Today is my daughter Kelly’s birthday (she is the blog editor). Happy birthday Kelly.
Today we have a full day safari out of the conservation area. We leave at 8am after breakfast. I am a bit concerned as I have woken up with a very sore back and my anti-inflammatory medication is in Nairobi! The jerking around is uncomfortable and I hope that this does not turn into a full blown bad back, not being able to work without spasms. Thankfully by late morning my back had settled down. Note to self: always take anti-inflammatory medication with you.
We drive out of the conservation area into the main reserve, where there are over 200 camps. The people in these camps can’t come into the conservation reserve.
We pass the local villages where people are tending to their livestock, taking them out for their day of grazing before returning them to their enclosures at night. The wild animals keep away from the domestic animals during the day as they are aware of the humans, but would not be able to resist helping themselves to domestic animals left out in the open overnight. There a few dogs and in one garden there is a small boy about 2 playing with a pack of puppies.
We drive to the entrance into the main reserve but can’t get through as the bridge is being re-concreted, luckily there is another way in. This takes us in the other direction but it has the bonus of going past two female elephants with their young. We stayed a safe distance back but even so one of the mums came close and gave us a warning not to come any closer.We still had to go to the gate on the other side to officially check-in. While Jonathan was away doing that we were surrounded by three beautiful ladies wanting us to buy their wares. We didn’t have any money on us as it was held at the camp. It was a bit awkward as they were very insistent. Luckily one of them spoke good English and I conveyed to her that we had no money, in a flash she came back with “Give it to Jonathan and he can give it to us tomorrow”.
So we have some brightly coloured bracelets for the grandchildren.
The highlight of the day was the pride of female lions with their babies. A total of four females and 6 babies. Two of the cubs were about 4 months old, and the others about a month. The mothers feed each other’s cubs, and the cubs even from different mothers will consider each other litter brother and sisters and will live in harmony, when the males are 2 they will leave together and stay together until they form their own pride.
The wildlife is nowhere near as concentrated in this part of the reserve as the conservation area and we drove long stretches without seeing much. We had lunch by a river watching the hippo and three crocodiles – one was very large.
This is one of the crossing points of the wildebeest and zebra annual migration.
The lunch was delicious with cold chicken, beef salad and chicken salad and a nice bottle of rose. We had a good chat to Jonathan who is one of 45 children. His father had 6 wives. His mum had nine children. Jonathan has two children of his own that he only gets to see for 4 days a month, plus a month in April.
He started off in forestry school and then got in to the Karen Blixen camp programme with hospitality and worked in the kitchen, then a guide for walks, and then did the training to be a tour driver guide which includes formal training on the animals, birds and plants, and 4-wheel driving. The driving because of the rain can be tricky but Jonathan is an excellent driver. Jonathan hopes to move up in a few years to a camp manager position.
We have seen numerous brightly coloured birds, the one that was the most unusual looking to me is the Crowned Crane, which is the national bird of Uganda.After lunch we made our way slowly back to camp, stopping on the way to check on the lion pride and were delighted to find the cubs awake.
We got back to camp about 4:30 ready for a cold beer (even a tasteless one). I spent a bit of time catching up with the blog and then time to shower and get ready for dinner.
The shower was nice and warm, so I washed my hair for the first time since leaving Dubai. Then off to sit in front of the nice warm fire before dinner.
We had a good chat with Reuben, he is one of 12 children. His dad had two wives and each wife had 6 children. Reuben is here on a 3-month temp contract so will be out of work at the end of March, but is hoping to come back when the camp reopens (it generally shuts April and May). Reuben has two children and his mum helps out his wife when he is away.
We had a long discussion on the country and the government and the corruption and unemployment. Reuben says things are looking more hopeful with the election coming and it looks like the two main parties are going to work together for the good of the country, which hopefully is not just election talk. With all the minerals and other areas the country has to offer, there should not be the poverty and unemployment that there is. Previously the bigger tribes have worked against each other but Reuben is hopeful that this is changing and the tribes will come together to make a good future for Kenya.
Dinner was a choice of roast loin or pork or rib eye steak. I had the steak with a nice red. Then once again off to bed nicely turned down with a hot water bottle on each side. Sadly, last night here
I thoroughly recommend this place to anyone thinking of a safari but I would advise to add one additional day just to relax in the camp. Thanks to Rachel and Nic our excellent travel agents for organizing this and the Dubai stay and the rest of the Nairobi stay. If anyone wants their names so they can book a wonderful adventure for you then let me know.