Monday, November 11, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 8

Jambo sana friends, hope you are waking up to a day full of sunshine :) I am not sure what are plans our today, much depends on Alan’s eye, when he wakes up lets hope there is an improvement. As I am writing now I have to slip back in time to 5 a.m. yesterday morning where I left off with the last blog post (in reality it is the next day and stupid o’clock, something has woken my up at 3:00 a.m. and I can’t get back to sleep so will do my blog post of what happened yesterday). 

Alan eye is no better and so the decision has been made for Pete to take Alan to Nanyuki Cottage Hospital and have it checked over in a place where there are enough facilities to do the job properly. It is only a couple of hours drive down the road from where we are, a place we know well that even 30 years ago was well equipped and who knows, maybe our old doctor’s son who was a newly qualified doctor when we left is still there :) At least by doing this we know one way or the other what is going on and what needs to be done next instead of just hoping tomorrow Alan’s eye is better. I will come back to finish this bit off later - so the plan - Pete and Alan to go to Nanyuki, Mo and I will stay here. Pete is in contact with Mo by mobile and will give me updates as and when needed. Right that is Alan sorted, now what should Mo and I do, we could sit in camp waiting for Pete’s call, wondering round like headless chickens or we could continue with a nice day knowing Alan was in very safe hands. Yep, thats the way to go, no point what so ever trying to be a martyr we decided to have a packed breakfast and a packed lunch, grab the cameras and go with Simon for a game drive. We could head back to camp at any time if Pete told us it was necessary to do so via mobile phone and if there were no issues and Alan was fine we would meet up at the lodge on their return. Sounds like a great plan and it was.

Mo and I set off with our cameras, vehicle full of food and drinks and not time limit. Simon was in his element, he was boss man today and gong to take full advantage of showing us what a good guide he is and he really did an amazing job. Now you will have noticed there are still no photos in the last blog post so you also know I did not find my memory cards with yesterday’s photos. There are a few I am really gutted to have lost but here we were today and I have set Simon the challenge of finding the female lion who has three cups again, she won’t have moved far as her babies are very young and not been introduced to the pride yet. Yesterday, when we found her under a bush with her cubs she watched us for a while then got up and walked away leaving her young behind as if to say, great, baby sitters have arrived I am off for a break. What a special moment that was, to have this beautiful, wild creature who could kill us with no bother, trust us enough to leave her babies while she went off on a mission. How something like this really helps you understand how untrusting humans are, even with each other in the world, I did say to Mo - wow if I did that Social Services would be on my case straight away. I guess it is another sorry route humans have failed miserably at - the art of trusting, our fellow species have shown over many years we, as a species are far from responsible and certainly cannot be trusted - we are just too flipping greedy and self centred to work in harmony with anything!!!!!! I am loving listening to some of the facts that at being put around, some very pleasurable others just make you sick to the bottom of you soul. One I have just heard is that a certain country to the west (and although Europe in the middle was not mentioned I think it will be exactly the same) - throws away enough food every month to feed Africa for a year - is that abuse of mother planet or what!!!!!! No wonder we have such inequality, such bitterness even between us as a human species, I am so often deeply ashamed even to call myself human at times and it is a statement like this that reinforces it, bringing it home and into a context I understand.

OK my bit of preaching of the day there - sorry . Back to today, finding the lion and Simon did not let us down. In keeping with the rest of the blog I will go through the photos as they guide me through this magnificent adventure.

Not far out of camp Simon stopped the vehicle and pointed to a tree, Oh boy the beautiful bird we saw day before yesterday and this time with a the sun on him/her and a clear blue sky behind.

Next we found two …… these are the smallest ……. and to find a male and female together such a lucky pic, just to be in the right place, at the right time with the right light, the camera ready - WOW :)

The next couple of pics are not really going to make me my millions through National Geographic but I think they are really cool. I do love the beautiful images of wildlife (especially those of birds and they wonderful plumage and also of animals faces with the expression in their eyes) but other shots showing what is happening, what the animals do when they are not sitting there watching us watching them helps you understand how jobs must go on - life is not about sitting doing nothing, it is about finding your next dinner and only taking what you need, making your bed comfortable for the night, looking over your shoulder so you don’t become dinner and taking time to enjoy the day. Sound like heaven to me, I have far to much food in the cupboard for what I need and lots of it will be thrown away, I assume my bed is where I left it, nicely made with sheets and blankets etc so forget about that, looking over my shoulder, yes I do that, not because a fellow human might make me into dinner but because they so often say one thing and do another!!! and do I take time to enjoy my day - yes I do. I learnt some time ago that ‘Me Time’ is very important, it is a time I will no answer my mobile phone, open the door, or do anything else I choose not to do just because somebody else says I should do it. I think most days I have a couple of hours of ‘Me Time’ and cherish every moment as I feel my batteries recharge. I wonder if I simplified life, understand I need less material goods which seem to add to wanting more material good which I have to work harder for I would end up with more ‘Me Time’ - translated into Quality Time!!! Interesting thought. The next two photos are of a …………. bird who is in the process of hunting for birds eggs for his dinner. He was not easy to capture and he was moving around a lot but, oh to see his maneuverability, how he could duck and dive between branches, grab a branch up-side down, what a skilled flyer, a magical moment which held me in awe.

Another photo I lost yesterday was of a Gerenuk, an stunning antelope who not only grazes of the lower leaves of bushes but higher ones to by standing on it’s hind legs. This antelope never drinks, gaining all the liquid needed from juicy leaves. Alan took a 35mm slide shot of a Gerenuk many moons ago and I have always love the image but never been able to clean it up enough from all the damage - so this one is for Alan

Just round the corner, Simon brought the vehicle to a standstill. This always gets me going as I know something has been seen, but oh! how useless am I, looking this way and that, sometimes I should look straight in front. On a branch across the road were three Bee Eaters, waiting as if to say, hurry up, we saw your car coming and thought you would like a pic but we are not hanging around here all day.

Now we are still heading in the direction of the lioness and her cubs which we saw yesterday and are close by. Time to start looking under bushes as we drive past. Not an easy job but, you know what, if it was not for Pete and our other guides I would miss so much, even when right on top of some animals they blend in so well with their environment I don’t see them. I know it is about seeing what should not be there, not looking to see what is there but my processing powers are so trained to my western human way of living they need to be re-educated, to re-learn to read the whole picture not just single things out. Car stop - a bush - right the lioness is under there and still, that close, it takes the eyes time to make sense of what is being seen, less than ten feet away a male lion. Not the lioness were were expecting, she has moved out and he has moved in. I did take some photos of him to show you how easy it would have been to miss seeing this wonderful creature if Simon, who can read the landscape had not pointed him out, but I have to reduce the mouth of photos I show you somehow lol. Yesterday, FYI I took just over 550 photos not bad going :) So, back to our lioness. we left the beautiful very bored male who just wanted to be left alone to enjoy his afternoon nap and drove started checking out an area. Mo and I asked what he had seen - the reply - a leg!!! Simon had found the lioness by just seeing one large pay on the ground sticking out from behind a bush. It turns out there are two lionesses and the three cubs, in the last 24 hours since we saw these cubs they have had a big adventure too, they are been introduced to the rest of the pride for the first time. How special to have seen them yesterday with only their mum and now to see them with their family. I found out something interesting from Pete later - did you know wild animals, antelope etc. are born giving off no scent and they retain that magical gift until approximately 6 days old. All part of being given the best chance to survive. Here is another fact, a baby giraffe will double its birth weight in the first month of its life. It is so wonderful having Pete’s knowledge base at hand and I really feel I have learnt so much :), taking me one step further into understanding the balance and harmony of life.

Having hardly ever seen Kingfishers and never been lucky enough to have a camera at hand when I have, here in Samburu I have seen them three days running, could I resist just one more pic :) of course not.

Mo has a text from Pete and we are in a part of the park where there is a signal so time to check up on what is happening with Alan. Good news, they are on their way home and everything is under control for now. Time for us to tell Simon to turn the vehicle around and head off back to camp to meet them, they should be back about 2 p.m. Now Simon is on a mission and as we do not know the trails I was assuming he was doing as he had been requested to do, no, Simon had his own agenda and continued along the river. OK, we should be cross but not a chance. Elephants are such majestic creatures but I don’t find them very photogenic, beautiful absolutely, but my eye does not really capture them in the lens. I know I need to see them doing something other than sauntering past or eating. I have been saying I would really love to see elephant playing in the water or having a sand bath. I am going to have to stop saying I would love to see because it is being achieved at a phenomenal pace, each day so far is like the excitement a child experiences on Christmas morning but without the anti climax that usually follows. My heart is so full at the moment it is fit to burst and we have only been here one week. Back to Simon not heading directly back to the lodge but instead taking the scenic route, by the river. We had see a heard of elephant while we had our picnic lunch in the distance and that is where we went for a closer look. Lost for words - two males in the water play fighting, then one decides to have a bath, enjoying the rapids much as I enjoy a jacuzzi, at times with only his trunk visibly and a bit of his back. Pure magic. I must have taken about 50 photos of him alone and non of them are worth showing, I don’t have a polarizing filter on the lens and the light is not good but I had so much fun and the pics put a big grin on my face. A little further up the river two more elephants decided to play too so I focused on them, the light was better and I was more successful. Another 50 or so photos taken (yes I almost filled a 64 mb memory card today lol). I am only sharing a few with you but think I have chosen ones which tell the whole story - enjoy

Oh we have to move on, the guys will be back at camp now and we are still about an hours drive away. I know they won’t mind, they will just be glad we were able to experience the images we have seen and will be happy for us. Two most wonderful men Mo and I have by our sides.

Another of Alan’s old photos was of two Impala fighting, it has always captured my attention when I browse through them. Low and behold, we come round the corner and there in front of us two Impala fighting, have to stop, have to take pictures, have to capture for eternity. So here I share with you my two Impala have a tiff and also the photo I have loved which Alan took over 35 years ago.

and Alans :)

Oh for heavens sake nature - give me a break, you are showing me so much, things I did not know, things I never dreamed I would see except on National Geographic or the Animal Planet. We drive for no more than a few minutes when Simon once again stops the vehicle and points to a small bird. This wee fellow is very rare and only found in a couple of places in the world and even then hardly seen and here he/she is sitting on a branch, very still, waiting for me to sort my camera and take a picture before flying away. This chappy is a ……….. (got to find out lol)

Right time to move it, got to get back to the menfolk. What more action round the next bend. No good, got to stop, two giraffe are necking. Not the necking we know lol but sparing. I could not get the photo quick enough but at one point the giraffe on the right had his front leg on the back of the other giraffe - totally amazing :) :) :)

Ahhhhh - nearly home and the ellies are out and about, so many very young ones too. Another fact (this one I know for years). It is pretty hard to judge the age of an elephant but until a baby is about 6 months old it can stand under it’s mums tum so here we have a classic pic - this ellie is approximately 6 months old :)

And just to finish of the photos here is one of Alan’s old ones of a baby ellie standing under it’s mums belly too - a real then and now moment - happy days.

Home at last and now I will give you the update on Alan. There is no grit etc under the eyelid so nothing to remove but he has a very large scratch across the cornea. With a good check with proper equipment, antibiotic stuff applied, a big piece of gauze to keep it covered and to remain on for two days and instructions to wear his sunglasses we now have a little more piece of mind. Nothing more can be done for two days but if there is no improvement after that further medical attention will be needed. Now to keep Alan still and make him do as he is told - what a challenge lol. We are discussing our plans for tomorrow and Alan and I are going to have a chillax day in camp, Pete and Mo will head off for some game viewing together, I will catch up on my blog posts and if possible get them published for you to read but be on hand to have a nice cup of tea with Alan when he wants some company.

So long folks for now, coffee break for me and I am going to sit in my chair, gaze out into nature and have some ‘Me Time’ :) :) :), then I will head off up the hill to the tent office and see if an Internet connection is possible so I can get up to date with sharing my adventure - wish me luck.


  1. What a fun to watch all this gorgeous Animals. love those colorful Birds. So glad you have this opportunity to see this beauty.
    Hugs Nat

  2. Wow, what a totally wonderful day of wildlife sightings. I'm so sorry that Alan needed to go to the hospital for more thorough checks on his eye and missed these wonderful sights. However, your photographs are so beautiful that I'm sure he will enjoy living the sights through your camera lens and running commentary. ....and be delighted for you having seen so much. Please give him my love.
    I've been showing Mum your photos and she's had a wonderful time enjoying your wonderful camera skills and having a trip down memory lane. She says that she can even 'smell' Africa from all you've shared. . Oh how privileged you are to see all you are seeing. Birds excepted, I cannot begin to pick out any favourite photographs ....Ahhhhh, those lions, elephants giraffe, antelope .....All behaving as nature intended very beautiful, so very humbling. Thank you for sharing these wonderful sights treasure. Love you so much xxx ♥ ♥ ♥

  3. Oh - I hate waste and when I hear of what some countries throw in the trash, it makes me mad. I watched a programme on tv about a couple in the US who survive on food they collect from dumpsters - and there's nothing wrong with it !!! Perfectly good food just lobbed away. !!!
    I don't have any wasted food here mind you - what I don't eat the cats do, and what they don't eat the chicken do. LoL :-D
    I am glad you had such a wonderful day and that Alan seems to be getting sorted :-)

    IKE xxxxx


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