September 9th, 2017
A lot has gone on in Kenya and at The Emkaoko over the last few weeks. We have had the country’s General Elections, lions in camp, leopard in camp, rhino in camp, buffalo in camp and then election results officially nullified. It has been quite the rollercoaster and I am pleased to report that we are all alive and well and incredibly proud to be a part of this amazing country as it redefines itself in terms of democracy. Only four countries in the world, and none in Africa, have had election results overturned, quite justifiably, by it’s own Supreme court which was itself appointed by the party in power. Kenyan people turned out in their millions to vote, stood patiently and uncomplainingly for hours in the blazing sun, and in the end were betrayed by the officials who’s sworn duty was to report the results accurately. The election will be run again on 17th October and we would ask all the friends of Kenya to wish us well in this remarkable endeavor to give to the Kenyan people what they deserve – a democracy achieved through conducting a fair and honest election, with peace throughout the land whatever the result.
We are in (hopefully) the last few days of a drought which has gripped the country, affecting drastically both wildlife and livestock all over Kenya. It appears that the tide is beginning to turn and there is finally rain on the horizon. During the dry seasons, The Emakoko wildlife residents double, attracted by the rich grass around our lodge, and we have had not only a black Rhino in here every day, but now two more who like to hang out beside Room 1 and down by the river. Along with these endangered creatures are the ‘buffalo old gentlemen’ who like the men’s bar at the Muthaiga Club meet every evening for a drink. They are old and grumpy, their huge horns hanging low on their heads. One of these old boys, no less dangerous despite his age and now aptly named “B52", has decided that our home is the best place to be and we, along with the staff and our children, are on ‘red alert’ between 7am and 7pm when he is on the rampage, charging trees and eating what grass has been left by the horses. It has turned into an assault course, and after a night's work it really is a challenge to try and creep off to bed without being seen and chased by this extremely disagreeable old fellow.
Speaking of challenges, if you do survive the wrath of B52 we now have our Funicular Staircase in place - 123 steps in total, designed to run alongside the mechanical lift which we hope to install soon. The climbing record has now been set by Jackson, one of our waiters at 14.5 seconds. The best youngest time is by Harrison Scott, a guest aged 13, in 19.5 seconds. My mother, who is 73, can do it in just under three minutes and probably faster if she didn’t have a quadruple gin to help her on her way!
On the local community side of things, we have managed to get our Trampoline up again and have had the “mini-Masai” young over all day, every day, during the school holidays. I am pleased to say that William and Kagooo can now do a forward somersault without breaking anything. Even our local Chief, a most dignified gentlemen, could not resist having a go and was absolutely enchanted with the height he achieved. It was a magnificent spectacle, and I think it will not be long before Trampolines become a big part of Masai culture here in The Emakoko community.
Chris Galvin, a wonderful repeat guest of ours also paid us a visit last month to donate some binoculars to the Rhino Units in the park. The KWS (Kenya Wildlife Services) have done an amazing job with Nairobi National park and over the past three weeks have embarked on a Rhino ear-notching program for identification. It was quite spectacular watching the teams with the help of a helicopter dart, notch and record each Rhino with great professionalism.
So fingers crossed for some rain over the next few days and when I write again it will hopefully be (although I do not really mean this) about raging torrents!