June 24, 2016

Nairobi, KE

Thursday

I have taken as much of what Nairobi offers as I can. I am exhausted, but thrilled. Yet there is much left to be seen.

Yesterday I visited the Karen Blixon Museum. It was when built the finest house in East Africa. The house is not grand in any way, but contains its beauty in its simplicity and functionality. The property is in the highlands outside of Nairobi. The hounds are a place of peace and beauty. The ngong hills rise above the property like a silent sentinel waiting for the Baroness to one day return.

There is is a haunting picture of her holding hands with Denis Fitch-Hatton, looking happy. He is buried on a hill behind the house.

Friday

On this day went to the Nairobi National Park. I had an expert and daring driver. We had a real adventure. He knew the park very well, and had a sharp eye for spotting animals.

We soon spotted Cape Buffalo, Elan, Antelope, and Zebra. What looked like a massive rock was a rhino! I was shocked at the size from a distance. I was to be further surprised soon.

All day we saw birds of every kind and description, large and small, flying and walking.

We came upon some warthogs wandering right beside the road. There were many Ostrich roaming around and easy to see. Then came the first of many giraffe, again at close range. At a rest stop was a large group of baboons waiting for a handout. None were to be given this day.

We found several wild dogs walking down the road, so we just followed them for a while. Then we saw what we first thought was a young leapord, but as we got close, I thought it was an ocelot. I have to research this one later.

We travelled down into an area called hippo pools. On the way we saw in the distance of more than a hundred yards a rock or tree across the road. As we got closer we saw it moving. It was a gigantic Python. I went up and had a close look. It was a cool day and the snake was slow.

PWE then arrived at the river and pools area. To walk down to the river you were accompanied by an armed ranger. This is the only time you can get out of the car, except at some picnic area. There were no hippo today, but there were two enormous crocodiles sunning on the beach. We stayed at a distance. The ranger told me that they can run faster than you can.

The were a lot of very lovable looking vervet monkeys around. There were some friendly native ladies selling tourist trinkets  so I crossed over the bridge and bought myself an African necklace that I liked, after some spirited discussion about the price.

My guide would stop and exchange information with other guides frequently as to what was seen and where. Lions are the top attraction of course. We were told of a lion kill near the road, but the lions were not to be seen. We found the kill, but seeing nothing, we left, to return again later. Still no lions. We both were sure they were nearby. Later we returned and he spotted one just peeking out of some tall grass, so we stopped and parked. We quickly saw that there were four lions lazing in tall grass near the killed buffalo. As we were parked only 25 years from the carcass, the young male lion seemed to be a little concerned and came over and started eating. We were so close that I could hear it crunching the bones and tearing the flesh. He kept getting up and shaking too. Later the lioness came over after he was done and she started feeding as well. We watched for almost an hour at close range.

Now did I tell you about those roads? Well it has been racing a lot here. The roads are all dirt. We had travelled a vary long way from the entrance of the park over our several hours of wandering around. The first roads just became tracks soon, deeply rutted and filled with pools of mud and water. This would go on for a hundred yards or more at a time. We trident to avaoid the one the other drivers warned us about, but it was on our route. The mud and water got thicker and the ruts were very deep. We came to a spot where it looked like a lake across the road. As we tried to negotiate this trap we became stuck, miles from any possible help. I got out and pushed and we were lucky to get the vehicle moving again and got across. This was an area that you will only cross with a high clearance 4wd truck. The fun was we had a Toyota Van! What a great day this trip was. I have never had a better one.