My African Photos Safari - Journal Entry #1 August 11, 1988

I went on a photo safari designed for photographers, with eight other people, lead by Leonard Lee Rue III. At the time, Leonard was the most published wildlife photographer in America, and had authored numerous wildlife books.

We had a sumptuous breakfast at the beautiful, historic Norfolk Hotel, where we were staying upon our arrival to Kenya. The Norfolk Hotel was prominently featured in the movie, "Out of Africa."

Elegant white linen tablecloths added to the elegant ambience, of the dining room, along with fresh cut flowers, and potted orchids of all colors.

A wonderful buffet was presented which was both a feast for the eyes, and stomach. Featured were various tropical juices; mango, papaya, and guava, along with the more common orange, grapefruit and pineapple. Eggs, cooked to order, along with heaping platefuls of bacon, sausage, and ham were there for the choosing, along with bagels, croissants, toast, tea, and coffee, which rounded out the breakfast offerings.

When we finished breakfast, it was about 9:00 a.m. Len Sr. said, "Get your camera gear, and whatever else you'll need and meet back in the lobby in no longer than 20 minutes." You better believe everyone was ready and waiting in the lobby at 9:20 a.m.! I liked thinking that Lenny was our, "Drill Sergeant," and we were his recruits. This thought held up for the duration of our photo safari, which is what I wanted. We pretty much got out even earlier most mornings, stopped taking photos just long enough to eat lunch, then continued shooting until the light failed. Being we were there for three weeks, Lenny made each precious moment count.

Lenny had this safari organized for photographers, and saw to it that no more than three people were in the van/land rover, at a time, unless you were in the van he happened to be in that day. (Which of course was a highlight). Hell, he could have sat on my lap and I'd have been happy! :-) With just three people to a van, we would have plenty of room to shoot photographs all day long, and not get in each other's way.

Msembi was the driver whose van I was in on the first day of my photo safari which took place in Nairobi National Park. Ann, and Don, were the other two photographers in the van with me. Msembi was a very kind, shy man, with a good sense of humor. The first animals we saw and photographed were giraffes. I was talking about how exciting it was to finally be on a game drive. Msembi smiled widely at me, and put his index finger to his lips, to give the universally understood, "quiet," signal, and he pointed straight up.

Two beautiful giraffes were quietly eating acacia thorns to the right of the van, and another giraffe was on the left. I sat there in quiet awe for a moment, being I'd never seen any wild animal except in a zoo, and never out in its natural habitat like this, and only 20 feet away! We silently took photos of these beautiful animals, with the only noise being our shutters releasing, as we took our photos. You can best believe, after this, I only spoke when someone else spoke first, with it either being our game drivers, or Lenny!

The next animals we saw were two lionesses. They were difficult for me to see, as I hadn't gotten my, "safari eyes," yet. The amber coats of the lionesses, blended in perfectly with the dry grass they were lying down in. At first I only saw ears. Then the gorgeous eyes. Msembi slowly and quietly inched the van closer. The two lionesses became more alert, and sat up in the grass so we could more easily see them.

Msembi drove us through Nairobi National Park all day. We stopped at mid-day to have the box lunch the Norfolk Hotel had packed for us. We ate near an overlook, and saw a crocodile a long way off in a stream. The landscape also included many lush, green acacia trees, and a Masai Giraffe. The scene was quite beautiful, far beyond what I could imagine.

Then we saw this beautiful male waterbuck.

The next sight for me, was so special. We saw a female ostrich sitting on her huge nest, with many eggs.

We continued driving until dusk, and returned to the Norfolk Hotel for supper. I sat next to Len Sr., and ordered a steak sandwich, fries, and a bottled Coca Cola. (I didn't usually drink soft drinks but this was the only bottled beverage, besides beer available.) At the time, no one really had individual size bottled water, the way we do today. When you travel, you MUST be aware not to just drink any water presented to you in a glass, nor use ice cubes, nor brush your teeth with tap water, as all these water sources can contain bacteria, etc. that can make you ill, with diarrhea being the least of your worries.

During supper, we spoke of our upcoming trip to Amboseli National Park the next day. After supper, we moved to the lounge and discussed the new, "Auto-Everything," type cameras, and what the future of photography might be like. We had no idea what was coming. Taking photographs WITHOUT film, never entered into the conversation with the digital photography wave, just down the road.

Publicado por kathleenlryan kathleenlryan, 01 de diciembre de 2019

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