Kenya and Northern Tanzania

November 1996

In November 1996 we travelled to Kenya and northern Tanzania with Olga and Herb Clarke on a trip they organized through LA Audubon.  We flew to Nairobi by way of Rome (on Alitalia before they banned smoking - argggh!) and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (where we had to hide all our books so as to avoid offending any of the crew coming on board).  Our travels took us to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Lake Nakuru, and the Masai Mara (click map at left to enlarge).  This was a trip Liza had dreamed about ever since reading about Elsa the lioness in Born Free as a kid!

Although it was a birding trip, we saw plenty of game animals, and Liza was able to enjoy a serene hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara.  Robert had one of his worst bouts of travel illness ever on this trip ... don't eat those beautiful tomatoes Robert!  :-) ...and missed out on Ngorongoro Crater day.

Photos aren't the greatest...pre-digital camera! ... but will give you an idea.  Enjoy.

Also, click here for Liza's trip journal.

Click photos to enlarge...somewhat :-)

The Colisseum in Rome, en route
to Nairobi

Robert at the Colisseum

Robert at the Safari Park
Hotel in Nairobi

Mosaic depiction of Masai warriors
at the hotel bar, Nairobi

Nairobi skyline as viewed from Uhuru

Ahmed, the famous elephant
(well, a fiberglass reproduction)
in the Natural History Museum

Sleeping under mosquito nets
was a prudent precaution

Leaving Nairobi we headed south into
northern Tanzania, passing a number
of Masai villages en route

Olive baboons traverse the hotel
grounds at Lake Manyara

The patio at the Lake Manyara Hotel

Baobab trees, also known as
"upside-down trees"

A young elephant

Hippos wallowing in the muddy water
at Lake Manyara

An African Fish Eagle surveys
his domain

Olga Clarke and Liza at the entrance
to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Panorama view of Ngorongoro Crater
from the rim

Our driver fixing one of many flat

An immature Greater Kestrel greeting
us at the entrance to Serengeti National

Sunset at the Seronera Lodge,
Serengeti National Park

Grant's Gazelle

The Seronera Lodge was set in a
kopje, or rocky outcropping

Colorful Agama Lizards patrolled
the kopjes

Hyena...looking cuter than I thought
they would

How do you greet a lion?  Jambo,
These two plopped themselves
down in the shade provided by our

Zebras were plentiful on the

A Tawny Eagle eating lunch

A lioness and her cub relax after a
meal, Serengeti National Park

Superb Starling - a lot prettier than
the European Starlings we have at

Leaving the Serengeti, we made a
stop at Olduvai Gorge

Looking into Olduvai Gorge

Traditional Masai dance being
performed at a Masai cultural center

Masai women and children
looking on as the men dance

Robert with a friendly Masai man

Next day we switched into rugged
4WD Land Rovers (from Toyotas)
and descended the steep switchback
trail into Ngorongoro Crater

Lots of Cape Buffalo and Wildebeest
in Ngorongoro

Beautiful tall yellow-bark acacias,
also known as fever trees, in the

A Black Rhinoceros (although we have
it on good authority you can't tell from
a distance...but we took our driver's

From Ngorongoro we headed back to
Arusha, Tanzania's fourth largest city,
passing a Masai market (above) en

Liza at Mountain Village, our lodge
just outside Arusha

Mountain Village...beautiful...
we actually had a glimpse of
Mount Kilimanjaro from here
(not pictured :-)

Back in Kenya, negotiating the busy
streets of Nairobi...quite the experience

Liza and Robert at the Equator,
where (for a fee) folks were eager
to show you the Coriolus effect
(which way the water swirls down
a drain) on either side of the
Equator..or so they said

This is a tent!  Sweetwaters Tented
Camp, a private game reserve, where
the tents are both permanent and

A Reticulated Giraffe on the run

Robert meets Murani, a tame
Rhinoceros (white or black?)

Robert and Liza at Sweetwaters

Landscaped garden meets acacia
scrubland at Sweetwaters

Kenyan roads are in general better
than in Tanzania, but away from the
cities, they're all about the same...

Woodcarvers turning out quality
animal carvings at the Equator
Wood Carving Cooperative

Rosy-patched Bush-shrike

We continued north past the western
slopes of Mount Kenya to descend a
steep escarpment into Kenya's Northern
Province and the Samburu Game Reserve,
where we enjoyed a rosy sunset

Why they named a car after the
graceful Impala, I'll never know

Lilac-breasted Roller at Samburu

Can you find the leopard in this photo?

Gerenuks (a type of antelope)
stand on their hind legs to nibble
leaves higher in the trees

Little Bee-eaters

Termite mound...eek

Zebras on alert

Lioness checking out the zebras...

...while her partner yawns

Liza at a champagne brunch outside
Samburu Game Reserve

Yellow-billed Stork

A leopard in a tree with a recent kill

Black-faced Vervet Monkeys
were practically pests at the
Samburu Serena Lodge...don't
leave any food unattended!

Robert surveying the Lesser and
Greater Flamingos at Lake Nakuru

Bird watching is a wise use of a
wetland...what the sign says

An Olive Baboon protects her baby
near Baboon Cliff at Lake Nakuru Park

Mocking Cliff-Chat

Mostly we travelled in Toyota and
Nissan minivans outfitted with

Hot air balloon prepping for
flight over the Masai Mara

View of one balloon from the

How do you get out of a balloon?
Very carefully.

Roughing it, this isn't.  A cooked-to-
order, elegant "bush breakfast" at
Masai Mara

Enjoying champagne and OJ at
our bush breakfast

Liza rode a bike in Kenya!

Mara Serena Lodge - the sign
pinpoints our location

An old male elephant with a broken
tusk - who later charged the vehicle
behind us

Landscaped grounds at the
Mara Serena Lodge...from our
"cabana" we could hear lions
moaning half the night...eerie

A Thomson's Gazelle checks
us out before bounding off

Last view of the Great Rift Valley -
a fuzzy shot...we returned to Nairobi
that afternoon to begin the 31-hr
trip home (20 hrs of flight, 11 of