Day 6 – Rare Sighting

Rare Sighting
As always in the Mara and early start, after our excitement yesterday with Keeka the Leopard how could our game drives get any better. Our first sighting was a family of elephants, we parked up along the road side and watched them go about there business. The air was cold and the sky still dark, as the sun creeped above the horizon the sleight blue overcast sky softly lit our surrounding landscape. Every so often the matriarch elephant would head towards our vehicle, she flapped her ear giving us a warning. Each time she did this we moved further down the road. She didn’t mind us being their, but at the same time wanted to make sure she had comfortable distance between us and her young.
An animals behaviour and body language should always be observed when viewing wild game, the last thing you wan is for a big animal like an elephant to charge at you. An hour had passed as if only a few seconds, we must have moved a dozen time to keep space between us and the herd. So far a great mornings game drive, the advantage of visiting the Mara in January is that there are less tourists. With the elephants we were the only onlookers, no other vans chasing around disturbing the deadly silence. It was so quiet you could hear the roots breaking as the elephants pulled grass from the ground to eat.
With a calm soft wiser, Godfrey leaned over with wide open excited eyes and said “excuse me, shall we go and see something we have not seen”, I instantly knew what Godfrey had heard over the radio, I turned round to my wife and father and said “Sit down and hold on, Godfrey’s on a mission!”. This was my Father’s first safari and up and till now we have not really had any real speedy drives, his expression said it all. “Rhino, theres a Rhino sighting” We raced along the tracks as we had lots of ground to cover to get there. As this time of year there are less tourists in the Mara, the Rhino are much harder to spot, any sightings are called in to the Kenyan Wildlife Service so they can be monitored.
Poaching of these huge and critically endangered animals is still high, poachers will risk there lives even in the mara to take the horns of Black Rhino to sell on the black market which ends up in China. Unfortunately I have had first hand experience of seeing where poached Ivory, along with Tiger paws and various other animal parts end up. Its quite clear that the end user and makers of these pointless products, have no idea of the horrific slaughter and damage that is being done surrounding the origin of the material they use.
In an obscure way every sighting of the Black Rhino goes towards educating and making us aware of why we should protect these magnificent beasts!
As we approached the area the Rhino was seen, the KWS and several spotting vehicles were already on site. We made our way slowly and carefully in to the thicket and waited along side of the KWS vehicle. Like a scene out of Jurassic park, she pushed her way throughout the bush and on to the track. Our encounter was brief, not stopping as she moved up into he hills. It was a moment of observation and not photography, this time I was going to use my eyes to view what was before us and not the lens.
As we drove back to camp we discussed all the viewings so far, this trip was turning out to be the best Safari we had been on so far, and we still had three and a half days to go…
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