Monday, December 9, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 20

Waking up this morning at my usual unearthly hour, well today I was a bit later - good mountain air , what did I see but my beautiful lady just starting to appear in the early morning light. Poor Alan, he didn’t have a chance, had to get up with me, had to see this. He stirred and now was my chance to stick my elbow into his ribs - “get up, Mt. Kenya, sunrise” and bless him he did. We threw on some clothes, just whatever was available in the dark (only electric light via the generator here between 6:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.), trying to be quite but not really succeeding we heading for the veranda. Oh what eye candy, the sky was on fire amongst the trees to our right, vivid oranges and reds, more subtle around Mt. Kenya but just perfect. What a way to start the day, wonderful, fabulous and any other adjective you can think of would still not be enough to describe what we saw. 

I forgot to take photos of Serian Camp in the Mara so today I made a real effort to take a couple of pics of Rhino Retreat, so here you are - our little bit of heaven in the Abedares, a private retreat, so very special and it feels like our home not us visiting.

Rhino Retreat (you see the water tank to the right - the ellies come right up to here and drink from the tank, hardly 4m from where we sit - you forget to breathe it is so magical).

The view of the water hole in the front garden where we have been entertained every evening with the locals walking through, stopping to lick salt, have a drink, lie down and rest, play or watch their equivalent of ‘wildlife’ - us.

Another unplanned adventure, no idea what we will see, not caring if we see nothing. I was thinking about this yesterday, so many folks just want to see the cherry on the cake, the leopard, the lion, the rare. I don’t think the cherry on the cake has any meaning or even the icing on the cake for that matter unless you also appreciate the cake itself - the cake is the foundation, without the cake there would be no need for icing or cherries on top!!!! I have heard so many stories, all the same, seen in action - ‘great, got the picture lets move on’. This safari we have had it all, the cake, the icing and so many cherries but it all came to us, we didn’t look for it, we didn’t care if we didn’t see it, when we did we often stayed for over an hour with the animal, just to watch and absorb the smells, the land, all of nature, like sponges, enough to recharge are batteries, enough to take away with us for when we need to escape from the western world.

Lots of baboons here in the Abedares, but like everywhere else, they see you coming then scarper, lots of bum shots . What a pleasant surprise to see this chap, far to comfortable to move and just posing for a photo opportunity.

Driving along, just enjoying the scenery and a crossed tusked ellie has the same idea. Animals, as it should be, have right of way so we pulled to the side so he could saunter past. I remember from my time in Zambia and visiting Luwanga Valley being told elephant with crossed tusks were the top of the heap when in came to culling, it was virtually impossible for them to eat. For nearly 30 years I have believed this to be true, bit like the facts we have to learn in school as ‘gospel’ only to find in later life that the ‘experts’ got it wrong!!!!! This ellie had no difficulty in eating, he stopped near us for a snack and managed wonderfully, maneuvering his trunk between his tusks, yes handicapped, but no need for sympathy, he found a way to cope.  

Not a great pic cause of the way the light was but have a bit of a story to go with it.  We noticed while watching this magnificent guy that not only did he have crossed tusks but there was something wrong with his trunk.

Here is a close-up of ellies trunk - this damage is more than likely cause by a snare!!!! Makes me think of all the land mines left around the world, meant for one purpose, planted for one purpose, not removed and the mayhem left behind.

An .......... (oh dear - forgot to ask Pete)

Pete - having a double check for a particular track. There are so many tracks here but only a few have been maintained, obviously the ones that lead to the Ark and Treetops are but many of the rest - graded in the past now left to be reclaimed by the forest. Funny how some ‘businesses’ like to rake in as much money as possible and find ways of spending in on the wrong things !!!!!!! - see it everywhere in the world, in all walks of life, first world, third world all ‘same same’.

Well not much wildlife, but some rather beautiful flowers. This looks like some kind of wild orchid to me but think I had better go try and find out ….. when I do I will let you know.

We have decided to head to Chania Falls for lunch, up through the bamboo forest area of the Abedares, climbing, climbing, climbing, our altitude here is approximately 3,000 metres. The terrain changing, I have to admit, I could be in Scotland (the only other country on this planet I love).

Ah bless you again Alan, I stayed put but Alan went to the top fall to take some photos, the path is not one I can cope with alas. What a wonderful photo - low speed to capture the water, like a satin sheet draped over the edge. Thanks gorgeous for taking this one :)

While Alan was off on his mission, Mo on hers to the bridge, Pete following Alan, I was quite content to just capture everything within 4 metres of where I stood.

A wee bird that nobody seems to know what he is - not beautiful, not brightly coloured, not big, just nothing that makes him memorable and yet, he has his place in the circle of life, without him something else would lose out.

I seem to take photos of everything, even bugs, they fascinate me, such complexity in a small bundle.

My wee bird is back again, sitting on the stone Chania Falls sign, looking in my directions as if to say, ‘come on, I am posing for my photo opportunity, would you like my head turned to the left, or maybe the right’ - and yes, I am having so much fun capturing him in all his poses too.

Time to see what Mo was looking at, with camera in hand I trundle over to the wooded bridge, watching for the bees which I have been told live close by. The water is crystal clear and I know it will be cold too, - no, I am not going for a paddle.

WHY oh WHY do humans have to leave their rubbish wherever they go - nothing but your footprint should be left behind. Plastic bags, tin cans and even these bottle tops - apart from ruining the beauty, the danger they cause. So many camels in Saudi die from eating plastic carrier bags which have been left to fly around and find some place to land. Not the camels fault he eats everything in sight, food in the desert region is a precious commodity, just like water. In the UK we are always hearing about rodents etc. getting stuck in tin cans and here, the bottle caps, imagine the harm they can do too. So shameful of us.

Now lunch has been eaten and the car packed we head off again to see what we can find. Dried flowers, well not yet dried, still living, but the type that when dried hold their shape and feel like paper

Humble daisy

Another common wee flower.

Red Hot Poker - just one, growing amongst the trees.

Jackson’s Franklin

Now I could show you lots of landscapes but that will bore you, and no photos of animals. As you can see it has been a quiet day on the wildlife front. And then, in the space of half an hour boom, boom, boom -

A family of Giant Forest Hog - not a good picture but there were nine here in this group, to think these guys are in recovery mode after almost being decimated.

Here comes Bob Marley again hahahahahaha

Only about 10 minutes from Rhino Retreat we see a silhouette on the road, not moving, getting closer the silhouette becomes easily identifiable as leopard, another WOW moment and Mo has the biggest smile on her face imaginable. This guy is a bit special too as we saw later when looking at the photos, he has smoky blue eyes, not the usual amber. Due to this I have named him Frank after Frank Sinatra. I do hope though that Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra don’t get together for a sing song :)

Home now and in need of a cup of tea we head to the verandah and look who is in our garden.

Mr. Ellie was joined by a couple of others and as you can see they spent a long time with us, not bothering hearing the clicks of our cameras, almost as if to say - it is OK, this is your garden we have come to, we trust you. Two of the ellies came right up to the house at the left hand side where the rain water tank is, trying to find their footing through the rock surround which is there to keep them back. No chance by the water tank, they have that bit worked out good and proper. I am not kidding you when I say the ellies were no more than 4 metres from me of their own choosing, I could almost here them breathing. Up goes the trunk into the water tank, suck up the water then into the mouth with a great gushing sound - just to be able to watch this so close up, to be trusted so much, so special.

A Wart Hog also came to pay us a visit - not the usual bum shot but quite happy being a lawn mower with the scissor like action of his teeth, not bothered with us talking quietly, not worried by the clicking of the camera either.

Time for ellies to head of somewhere else, as you can see, they were with us from around 6 p.m. till nearly 9 P.M. OH how privileged I feel :)

So, with ellies off to bed time for me to say night night too and hit the sack, got to get some sleep and be ready for tomorrows adventure :) Night all xx


  1. Oh my word, you would have thought that by now, as I make my coffee in readiness to enjoy your day's adventures, I would grab a handful of tissues. Today's tears are not sad ones (ellie's trunk aside), but rather because of the pure wonderment at how so many magnificent creature have allowed you to share their home.

    Four metres from elephant peaceably sharing your water ....oh how very privileged you are. Leopard and baboons just sitting and allowing you to photograph them to your hearts content ....and indeed birds posing. I just cannot get over these wonderful experiences that you are having.

    Your day started so perfectly with the incredible sunrise over Mount Kenya and looks as though it got better and better. This is some amazing holiday you have invited us to accompany you on Treasure.....and I did have a big smile at you likening some scenery to that found in Scotland .....but actually, I can see the analogy.

    Love you loads treasure xxx ♥ ♥ ♥

  2. Oooh WoW - the sun rise start was wonderful and the bedtime Ellies are amazing. :-)
    Don't even get me started on litter !!!.... you should see my bloody Island here in Greece..... I could quite easily murder some people. They just don't give a sh%t !!!! Grrrrrrr

    I do love the photo of the Hog Bums though hee hee :-D

    IKE xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. wow wow wow Mimi! This is all incredible. I've never seen such pictures, other than in National Geographic Magazine. It is amazing that you are able to see this up close and personal. The leopard really touched me...that you were able to see such a fire animal and it looks so gentle and serene. Such a juxtaposition. The scenery is just beautiful. The waterfalls reminds me very much of Romania. This is an amazing jouney. Thank you so much for he travelogue. xox Samara


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