AFRICA: IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

I was going to start this week’s blog with the song, “It’s a Family Affair,” by Sly and the Family Stone until I clicked into Disney’s “The Circle of Life,” from The Lion King.  Why?  It made me cry.

I did not cry because the lyrics are so true and wondrous, which they are.  I did not cry because it showed a land and animals in harmony, which it did.  I did not cry because I cry at many Disney movies (this is not true – I DO get sappy at Disney stories).  But this time I cried because this video was almost an exact replica of what I saw and experienced on my journey to Africa.

Start with the sunrise – does it not look like this?

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Or the sun’s rays streaming through the clouds:

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Or the view of Mt Kilimanjaro –  a much more vivid view than this:

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Even the Serengeti kopje where Simba was presented had a similar photo in my collection:

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But what really hit me were the animals – the depiction of hoards of herds of zebra and elephants and wildebeests and impalas and gazelles and guinea fowl and flamingoes was as if the images in my brain had crystalized into glorious animation.  So watch it and read along.

It is presently the dry season of East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) which runs from June through October.  There are also two rainy seasons – the long rains which fall March through May and the short rains which arrive in mid October and continue until mid December. Herds are on the constant move and as vegetation and water supplies get used up in the Serengeti in Tanzania, the herds start to move north  towards the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is known as The Great Migration. Along the way, mating, pregnancy and birth take place among many of the species, sometimes seeming in mid-stride:

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The result of this activity is lots of pregnant females who take their conditions quite matter of factly and continue their grazing:

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However at times, pregnancy adds vulnerability, as ungainlyness makes it difficult to escape predators.  This giraffe, for example was not only a target becasue of her pregnancy but also due to her lowered grazing stance.  Fortunately there were no predators nearby:

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Despite the odds, many animals successfully give birth and I was so lucky to be able to see the results of this fecundity.  All the moms, and in many cases the entire herd are excellent parents and baby sitters, making sure the little ones are safe.  In addition it was precious to see the actual love, affection and playfulness that wafted among the babies and adults.

ELEPHANT:

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LION:

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GIRAFFE:

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CROWNED CRANE:

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MARABOU STORK:

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HYENA:

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HIPPO:

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ZEBRA:

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It was heart-stopping to see a mother zebra turn around while crossing the Mara in order to find a colt who had strayed from the family unit as crocodiles lurk in these waters waiting to capture an unsuspecting victim.

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WILDEBEEST:

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BABOON:

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IMPALA:

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CAPE BUFFALO

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And most exciting of all, a baby rhino –  there are only 21 rhino left in the Masai Mara. The rhino is notoriously shy and reclusive so it was so thrilling to catch a glimpse of this rare momma and baby:

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Let me end this post with the lyrics and translation of “The Circle of Life” – perfect words for a most perfect experience.

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Ingonyama
Siyo nqoba (we’re going to conquer)
Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabaal (it’s a lion and a tiger)
[repeats 5]
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala (se-to-kwa!)
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala (asana)

From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

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#

 

2 thoughts on “AFRICA: IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

  1. What an amazing experience! You were soooooooooo lucky to see it all! Great story and great shots! Can’t believe you saw a rhino, not to mention a baby!!!

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