Anyway - up and dressed, breakfast eaten and now off to the airport again. Not Jomo Kenyatta this time but the small plane airport called Wilson Airport. Alan did his pilots training here before I met him and used to regularly do the hours to maintain his licence when we lived in Nairobi. I used to phone them up to see if he had landed his plane or done a runner so could have the kettle on for his cup of tea when he got home. Wilson Airport was only a few miles away so not a log drive. If I went to the airport with Alan after Natasha was born to see the planes ( and just starting to talk she named planes 'da bye-byes' (a bit of her German ancestry coming through their)) as she waved her dad off for an hour or two :)
There was a time, before I met Alan that a storm passed over Wilson Airport and Alan was out there with the camera afterwards to capture the damage on film, old 35mm in those days!!!! Excuse the quality of some of these old images, took me a couple of years to scan everything I could find and just don't have the time to image edit them :)
And what is the lesson that should be learnt from this - tie you plane down lol. That was then and now I can give you a NOW photo. The area Alan used to fly from was at the furthest end of the airport but he managed to get a quick shot as we turned onto runway 14 to take off for Lewa.
Slightly out of order here, I quickly snapped a photo of Pete and Alan chatting by the plane we would be departing on - one of those happy holiday type snaps lol.
We are lucky today, our plane is the right way up and full of fuel for our first internal flight. We are off to Lewa Airstrip and our first safari joy ride before heading to our lodgings at the Lewa Safari Camp, Lewa Downs, Laikipia. Lewa is a 65,000 acre private wildlife conservancy located north of Mt Kenya - Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The reserve is home to over 440 species of birds and more than 70 different mammals. Lewa has adopted an integrated approach to conservation by involving local communities in biodiversity conservation. I have just been looking at the map to see how far this is away from Nanyuki - looks like about 45 km - gosh so close to where we lived before we left. I wonder if this is the place we went to a Christmas party with the children and Santa arrived in a cart pulled by donkeys!!!! It was the day they had crab catching in the stream near their house with a prize for all the kids - ugliest crab, smallest crab, three legged crab etc. It was also the day our youngest daughter go a bit tipsy (she had just turned 2), I was sipping on Pimms and giving her the occasional finger which I had dipped into my glass to lick lol but did not realise Alan was doing the same thing with his beer. Nikki was backwards and forwards between us and we only realized what she was up to when she became somewhat wobbly on her feet!!!!! A few quick questions and yes, I am right, it was Lewa Downs and the Craig family we visited for this fun party. Now I am being very nice here and sharing an old photo of me in the big curly hair days lol and Nikki eating an ice cream :)
Oh how emotional, seriously emotional, tearfully seriously emotional. The weather was cloudy so beautiful Mount Kenya did not show her face, maybe we will be lucky tomorrow morning but as we flew over Nanuyki, home, and not something I had thought about until I did the map, the clouds cleared for a instant and I handed Pete my camera to take an ariel shot. Turning to Alan he could see how wet my eyes were, I hardly dared speak for the lump in my throat, being the perfect gentleman he allowed my my female emotional moment and said nothing just took hold of my hand and gave it a squeeze.
While Pete was trying for the Nanyuki snaps Alan, having let go of my hand has his camera ready and captured the Mount Kenya Safari Club, a place we sometimes visited - it was a bit out our league but Alan's dad was a member and I sometimes used to take the girls there to go swimming or Alan and I would have the odd meal out :)
Only about ten minutes later we landed on Lewa Airstrip, a good old dirt one, clambered off the plane and into the safari vehicle for our first safari ride en- route to Lewa Camp. So what did we see I hear you ask, would it be animals lol. Talk had been going round that two young leopard were in the area and feeling a bit randy, yep have to go see if they can be found. Alas no sign of them, that is not to say they weren't there just that they had decided to remain invisible to the human eye. We did see lots of :-
We also came across a croc in such a strange place, a pretty small stream with very cold water, not the norm at all but the photo I took was rubbish so I trashed it lol. There were other creatures too, a tortoise, Guinea Fowl, oh heck I can't remember everything, just take my word for it, it was wonderful to be seeing all these creatures again, oooooo and aaahhhhhhh and more ooooooooo and more ahhhhh.
We had lunch at Lewa Downs and then spend the afternoon hanging around until about 4 p.m. when we headed out on another safari trip. While biding our time Alan and Pete set about callibrating Pete's lenses for his camera and I found a quiet spot on the grass, lay down with my camera and watched the birds. I don't know how many photos I too, quite a few lol but saying as my sister hate birds I won't share to many. This lovely yellow Weaver bird is the favourite bird pic of the afternoon though so you can see it :)
Heading out again we came across a couple of nesting Secretary Birds and headed off for a closer look. Through the scrub something leapt from the grass, a Serva Cat, pretty rare and very fast. Chase time, could be find it, could we get a photo - alas no, he she or it was pretty clever at finding a hiding place in the long grass but never mind, we saw it and it was beautiful :) We headed back to the nesting Secretary birds to find one had flown the coop and was pottering around on the ground but the other bird was still up high and with the sky darkening I managed this shot, pretty impressed with myself.
Next was the giraffe, could not resist, another photo had to be taken :)
The a couple of White Rhino trundled by so we watched them for a while. Lion have not been seen at Lewa for a couple of weeks but Pete had been in contact with them advising them of our arrival lol, yes the lion were there, a young male and probably his two sisters and another young male who was tagging along by the looks of things. I am sure you can imagine how long we stayed with these beautiful guys (if I told you I took about 80 photos of them you will get the idea!!!!) I certainly won't bore you with all the photos but have picked out a few of my favourites to share.
A couple of Silver Back Jackel came by but by now the light was going so we just watched them with interest - four lions to our left and two Jackel to our right. The lions certainly looked interested in hunting but a little to immature to know what to do in this particular situation.
Now folks you are going to have to let me go lol. We have had our dinner and I am showed and in bed with a lovely surprise - NO NO NO not what you are thinking lol - there was a hot water bottle in bed which we were not expecting, it is ages since I have had a hot water bottle lol. The frogs and insects are having a party outside and it is after 11 p.m. I must sign off and get some shut eye as we are up early tomorrow - taking breakfast with us on our first outing of the day - wonder if we will see Mt. Kenya and as for the animals, they will be a surprise :)
Night night folks :) :) :)