Breakfast at early dawn in the dining tent...yummy fresh fruits and breads, pancakes, coffee and teas and cold juices...and then we loaded up all of our gear and luggage for another game drive on our way over to Kirawira, our next tent camp. Lots of stops today, first to talk our way out of the ticket the ranger cited to Godfrey and Martin, our amazing and patient drivers/guides! Then, we stopped at a little rest area/park to sign up for a hot air balloon ride that some of the group would be taking the next morning (we opted out). We stopped for a little bit of a lunch break to enjoy another yummy boxed lunch (a piece of boneless chicken, a roll with caramelized onions, a chunk of cheese, and apple, a yogurt and mango juice - that was a typical lunch - all served at noonday temperatures, but somehow tasting really yummy!).
Once we got all of our paperwork done and the ticket cleared up we made our way to the hippo ponds! First reaction, ewwwww!!! We probably started smelling the hippos long before we actually saw them! Close to 100 hippos in thick greenish, yucky pond...all together, mostly underwater, surfacing moments at a time, snorting and spewing water to keep cool...it was quite a sight! I did manage to get a picture of one of the big hippos out of the water with his mouth open wide...and we heard three of them fighting for territory, impressive sounds and impressively large animals...but probably not my favorite spot! Stinky!
While making our way across the Serengeti to Kirawira Camp (Godfrey says "about 20 minutes" every time you ask him how long it is to anything!) we watched as the landscape changed to a more lush green, plains with groves of Acacia trees. Amidst the trees we spotted lots of elephants, bigger and darker ones, and so beautiful lumbering across the fields. Lots of impalas and gazelles and topis too.
Kirawira was another "tent" camp...this time stilted and tucked into the trees a bit, along stone pathways overlooking an amazing view of the Serengeti! The view was really incredible, panoramic, expansive...and the lodge itself was British-inspired luxury. Seriously, they must've employed one person for every guest!
We got our bags and were escorted to our tent, (#2, same as Dunia) and took the most amazing rainfall shower! The bucket showers at Dunia were unique, certainly sufficient and added to that tent camping experience, but these were really wonderful! It allowed you to feel really clean again, until the humidity kicked in and made you sticky! The tents themselves were huge and elaborately furnished...including a huge netted bed! Each tent had a nice big deck and while standing on ours you could see elephants below munching on trees!
We all met for dinner, four course delicious meals served with more dinnerware and silverware than you could possibly use! Dinnertime was always fun as we had each experienced different things, so we went around the table taking turns saying what our favorite parts of the journey thus far had been... It was really hard to choose and as soon as you did someone would remember something different and you'd say "oh, yes, that was so cool too!!" We really did have a great group of travelers in our group and it was fun to share this experience with them all!
We were escorted back to our tent, you always had to have an escort at night at these places...a reminder of where you actually are, while surrounded with this amazing luxury! We slept under another rainstorm, this time it sounded like the thunder was right on top of us as the canvas walls of the tent sucked in and out with the swells of winds! Crazy, the whole thing seemed crazy, another of those wow moments...that we were tucked into our luxury tent, listening to rain and thunder, with elephants munching on trees right below us, in the Serengeti, in Africa?!
|What a life!|
|A baby giraffe...hard to judge size until they are standing by momma!|
|Elephants and zebras...cool to see animals living in their environment together!|
|A range of sizes...see the littlest one?|
|An African scene!|
|I love their big ears, even the little ones have enormous ears, which they use to keep cool!|
|A "tent" at Kirawira (taken from the Kirawira webpage)!|
|View from front deck (taken from the Kirawira webpage).|