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August 20, 2003

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First full day in the Masai Mara, a park which sits in Kenya as an extension of the Serengeti ecosystem. Here we run into the annual Great Migration: millions of wildebeest and zebra that start from the Serengeti's southern tip in January and travel northward over miles of grassland, searching for greener pastures, arriving in the Masai Mara in July and August. Because the rains came late this year, the wildebeest are running behind schedule and we find them in the southern area of the park.
We drive by thousands of honking, grunting, and snorting wildebeest. Kjell starts his own census: one, two...wait a minute, did I count that one already?
With 'wrong way William,' our clueless guide, we get lost (for the 2nd time) and stuck in a remote area of the park. Without any elephant nearby we must push the truck ourselves. It takes all day to find the way back to camp. Luckily, millions of wildebeest keep us from feeling lonely.
It may come as a surprise but the Eland stands as Africa's biggest bovid, not the Cape Buffalo (up to 2100 pounds for a male Eland compared to 1900 pounds for a Cape Buffalo, however, a buffalo packs more meaness per pound).
Our own Mara River crossing. We must use this boat to reach our tents in the bush.
Roughing it in Africa, Hemingway style. Hippos munch around the tent at night, 7000 pound lawn mowers. These hippos almost brush against our tents and create a terrific racket with their chewing and grunting. Oblivious, Kjell snores through the whole night.