Safari 4: Passports in His Underpants

Clinton Richardson continues his journey from Nairobi to Amboseli, where he enjoys some wildlife-viewing and meets some interesting characters  …

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This series of blogs will take you on Clinton’s safari in Kenya as he travels from Atlanta (USA) to Nairobi National Park, Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Laikipia) and Olare Motorogi Conservancy (Maasai Mara). Let’s join him on his journey as he shares his insights into the conservancies, Porini Camps and the people (and animals!) that he meets along the way. All images are from Clinton’s photo site. Blog entries are from his Venture Moola blog at
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We were heartened to see this magnificent male on our second day at Nairobi National Park. We were tickled to watch from less than 30 yards away while the old fellow reached up with his hind leg to scratch behind his ear. It reminded us our our pet cat at home. As our trip progressed and we saw more and more lions lounging, playing and interacting, we would have this familiarity-reaction over and over.

We also enjoyed the people we met as we traveled. Their varied backgrounds and experiences made for interesting conversation. I am sure we seemed quirky to some as some did to us. Like characters from a book.
One Aussie couple fit that bill. He, at 84, was a retired barrister and businessman with an engaging conversational style that was peppered with pointed questions and good humor. He wore a baseball cap with an Australian flag on the back and was an ardent fan of Aussie football. There was an intensity to his conversation that reminded me of an eager law student who is full of new taught analytical skills.
He and his wife were a comfortable pair but not overly organized, as we learned on our joint flight to the Porini Camp in the Selenkay Conservancy. They were late for our 5:45 a.m. ride to the airport and not too certain about where they were going. And he disappeared outside the entrance to the Wilson Airport before our flight causing some minor concern within the group. It turns out, he confessed to me on his return, that he had to find a private place to retrieve his passports from his underpants.
As with all travel with Gamewatchers, we were escorted by their representatives from the camp until we were on our plane, a twin prop with twelve passenger seats. The flight to the Amboseli Camp was uneventful and low enough to take in the scenery below. We landed less than 90 minutes after we took off on a grass landing field near our camp. Our game drive spotter and driver were waiting for us with an open air Land Rover with six seats in two rows.

Below our Flight to Selenkay
After getting off the plane and learning our Aussie friends were headed, unbeknown to them, in a separate vehicle for a different camp, we unloaded our cameras and hopped into our vehicle for a game drive on the way to camp.

Standing Giraffes are called a Tower

Moving Giraffes are called a Journey
We did not have to go far. Before we could drive 50 yards, we were surrounded by a tower of Maasai giraffe, more than a dozen spread out among the trees and brush before us. It was breathtaking. So many of these giants so close and busy feeding in the upper reaches of the trees around us. Below you can see an adult “nanny” giraffe with five younger giraffes and below that some of the younger ones making their way across a meadow to fresh trees.
Our guides took us off road into the bush to get closer and we learned a critical difference between a conservancy and a national park. In the parks you stay on the roads but in conservancies you can go wherever your vehicle will take you.
We arrived at the Porini Amboseli camp before noon and were shown to our tents. This camp was more open air and spread out. After lunch we had our first hot afternoon while we rested in our tent. It was not Georgia summer hot but something in the 80s.

Our Tent at Porini Amboseli
By 4:00 when we head out for our game drive it was already beginning to cool down. Our driver Julius and spotter Daniel, both Maasai, led us out into the conservancy in our open vehicle. Our companions were an English school teacher who worked in a private school in Nairobi and young married couple from Sydney. She was originally from Hungary and he from Brazil.
This afternoon’s drive culminated with a visit to a waterhole that was full of elephants. Next to the waterhole was a platform for viewing. We would spend the better part of an hour there watching the elephants and participating in our first sun downer, a tradition of safaris where you stop in the wild to watch the sun set and partake in refreshments.

Elephants at the Waterhole
It was hard not to be fascinated with the elephants. There were at least 15 or 20 although it was hard to count because they came and went in small groups. They drank and splashed and rolled in the mud. The mothers interacted tenderly with the young and, of course, the young played.
They were also quite jealous of their domain paying close attention to approaching groups of zebra and warthogs and running them off when they got close. And, while they did not seem to mind our being there, we were careful when exiting our vehicle to enter the platform and occasionally an adult female or male would give us a hard look.

Enjoying the Mud
After our sun downer, we returned to camp for dinner and a surprise. More about that in next week’s posting where we will also explore Amboseli National Park.
First published 18 Oct 2018. All photos and text are © Clinton Richardson. All images are from his galleries at

About Clinton Richardson

Clinton Richardson has been writing and taking photographs for decades. His books include the critically acclaimed 5th edition Richardson’s Growth Company Guide 5.0 and the award-winning book about social media and ancient coins called Ancient Selfies. His images, including images taken on his trip, can be viewed at His Venture Moola blog can be viewed at

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