We started off our safari day with an early 6 AM breakfast. Finally, all of us on sick leave could attend this laid-back activity, yay! We drove to Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge where Robert the ranger hopped on our bus and so our safari begun. We drove through the privately own Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and continued to the community based LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary which is much larger. We could see that LUMO had less undergrowth than the private sanctuary due to the amount of grazing that is being practiced by the community.
We saw many exotic birds (such as secretarybird and superb starling) which were especially exciting for the bird enthusiasts of our crew. We saw giraffes eating leaves, baboons crossing the road with cute baby baboons on their backs and a huge buffalo herd staring at us in the eye. We also saw many other animals, e.g. kongonis, impalas, an ostrich and a 40-50 year old elephant, according to Robert. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to see any big cats. We saw quite a few termite mounds, active and non-active ones. Prof. Pellikka explained that the active mounds indicate a healthy environment and that their numbers have been declining in the region.
The ride to Lions bluff was a pretty bumpy one. When we got to the top, a beautiful view of the great surrounding savanna opened up. We then ate lunch at the buffet and even got pasta after a long time of eating only local traditional food. After lunch we continued our safari and stopped by a biodiversity recovery project which focuses on planting trees at the sanctuary.
After a “rough” day on safari, we had a pool party at the sanctuary hotel where we enjoyed some drinks and played water polo. Not too shabby!