Thursday, November 7, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 4

No, no, no, no, no, no - how on earth can I be awake at this stupid hour :(.  After posting last night blog I turned the light out at 10:30 to head off on another journey into la la land with thought of six hours sleep.  I am an eight hour a day sleeper, I MUST have eight hours and what do I find, at 2:45 I am wide awake and ready to start my day.  Not much use, Alan is away with the fairies so no good trying to have a chat with him at the moment, a few crickets are having a conversation round about, no kettle in my room to make a cup of tea/coffee, pitch black so can't see anything (apart from my laptop screen), and as the minutes tick by I am more and more awake - oh dear.  I could get up and fumbler round in the dark for some clothes and sit outside in the dark so as not to wake Alan up but it is a bit chilly lol.  It always amazed me that living in Nanyuki was so cold at times.  Nanyuki is located right on the Equator, in fact we lived in the Northern Hemisphere and Alan's Dad who was a five minute drive away lived in the Souther Hemisphere :) :) :) and I always thought in my simplistic way of seeing life, North Pole and South Pole - very cold so bang in the middle at the Equator it would be nice and warm etc.  One does not think of altitude at times and Nanyuki is in the Hightlands of Kenya and at an elevation of 1,947m above sea-level, is the 14th highest town in Africa (I have only just found that out - good old Google).  We regularly used to have log fires burning at night and wrapped ourselves up in long trousers, socks, jumpers and jackets, the day time was always glorious, no need for jumpers, it was only nights and early mornings.  I remember once being at a friends house for coffee, we were just sitting chatting when we heard tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.  Not paying much attention as it was the rainy season and this sound was quite common as rather large drops of, what us Africans call, 'proper rain', the type of rain that comes down so hard that was it hits the ground it rebounds back into the air about a foot before retuning to earth for a second landing.  The noise eventually stopped, it would only have continued for about half an hour  - we could almost set our clocks by the time the rain came :) each day, so we popped outside to smell the earth, oh that most wonderful smell that I have not found anywhere else in the world of Africa land newly rained on - it is equal to my favourite perfume Mademoiselle Coco Channel lol, only to find it had not rained it had hailed stoned and the garden was totally white.  Experiences like this just make you realise nothing should be taken for granted.

We decided last night on taking our breakfast out with us again today, when a little voice whispered in my ear, the plan is for the whole group of guests to join us out for breakfast.  I am rather glad there was no mirror I could capture the look that will have appeared on my face - what share my breakfast with a bunch of strangers - no on your life.  We are here not to be with a bunch of strangers, if I want to do that I will go to a mall, find a coffee shop and sit there.  It is such a shame my nicer qualities vanish rather rapidly when sprung a suggestion like this and the mouth opens before the brain thinks lol.  I turned, probably glared (yes I am good at doing that - must be the teacher in me) and said if the whole group were planning on that we could return to the camp for ours.  The arrangement now is the group have their breakfast out in one place and we will be somewhere else.  Oh so unsociable, but we are not here to do people watching although I do have to admit it can be rather entertaining at times, a bit like watching monkeys in a zoo!!!!!!!  I often wonder what the animals think of us, do they see us as the remarkable creatures I see them or as the idiots I often see as people (or maybe we are just dinner)!!!!

So onto today's adventure, what wonders do I have for you to feast your eyes on :)  Here we go . . . . .  Rain, rain and more rain.  Do we care, not in the least, still having our early morning wake up call at 5:30 we then got a message to have a rest as the vehicles were not going out.   We have a lot of black cotton soil here which becomes like thick glue when it gets wet along with many of the animals staying under cover and poor light there really is not much point in driving around.  Breakfast - well obviously not the planned picnic, we ate at the lodge, drank more tea, chatted to Pete and others, looked at old photos from 40 years ago then gave up and decided to orgnise a packed lunch and head on out.  The rain had stopped and to be honest, driving around and seeing nothing but having the fun of looking was a heck of a lot more interesting than people watching!!!!

Lunch in the vehicle, cameras at hand, away we went - what would we see.  The first day we arrived the special moment had to be the four young lion, yesterday (Tuesday) the zebra having their argy bargy momnet, surly not much to beat that.  Pete is on a mission with Quality, our Massai tracker, they know the only big cat I have not seen in all my time in Africa is cheetah apart from semi tame ones which folks have had as pets then returned to the orphanages for one reason or another.  We had been driving around for all of about half an hour or so when Quality tapped Pete and pointed - cheetah,  Could I see the cat, not on your life but they had their eyes on him/her.  I asked Quality how he had seen the cheetah, was it a tail with the black end movement etc. no was his reply, he saw the straight back in the long grass.  Blow me, I feel as blind as a bat here, can see giraffe and ellies in the difference now and did spot a ground squirrel but not much else, oh and a possible line, that then looked like a rock but metamorphosed into an young Tommy Gazelle.  I really need to get  this blog posted and have talked way to much so onto the photos - I am only going to write a couple of words about each lol.

Our Cheetah

And a closer one of our cheetah.  Once we had taken a few photos of this beautifly pussy cat we called the other two cars with visitors in to come and see (there are only half a dozen vehicles in this park or approximately 70,000 acres), they came on over, we told them exactly wbere the cheetah was - our eyes were still on it lying down in the grass but they never saw it, they looked for a couple of hours with no luck.  We think they think we were playing a joke on them which we weren't as you can see we have the photos to prove it.  You know, it is all about the guides, get a good one who is patient, watches the actions and reactions of animals, why are those all looking in that direction - stop check,  why the warning calls, work out who is doing what and where the calls are coming from etc. etc.etc.  Pete was the youngest white hunter in Kenya way back when he was in his early 20's so knows his field of work so well and Quality has been here many years on an animal protection level with regard to poaching etc. sleeping out in the wild, watching, taking care of his land and the animals which he shares it with.  Poaching is dreadful and it is even happening here on Lewa at a disgusting level but they are doing some amazing things to counteract it.  I honestly believe those who purchase the items for their carvings, for their sexual needs, and now apparently Rhino horn as a drug to be sniffed and get high on along with the top officials etc. who are amassing large, fat bank accounts and behind the organisations that send the poachers out should all rot in hell for ever.  Yes, my belief is that strong, they are selfish, greedy, un-respecting people that do not even deserved to be called human!!!  Oh dear - I was not going to write anything - another bone of contention with me and I could not stop the fingers typing.

Water Buck

Hornbill (BIRD lol) but I don't know which one

This ellie is only 3 or 4 weeks old, sorry so many photos here.  We saw this darling and it's pal on the first day we were out, way over in the distace with their family and today we came across the heard of about 30 ellies, I think we spent well over a hour sitting watching them.

Baby and mum - now you can really see how small it is

More ellies

WOW another ellie - with her baby and the other youngster who looks the same age.

Ahhh I just cold not resist, this photo does give a good idea how big the wee one is if you look at it in proportion to the grass.

And here we are stepping out (no not us :)) but one of the babie, look at that, 3 or 4 weeks old and already thinking - come on mum and auntie ellie - quick march, we are going this way :) :) :) :)

Dik - dik - a tiny anterlope the size of a small dog, and so fast.  Not an easy photo to get so I am over the moon with this one.

This poor zebra will be dinner soon, he is such an old guy and obviously been around for a while with hid battered broken ear and all his scars.

Lewa Downs is a major Black and White Rhine conservation area and look what we found today, mum and baby White Rhine (we saw the Black with her baby too).  Here is an interesting fact - White Rhino are a bit dense and reasonably placid but the Black is a different temperament altogether and when it comes to babies the White Rhino always makes her baby walk in front of her but the Black Rhine makes her youngster walk behind.

Crested Cranes displaying - it is the mating season.

Flying practise lol - Crested Cranes

It is almost dark now and on the way back to the lodge after having been out for 8 hours solid we found this guy cooling his feet and most of his legs in a big mud puddle.  How could we resist not taking more photos.  OK, I know the photo does not look like this was taken at 6 p.m. but I really have been learning how to use my camera, changing the light settings etc. to avoid back lighting all by myself, setting the focus selection to exactly what I want and oh feeling so proud of myself for at last getting there.  I am using a Nikon D7100 which takes stunning photos even on automatic and I don't do manuals, I am a 100% kinesthetic learner and at last have the chance to learn to use my camera in a way that I can understand what I am doing and see the results.  Still got a very long way to go but each step forward is giving me such a sense of satisfaction and true ownership of my images.


I am a day late in posting this as I was just to tired last night so time for me to sign off, pack our bags as we leave here today for the next stage of our journey to to the Samburu area, go get breakfast and head off.  I may be off line for a few days as where we are going in Samburu does not have WiFi to the best of my knowledge and Pete is going to have to use his iPad to create a hot spot for me, will be slow but I will do my best.


  1. Brilliant! And well done you on learning more about the camera :) Mich xxx

  2. What an amazing day've just seen so much wildlife and have the incredible photos to feast your eyes on and to act as 'memory prompts' for the years ahead. Cheetah, oh what a privilege and so many wonderful elephant and baby photos .....oh, you lucky lady. Oh, and the Dik Dik .....that's yet another awesome sight. It appears that Pete has called in a lot of favours with the wildlife for you to see so many wonderful species.
    You have always been a kinesthetic learner but when you really want something you embrace the new knowledge so enthusiastically. Wow, well done on mastering the complexities of your camera ......The results are outstanding.
    I know you only have the time and space to show a few photos here but roll on next summer and make sure you have your entire set of photographs of this amazing holiday on the right computer so that I can see them all and hear the background stories.
    You wonder what the wildlife makes of we human beings ....well, Threat comes to mind. However, in your case I would imagine you are an enigma ....The body of a human but with the soul of their own kind. You really are where you belong at this time.
    Love you loads xxx ♥ ♥ ♥

  3. Back again with an experiment. I know how much you love and value comments from you friends and that you love to keep them here on you blog. I am going to try to capture the FB comments to post for posterity. Hope you like but will delete if I've been too presumptuous treasure. Love you loads xxxxxx

    Sue Cumings So glad you got to see your cheetah, beautiful!
    3 hours ago · Like

    Ingrid Mason And wow, the wildlife is coming out in force to view their kindred spirit. xxx
    3 hours ago via mobile · Like

    Bridget St Im sure i would fall into your category "monkeys in a zoo" since i believe for ppl never been to a game reserve like me its certainly a "wow" factor!
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like

    Paula Doran Jane, I am in awe of your adventure! Wonderfully written and beautifully photographed ! I look forward to the next days post!!
    about an hour ago via mobile · Like

  4. From FB:
    Teri Sherman WOW, amazeballs photos hun!
    20 hours ago · Like

  5. DANG !!! I just realise I stupidly asked what camera you were using on another post and you've told me here !!!! Sorry for being dense !!! :-(
    Fabulous photographs :-D

    IKE xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Thank you for taking the time to comment, it means a great deal to me. Hoping you have happy crafting days ahead. Hugs Mimi