October 24th, 2017
With our home in the heart of Nairobi National Park we have a number of friends and followers who are curious about where we go on our “holidays”, the assumption being that living in a national park is already a holiday in itself.
If we have the time, my passion for European history allied with a desire to make sure our children have a relationship with their genetic roots takes us to Europe. Paris is one of our absolute favorite places to go, as is London, but it is always interesting when you have two Kenyan savages in tow. They regard all humans as natural friends and allies, and are completely uninhibited with their opinions and questions, which are usually delivered at volume. But those are experiences to relate another day!
Most of our free time tends to drive us deep into the more remote parts of Kenya. Tsavo is a particular favorite, and we have a lot of family and friends based on the coast at Watamu, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. This month, we visited Manda Bay in Lamu. Despite all the horrendous ‘travel advisories’ urging us to stay away from this dangerous place, we gathered ourselves together in a large party of like-minded couples with children of all ages and braved Lamu, only to feel ashamed and disappointed that we had deprived ourselves of such a fabulous experience for so long.
One of the best parts of our time there is that we barely saw our children! Falling asleep with the ocean lapping at our front door, the incredible hospitality and great food, and the fact that the tribe of children were having a great time, fishing every day, sand dollar hunting, water skiing in wonderful warm, shallow water, star fishing – they were never bored. For the adults: a herd of buffalo next to the air strip, the sound of hyena in the night, sundowners against a spectacular sunset and some of the best fishing I have ever had was one of the many activities that we all got involved in. Being towed however on a tube behind the boat with our respective husbands on the wheel trying to throw us off is NOT something I wish to do again. The last time I was clutching a ski rope behind a boat was a good twenty years ago, tubing was even longer - and I do not recall it being a painful experience back then. Manda Bay is just a fantastic place to be and such a complete contrast to our busy life at the Emakoko - anyone pondering going there should just do it!
Back home again at the Emakoko we are delighted that the rains are finally here after months of drought which has pushed the wildlife in the park to the limit. Now, at last, there is a burgeoning of life both in the flora and fauna, and the only truly unhappy inhabitants are the big cats, who have been driven on to the roads by their dislike of walking through long, wet grass! I am happy – at least for this first time – to report getting stuck in the mud. I’m also very proud to report that I got myself out (my Rhino Charge skills coming to the fore) without any assistance and only a bent panel or two to show. Most people would avoid Kenya in November because of the rain, but for those of us who have lived through the agony of a drought and seen the desperation and decimation of the wild life, the revival and restoration of life under the incredible transformation brought by rain is a never-ending source of joy and relief. Everything is becoming green again and in my view, is a paradise for photographers. The evening sunsets are stunning, and the miracle of the dry, brown plains bursting with grass and a million wild flowers is a wonder worth any photographer’s time - photo credit to Gurchuran Roopra.
Finally, we end the week with the second round of our Presidential elections. For those of our readers who are not aware, the August elections were nullified by the Supreme Courts here in a breathtaking precedent throughout the African continent, where the ruling party’s victory was overturned on the grounds of election irregularities. Whilst those of us who are Kenyans and democratic were proud of our country beyond belief, the cost to the economy has been unimaginable.
Thursday there will be another vote, and we hope and pray the outcome will be positive and peaceful.
So pray for us if you believe this will help, or cross your fingers, or just wish us well, as we wish all Kenyans a safe and secure outcome. We look forward to the re-appearance of #githeriman.....