From Diary 1 we
now head out over the savannah.
Day 5. Hanne fetches me during breakfast; she has seen parrots in the camp trees. Rushes out and sees two red-faced parrots playing in the tree crowns. In the tree next to it sits a small hornbilled-bird. Departure at 8am. Asking at reception what a room costs (I could spend a week here). 2250 kroner per night! (or else I couldn't).
We drive through huge wheat fields, this is farmland owned by whites. When England liberated the colony, and a black government came, whites were thrown out, fired and hated. Now the mood has changed. The natives know that if they want impeccable and competent leadership, they must have whites in the posts. Bit sad, but it might change over the years.
After the wheat fields, come hills with sheep
that do not leave New Zealand much left. Mount Kenya appears
on the horizon, the snow is seen through the light mist.
These long stretches of road are like high
speed (80 Km / h) game drives. On this tour we see, among other
things, velvet monkeys. Stop at a shop with very beautiful wood
carvings and toilet and tea.
Now there are no more Grevy zebras, they are
replaced by ordinary ones, who have much wider stripes. The giraffes
are now the largest; Net giraffes, which reach 6.5 meters.
We arrive at Samburu Safari Lodge at 13. Directly for lunch, interrupted by great dancers and an elephant herd. A very beautiful lodge, located in the middle of a forest. Here are monkeys, rhinoceros, magpies and much more. At the buffet stands a Maasai warrior in full ornaments. His job is to keep birds and monkeys off the roof — even the tables.
As we eat, I see gray-headed thorn magpie, van
der Deche hornbilled bird, green guenons (monkeys). A walk in the
bush adds; Rufus throttle, riel, black-breasted bustard ,
green-spotted agama, vulture-headed guinea fowl, baboons, spotted
woodpecker and white-breasted kingfisher.
I manage to find the plant, and I pinch two
shots. Not for being greedy, but for Berit not to nick mine.
Above a small group of common waterbuck, two white-backed vultures throne in the crown of the tree. We stop in a big clearing to see about 50 elephants. There seem to be two groups meeting. They are a few minor strength tests, and a lot of trut-trut. It actually sounds fucking cool!
In a very large kapok tree, a Martial Eagle sits next to a Tawny Eagle. Impressive couple. In the short sun-scorched grass under the tree, a spotted beard bird and a large herd of amaranths search for insects and seeds. A small flock of black-headed desert quales join the company, while a golden pipe prefers the bushes in whose thin branches the white-haired buffalo weaver has its delicate nests.
We are back in the lodge at 6.30 pm. It's
gotten dark, and despite that, it's just the time when the
crocodiles are fed, I gamble, and take a shower. The friendly
animals do not show up until most of the spectators have left, and I
am newly washed. They engulf the butchers' waste and slide off
again. We go up and eat. Someone is having a birthday and the entire
restaurant staff is comming out with a cake while singing some
Kenyan songs. Nice, and almost touching.
Down by the river is a giant crocodile on the
shore, probably one of those that only eats just a few wildebeest a
year. Suddenly, a giant male elephant is ermerges from the forest,
right between our cars. It disappears into the forest on the other
side, just as quickly. I sit and think: It looked like an elephant,
There are some of our company who would like to greet the natives, so we drive out to a place of residence that works, as they always have. That is to say; since the Maasai came from the Nile Delta in the 18th century. It is a Samburon tribe we visit in their round village, which is surrounded by a high wall of acacia. Every man has his entrance, every one of his wives; their house. Her children live with her, in the cowshed-covered house. A skeleton is made of linked branches, twigs are tied on, and the rye bread-shaped house is polished with kneaded cow dung. It provides good insulation.
We get into one, and to my great astonishment,
there are more rooms. The beds are twigs with a sun-dried skin on,
hard as a board.
After lunch, we drive out to a new area. We see the first sausage trees, some francolins, a spotted owl, black flycatcher, ash catfish, African hawk owl, great kudu, auger buzzard, and a lone lioness sneaking past our stopped car.
In a beautiful clearing between succulent
green bushes, the dense short grass is seeded, and 500
vulture-headed- and helmeted guinea fowl walk between the legs of
gazelles and giraffes.
The long game runs in the dry, dusty landscape
can be felt both inside and outside the body. Jesper has not soil
but sand in his head, he claims it is quicksand.
We get out of the cars up on a large hill,
which gives a magnificent view of the whole valley. A Somali
beeeater is looking for food in some bushes, and we drive home to
A dip in the pool and I'm ready for lunch.
Being pressured to attend a dance performance (I wouldn't want the
others to experience more than me), and then the afternoon game
Inside the park, we first drive up to the springs. One is fenced to provide clean water to the small village of the rangers. In the lake, a couple of large swamp turtles swim around. We can swim in one of the other lakes, but the powerful algae appearance does not seem inviting.
We continue through the park, and see
white-tailed starlings and silver (or black-backed) jackals and
Somali (or blue-legged) ostriches, which live only in this park.
A green-backed heron catches small fish at the
edge of a watering hole, while Grant's gazelles and impalas drink.
We move slowly up the highlands at the foot of
Mount Kenya. We pass large fields that are completely covered
with plastic greenhouses. Here beautiful cut flowers are grown for
After an hour's drive, we are at the "Ark" itself: a large building, which is accessed by a long, and very high "boardwalk". The house itself is shaped like biblical depictions of the ark. Inside it is also reminiscent of a ship, with cabins along the outer walls. Like all places, Hanne's company gets the best rooms. The view from ours is indescribable. A large lake with a wealth of plants and animals, ranging from frogs to elephants, just 20 meters away.
We are in the Abadere Mountains, 2500
meters above sea level. The ark lies at the bottom of a wooded
ravine. There are open, covered and enclosed terraces, which provide
great views of the lake and salt-licked.
Back in the ark, we sit on one of the open terraces and watch a bunch of elephants eat salty soil. Buffalo and writing antelopes are reverently kept at a distance. At the shore of the lake, I see hammerhead herons, coots, top deer, Nile geese and some waders. As darkness breaks out, the large spotted genet, white-tailed deer and bats emerge.
A waiter walks around and gentle hit on a
xylophone: Dinner is served! We suddenly discover an elephant 5
meters from the restaurant's large panoramic windows. It stands
unaffected and mumbles in the illuminated bushes.
I have the 1st row, but it disappears quickly again, probably because of the elephants that still dominate the watering hole. We set out on one of the open terraces, so we can also hear the sounds of the night: deciduous frogs, cicadas, bats, elephant trout and lion roar in the distance. I pick up some blankets, but it is cold and the enclosed terrace empties at 22 o'clock.
Line is wrapped in blankets, out on the open terrace. As two white-tailed deer come up and peak, right below her, it sounds a lot like a feline fight. It is followed by a bump and a swaring from a ragged Line, which rolls around the carpet and furniture.
People come here at 17, spend a night here for
2500 kroner, get breakfast and drive between 8 and 9 - and then they
go to bed at 22-23 !?
Before Jesper and Morten go to bed, a lone spotted hyena appears in the woods, but disappears quickly. There are animals in the large lit area at all times. Buffalo flocks, elephant families, writing antelopes and a crazy black rhino. It repeatedly tries to chase the buffalo away, but they almost ignore it, until a young calf chases it away.
Later, the elephants try to chase the buffalo
away. It completely fails, until a small elephant pup gets in the
buffalo herd. Meanwhile, a large buffalo bull made a long stripe on
an elephant, that was not fast enough.
Jesper was standing at one point photographing
out of an opening, when a gene jumped up into the hole. They bounces
each their way, very quickly.
At one point, a completely black genet pops up
in the windowsill, Hanne must know what it is for one. It is as
lovely as its striped and spotted cousin. (She would very much like
to see it. It was a rare rare Melanestic Genet; she has never seen