In the morning we woke up at the ark to lots of warthogs, buffalo and bushbucks outside. We packed up early to meet Ashford for a drive in Solio Ranch. From the road it looks similar to a roadside park in the UP, not that exciting. But once you pass the front gate it opens up into a vast landscape somewhere between mountain forest and desert savannah.
On entry to the park we early on saw lots of Rhinos shading themselves behind bushes not more than 15 feet from our car! We drove on and saw some far off lions stalking some pray but they didn't have any luck while we were watching. We drove up a hill and saw some Ilans, the largest in the antelope family, a whole big family of rhinos (about 15 under one tree), and some zebras making loooooove. As we were making our way out of the park at a faster clip Carl shouts in a whispered tone, "lions!" and sure enough, right next to the van was a tree filled with Lions. So don't count on escaping up a tree if a hungry lion is chasing you!!!!
After being dropped off in Nyeri (Ashfords Place of residence) for a quick lunch and Ashford said goodbye to his sons and wife, we took off at a fast clip in order to get to Samburu before dark. We almost made it but then entered the park just after sundown. When we made it to our hotel we were amazed at the proximity to the wildlife! During dinner we were pestered by a spotted genet cat for scraps- it's amazing he wasn't much fatter!
As we retired to our rooms we heard what can only really be described as the barking sound of a lion in the vicinity. Apparently we missed last night, the leopard eating the head of a dead crocodile just in the riverbed below the viewing area. After a long journey we were tired and went to bed early.
At around 12:30 the promised cut off of all power to the lodge came. They do this every night and afternoon to save fuel - since the whole place only has generators for electricity. There is something intense about spending all day finding lions and leopards around you, and then at midnight being separated from one of the man-made things that helps us pretend like we are safely apart from those beasts when we lay down to go to sleep. And apart from some tortuous sounds of something eating something else at around 3:00am, all went well even without any lightbulbs burning or iPhones charging.