The Rift Valley – Kenya

A bit of shameless promotion here – this is a piece that I wrote for Visions of Africa about a trip to Kenya.  Needless to say it was a pretty awe-inspiring trip!  Check out the fish eagle catching his dinner…

A hungry giraffe!

A hungry giraffe!

Walking in Elephant Trails

We ventured out with our armed guard into the bush around the lodge.  He didn’t speak but the way he slowly walked looking every which way created a frisson of fear.

We heard from our guide how animals can out run you, maul you etc and this had everybody expecting leopards to jump from the trees and have them for dinner.  I made sure I stood as near to the man with the gun as possible.

We never went very far from the lodge but your imagination takes over.  You feel intrepid.  The first tracks we saw were elephants’ – with a baby in tow.  I put my foot in Mum’s footstep and it was like an oversize dinnerplate.  Then fresh leopard prints!  Were we stalking him?  Or was he stalking us?  Colobus monkeys flew overhead from tree to tree (from the Greek word for deformed because they only have 4 fingers and no thumb).  We passed the strangled/strangling fig tree with its’ beards growing down silently killing the tree it had taken over.

By this time it was growing dark in the forest and a sense of urgency developed.  Our pace quickened a bit.  Some more leopard prints and a hyena paw print – they were out there somewhere.  We’d seen the animals around the water hole but that was from safety.  Here we were the prey.  The hyena prints led us to a hole – could belong to a hyena or to a warthog – they live in very similar holes.  How does a warthog go in without knowing if there is a hyena in there?  Quite simply, he goes in backwards so if anyone is in there he just gets bitten on the bum rather than having his face bitten off!

So no big cats again but a great time…

A new adventure beckons…

I am very excited – I am trying to keep my excitement contained but it is very hard.  In approximately 48 hours I will be winging my way over to Kenya.  It will be my first time visiting this amazing country and I can’t wait.  I know how irritating it can be watching the excitement build while you are sitting in the office, starting to plan Christmas and the nights are drawing in – hence trying to contain my excitement.

I am quietly bouncing up and down inside with visions of giraffes and lions floating around in my head.  I have no concept of what to expect in reality and it brings back the joy of travelling.   We have become such proficient travellers now, that it is important to remember the joy of discovering new things, new cultures and new people.  The last place I went to which was new to me was India a couple of years ago and what a culture-shock that was – I loved every minute of it!  Then, I was a little bit sheltered because I went with family and stayed with family over there.  This is slightly different because it is a work trip (I can hear you groaning in sympathy for my hard job!).  We are lucky enough to be sampling safaris, bird watching, beaches and even staying in a tented camp for one of the nights.  Suddenly the cute giraffes and lions in my head take on a sinister turn – surely a lion wouldn’t have too much trouble getting into a tent???! 

I hope to be able to keep you posted on my return (if the lions don’t get me!).