2004 01 Kenya (5)

Aberdare

We stayed at a supposedly treetop hotel called The Ark. Its design was nautical, a shout-out to Noah’s Ark, with rooms that were very much like cabins on a boat. The back of the hotel overlooked a waterhole which was frequented by elephants, hyenas and others. It was a fantastic sight to see a herd of elephants playing in the water.

Each room had a bell alarm system which rang whenever there were visitors, the number of buzzes indicated which type of animal, like 3 buzzes would be a leopard. They even provided extra blankets for wrapping so the guests could just run out to the viewing rooms in the middle of the night whenever there were interesting visitors. Unfortunately we weren’t woken up because nothing interesting came along during that one night we stayed.

The Ark & the waterhole:
that's the ark the waterhole

The elephants:
elephants coming to drink paddling in the pool
eating the soil in the rain

And the surprises kept on coming. Our last excursion was a walk inside the country club to see the giraffes. It was truly a fabulous end to a memorable trip.
giraffes 1.2.3 the little giraffe

Scenes

Kenya was full of surprises and contrasts. Everything was so new, so different, made us forget about the stresses of our mundane lives. We came to realise the real beauty was the wilderness, the animals. That you could be driving along seemingly empty bushes then you turned a corner and there was a herd of zebras. We felt so small, so insignificant, yet so privileged at being a part of the wonderment that is nature.

It’s all part of the experience.

Living conditions were basic for most Kenyans, most in huts of concrete walls and tin roofs and very small windows. It must be stifling hot in the heat. Roads were full of potholes, sometimes entire sections of the tarmac had fallen away. Toilets were holes-in-the-ground but most times there was paper. But it’s everyday life. People were poorer in the countryside, the cars more beat up, most people walked, some had donkey carts. Children and women in traditional dress came up to the van to beg or sell souvenirs.

We drove by towns but mostly stopped at roadside souvenir stops. Not so many opportunities to explore the towns, except once we stopped at a gas station and we had a few precious minutes. But the Kenyan people were not keen on being photographed so we had to be kinda sneaky.

In total between the two of us we took 27 rolls of film, close to 1,000 pictures in total. Here’s a selection of the rest, scenery, roadside snaps, people, signs. And the “You are Now Crossing the Equator” sign. We even got a certificate.

rift valley your are now crossing the equator

On the road — scenery:
house along the road kenya fields

Working animals:
donkey at the corner working donkeys
farmer & cows roadside goat

People, buildings, signs:
purple bus roadside stall
hippo sign woman on the path
scenes from the road the native
other scenes from the road another scene from the road

The call of the wild

In the end we come back to the animals.

Here’s what we saw: giraffe, elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, servor cat, baboon, monkey, zebra, rhino, wilderbeest, topi, gazelle, impala, hartbeest, eland, waterbuck, bushbuck, hyena, jackel, warthog, wild pig, mongoose, vulture, eagle, malibu, flamingo, pelican, ostrich, camel.

bird's nests