Eve. Several children joined in!
As one group of dancers finished their item, they were replaced by another group of equally lithe and fit performers!

The dancers wore kangas, a rectangle of pure bright cotton cloth, printed in bold designs and bright colours with a border all around.  Apart from its protective and decorative role, kanga is all about sending the message. It is the equivalent of the get well greetings, or congratulations cards in the western culture but in this case the message goes a little bit beyond the normal meaning. For example, a fruit, a flower, a boat, or a bird could mean good upbringing or just the appreciation of beauty. On the other hand, a lion, a shark, or any such kind of dangerous animals could signal the sense of danger or a clear warning.

In the kangas above, I note hearts so I suspect these messages are romantic ones. I tried to decipher the message on the border, but as a Mzungu who's still learning Swahili, I didn't get very far. Whatever the wearer is trying to convey, when words are difficult to articulate with a mouth, inscribe them on kanga and wait for the results. The power of kanga in the Swahili culture is far-reaching.

After the dancing, the lodge manager welcomed all the visitors to the lodge. He then introduced his staff who were standing with him around the pool.

Then it was time for dinner. Whoo-hoo!
This little lad, seated at the table next to ours, was more interested in making Christmas cheer than his plate of food!

While we served ourselves to the delicious fare, a choir serenaded us in the diningroom. They sang Christmas carols and songs - all delivered A Cappella !
The lady in the front was the soloist and sang "Oh Holy night" backed by the rest of the choir. The sweet high notes of the soprano, brought tears to many an eye

This little boy was fascinated by the singing

After dinner, Grant and I repaired to the bar-restaurant for coffee. The hotel staff entertained the children with games. The first one was Musical Chairs.
Not many children had ever played musical chairs and there was great confusion about the rules! 
Our little neighbour from the diningroom was the first person out. When the music started again, he joined the queue and had already done another circuit, when the official noticed and pulled him out!

Grant and I didn't stay up and wait for midnight. We retired and were soon asleep after another wonderful day enjoying Kenya, its wildlife, culture and cuisine!

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  1. Wow---what a fantastic way to celebrate Christmas. This is one Christmas that will remain in your memory all of your life... That is awesome...

    I enjoyed seeing your new hat and seeing your dancing on a previous post... I read them all but don't comment as much on the weekend.

    I've enjoyed going on this trip with you so much. Seeing the wildlife and learning about the culture has been fabulous... You should publish all of this in a book.


  2. Fabulous lion in the tree, Jo, he looks camouflaged.
    What a wonderful safari you had. Part of me wants so much to do the same thing, and the rest of me thinks it would be terribly painful.
    Thanks for sharing your safari with us.
    Luv, K

  3. You're lion photo is like my leopard shot from Kruger. I took a lot of vegetation images in ZA. Everything is so different. This Lodge really knows how to treat it's costumers. Love the dancing and you got very good shots this time. And the kids are great.

  4. you had the romantic breakfast with your handsome warrior?

    I too had a photo with my handsome surfing coach. My friends were saying," Ann, one day, you get into trouble, having your photo taken wit men."

  5. Hi Jo, your safari animals have been great. I am so glad you found the lion too. I love the photos of the dancing and the children at the lodge. What a fun vacation. Wonderful photos.

  6. What a lot of fun Jo!
    Everybody small and big enjoyed celebrate Christmas. Its a great fun to watch your pictures... I loved it.
    Greetings from a wintery Holland,
    Anna :-))

  7. Hi Jo, what a lot of fun and everybody small or big they all enjoyed celebrating Christmastime! And I loved it to watch your pictures!!
    Greetings from a wintery Holland,
    Anna :-))

  8. More wonderful animal pictures and a Christmas with a difference. You had a great holiday full of fun experiences.

  9. What a wonderful way to spend Chrismas - or any other holiday! I know you and Grant had a marvellous time. It's odd that in Nakuru Lions are found in trees. As you know, that would be most unusual in the Maasai Mara. Thanks for sharing this trip with us and bringing up such good memories for me.

  10. I didn't know lions ever rested in trees! The evening entertainment sounds like it was excellent, and a very unique celebration of Christmas! It was interesting to read about the kanga...I had no idea.

    Nightly entertainment reminds me of being on a cruise.

    Wonderful post!

  11. I'm sure you had a grand time and made memories to last a lifetime. Hugs and blessings. xx

  12. wonderful work! the way you discuss the subject i'm very impressed. i'll bookmark this webpage and be back more often to see more updates from you.



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