Saturday, July 13, 2019

Ikuka Day 1

After our lunch and getting to spend time relaxing in our rooms and in the pool we headed out for our first afternoon game drive in Ruaha national park. The camp is located on the very top of a mountain in the park so the majority of the game spends its time down closer to the river. As we headed down the mountain we spotted this sweet little fella on the side of the road. It is a dik-dik, sweet tiny little antelope. He kind of stole our hearts since they look like miniature deer. 
She was not shy at all and stood there eating grasses and allowing us to get plenty of photos and a good look at her. She is definitely in a top contender spot for taking home as a pet. Added bonus she would eat all our dead brush around our house!
Then come the giraffes which we will never get tired of seeing. 

I think the giraffe might make a nice pet too?
Geoffrey was so knowledgable and truly he could track down any animal in the park always leaning out of the driver seat to check the prints in the dust of the road below. He popped out of the vehicle to show us the prints he was looking at and how he could tell which animal, which direction it was headed, how old the prints were etc. It was fascinating!!

The landscape here was so different from Selous and so picturesque. We saw elephant everywhere, every day. 
They had been down at the river looking for water. They have to drink water every day and it is dry season so they have to work harder to get water this time of year.
This group was caked in mud they had put on their skin to stay cool. It had dried and crusted on giving them such an old weathered look.
When you catch the elephant in just the right direction and the sunlight hits them in the evening glow it's a natural instagram filter!

Gemma took hold of the camera and took some elephant shots you see above. She also needed to get some good selfie shots with them in the background.
This is the best of the selfies. We have plenty more with kissy lips and silly faces if you want to request a blow up size for your home.
I like this old guy with his curled up trunk eating some delicious savanna grass.
Alex is not above an elephant selfie or two.
Then around the way from the elephants we went to the local lion den to see if anyone was home. It seems these guys are just plentiful here, although some people never see any, we saw lions every single day. It was the leopards and cheetahs that eluded us. This was our first male lion spotting so that was exciting. 
He had his lady with him and they were hanging out in the brush snoozing on and off. They got tired of us watching them so they sauntered away into deeper brush.
That's fine, we know when to move on and see our happy giraffe and zebra.
Another impressive baobab tree. We did see plenty of other safari vehicles and of course when something thrilling was found like lion prides we would all show up but for the most part it was never crowded and we never felt like it was traffic at the zoo. We do have a whole huge business plan for Disney to come in and run this African safari park but I'm pretty sure somebody has already pitched that idea. 
Towards sunset we came across a baboon troop. They are hilarious to watch and we could spend hours just fascinated by their personalities and group dynamics.
The leader of the troop gets his bugs picked off but never does that for others.
Then there was this tiny baby who we couldn't get enough of. 
Apparently the whole troop couldn't get enough of him and every older monkey would come over and try to grab him, and cuddle him. The way there were trying have a turn with the baby looked pretty rough and nasty to us! He was getting flipped and flung all around!
Finally the mom had enough and stomped off with him.

We also spotted this jackal in the same area which was a good spotting. We didn't see any others all trip.
Now it was time for sun downers in the field. Geoffrey found a "safe" place for us to park up and get out of the vehicle to have a stretch of the legs and a drink and nibble while watching the sun set.
I thought we had seen plenty of palm trees in California. I wonder what people who don't live near palm trees think when they come here. 
I was way more enamored with the baobab trees. I have to credit Disney and the animal kingdom park for my obsession. They are just so beautiful and striking with their wide trunks.
When I retire in Africa I'm going to have a safari vehicle with a built in table for the bar too. It dropped down from the front grill and set up all our gin and tonics, kilimanjaro beers, and fanta, plus a few home made nibbles too.

Gemma already claimed this truck for herself.
A great picture of our Bibi and Babu, maybe our favorite words in Swahili, Grandmother and Grandfather. 
Oh and this is the logo for our camp but no Ikuka is not a bird, that is the African hornbill. Ikuka is a name of a waterfall near the camp.

Our instagram professionals tried to get a good sunset with heart hands picture. I'm not sure we nailed it yet.

It was a pretty great day. Now that the sun set we needed to head back up the hill to our lodge for dinner. Geoffrey is not only a first class tracker but a number one formula one race car driver. We raced up that mountain gravel road at top speeds to get home. Hold on to your seats it was a wild ride. Again, most of the lodge takes their meals at 8pm but our crew could not stay up that late so we ate when we returned to the lodge at 7. Even so Gemma did not make it to dessert most nights and we finished up our main course and headed straight back for bed. 

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