CAA Saskatchewan Summer 2018 - Page 24

into A f r i cA A journey through KenyA’s legendAry lAnds And iconic cultures By Kellie Davenport our Maasai guide Milton Kariankei shouts. That proves to be an epic understatement. The open-top 4X4 hurtles over mounds of earth and across deep ravines, cutting through thickets of trees. We catch some air for a minute as my white-knuckle grip on the sidebar tightens. We’re racing through Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve seeking out the most elusive of Africa’s Big Five animals: the leopard. Moments earlier, Milton received a tip on his walkie-talkie that a speckled feline had been spotted nearby. Like ants racing toward a picnic, 10-plus safari vehicles converge along a dirt path on the Kenyan savannah. My heart still thumping from the wild ride, I’m breathless as a regal female leopard casually strolls by, a few feet from our vehicle. Seemingly unaware of the camera lenses fixed upon her every stride, the lithe cat silently saunters toward a tree, leaps up onto a high branch and slowly disappears from view. This only-in-Africa encounter is just one of many on my tour through two of Kenya’s most fabled and wildlife-rich regions: Mount Kenya and the Maasai Mara. A week before my leopard sighting, I’d landed at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya’s frenzied capital, which buzzes with human, animal and vehicular traffic. After basking in East African city life for a couple of days, I board a bush plane en route to Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak. » In the shadow of Mount Kenya; Maasai warriors (opposite) 24 Summer 2018 CAA SASKATCHeWAN ZANDbergeN/AlAmy “Hold on, tHis migHt get bumpy,”