Nairobi is a wildlife haven

Nairobi is a wildlife haven

Tourists are allowed to touch the majestic giraffes found on the Nairobi safari trail.

In mid-2016, my family and I decided to experience an African safari at the Porini Mara Camp in OlKinyei Conservancy, Nairobi, Kenya.

We boarded an Emirates flight which took us to the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, from where a local, chartered plane would take us to our destination. Our African journey had begun. 

The camp we stayed in was completely isolated, without any network connectivity, which meant work was left behind. We were put in a large tent equipped with almost every comfort that you would expect in a good hotel. 

A jeep came to pick us up for our safari the next day. Our driver told us of the animals we can expect to see during the trip, but with a caveat - unlike zoos, this is their own turf, where they determine the outcomes.

Our first close encounter happened to be with the tallest animal in the world, the giraffe. My daughter was especially excited and squealed in pure joy when she, amidst great apprehension from us and constant encouragement from her brother and the driver, touched the giraffe. It was a moment of pure adrenaline, excitement and wonder for her and for all of us as the smell, sight and feel of that majestic creature connected us to our free, primeval self, buried deep under years of acquired knowledge, sophistication and sobriety. Our journey of unlearning had started.

And then, we witnessed the leopard. The jeep had stopped. 

The exquisite feline who was in the midst of killing a small animal. The leopard’s focus was intense, and its spotted skin was taut, its large tail resting behind. Its prey was still struggling, its body refusing to give up the hope of life. The stealth, strength and speed of the leopard, however, made sure the fight was very brief.

Then something beautiful happened. The leopard dragged its kill 2-3 feet from our jeep and went behind. Looking on, we saw a few leopard cubs eagerly waiting. 

Small and furry, they piled onto each other as their mother brought food for them. With her children busying themselves over the meal, she sat down majestically. A job well done!

Looking back on the journey, I think our stars aligned as perfectly as they do over the huge grasslands in Africa.

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