Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Surviving Wild Hippos (Where "Out of Africa" Was Filmed)

We went on a group trip to Sanctuary Farm on Crescent Island, Lake Naivasha. It was incredible. I've never been so close to hippos - one of the deadliest animals in the world! Thankfully, our guide helped us feel very safe. (Don't mind the collection of skulls at the entrance.)

Crescent Island is a pretty special place. A lot of the wildlife did not originate or migrate there naturally, but they were instead brought to serve as backdrops during filming of the famous classic movie "Out of Africa". (See the photo I took of the runway Denys Finch Hatton used below.) I watched the movie for the first time right before I left for Kenya, and although it's problematic and a product of its time in a lot of ways, it's also easy to see why it's so popular.

They simply left the wild animals there after filming, so now there are giraffes and zebras and Thompson's gazelles, but no lions. I think my favorite of the animals you can see on safari here is the giraffe. They're so beautiful and graceful, whether they're eating or walking or staring back at you.

There are lovely walking paths, but the guides are happy to walk visitors off the paths and right up to the wild animals. I'm amazed I was able to get such good photos on my smartphone. (Though I learned a valuable lesson: don't get so distracted by following the animals that you step on every thorn in the park and then have to stop to pull every one out of your shoes.)

Can you spot the buffalo (I think?), Thompson's gazelles, and zebras in the below photos? I think what others told us about safaris will hold true: we'll never be able to go to a zoo again after walking freely with animals in the wild like this!

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