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January 6, 2002

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We woke early, walked to the bus stop, and jumped on a matatu, a public mini-bus that is notorious for carrying street criminals who rob passengers. We chose to ride a matatu because that costs one-tenth as much as riding in a taxi. Our backpacks and baseball caps made us even more conspicuous, yet we arrived safely in downtown Nairobi. There we caught a Land Rover lift to our favorite place - the Masai Mara. We drove 4 1/2 hours, half of it on dirt track, passing vast farmland and gentle hills that reminded us of California, but California farms don't have thorny acacia trees, occasional zebra, and red clad Masai warriors. Even the highly developed areas of rural Africa are exotic to our eyes. By evening we passed thru the Masai Mara's SE gate and camped in small tents ringed by a thorn-branch fence within the game park. The wailing calls of hyenas, hyraxes, and lions kept us awake through much of the night.
We arrived in the Masai Mara and watched this male lion survey his territory. In the Mara you can leave the road and drive right up to the animals.
The family out for a stroll.
Lion bait.
A dead wildebeest hung from a tree, a sure sign that a leopard prowls about.