Officially carnivores!

Trip Start May 25, 2003
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8
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Trip End Jun 07, 2003


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Thursday, June 5, 2003

6/5 Thursday

I didn't go for the morning drive today. Our surprise party last night precluded an evening shower so I enjoyed one this morning. The solitude and the extra hour of sleep are nice. Although the camp wakes up early- birds and people- so it was more of a dozing enjoyment of my warm bed. The shower was nice and warm too, but the tent hovered around 60, so I dressed quickly before scooting off to the lodge to dry my hair. After that, it's packing for the flight to Nairobi. We'll lunch there and then head out on the 3 hour drive north to Mt Kenya Safari Club. We expect to arrive just before dinner, so today is mostly travel. This is the wind down before the end. We'll have one more game drive tomorrow at Sweetwaters and that will be that!

We leave for the airstrip after 10- I thought were were supposed to leave about 9:30. Welcome to Africa time. The plane is a small 15-seater. It looked like nearly every seat was taken for the flight in to the Mara. For our flight out, it's just us folks plus Gregg, our balloon pilot making a run to Nairobi. We do a quick hop, skip and a jump and immediately land in Governors Camp to pick up a couple who had been on the balloon flight with us. The flight to Nairobi Wilson Field is only about 40 minutes. Our old friend Martin meets us along with Nanci from the Micato office. They schlep us all to the Carnivore restaurant for lunch where Jane Pinto, the owner of Micato, joins us. We all try the different meats that are mostly roasted on skewers. The impala meatballs are delicious. The ostrich isn't bad. The crocodile isn't very good. Then we all bundle into the van for the ride to Mt. Kenya Safari Club. We have one rest stop and arrive about 5pm.

The place is obviously old style great white hunter elegance. We have tea while Lewela sorts out the room assignments. Leah and I end up sharing cottage #1. This consists of a shared living room with fireplace and the bedrooms at opposite ends, each one with its own walk-in closet and bathroom. The shower/tub is recessed down 3 steps. It almost looks like a sauna. At the bottom is a rubber matting. I guess you stand there for a shower or sit for a bath. I'd like to see how high I can fill it up!

Leah and I have a great chat while we're getting dolled up for dinner. The meal is okay- somewhat pretentious- as are the prices for drinks. Leah and I again enjoy lounging in our living room with a nice fire and chatting before bed. One last drive in the morning. We sleep with our doors open to gain heat from the fireplace. Then I snuggle up to the hot water bottle. I'm getting a little too used to them.

6/6 Friday

Leah and I started out the day with continental breakfast in our living room. She woke me at 6:30, having forgotten that breakfast wouldn't be delivered until 7. She went for a walk while I showered. The hot water bottle wasn't as effective as in Kichwa Tembo. Possibly because this is a queen sized bed. The temperature on my clock showed 61 when I woke- not much warmer than the tent.

After our breakfast, Leah and I walked around the grounds, arriving back at the main building in time for the 8:30 departure. We had an easy drive to Sweetwaters. We visited the chimpanzee sanctuary first. A river cuts the sanctuary in half. They've placed the older, more aggressive chimps on one side and the younger on the other. They're now using birth control shots to manage breeding. We took a short boat trip down the river. The young chimps all came down to the river to see us, some hanging from trees. We then walked over to a guard tower that overlooks the older chimps' portion. They're surrounded by an electrified fence. Nearly all these chimps have very sad stories of being treated poorly before being confiscated and brought to the sanctuary.

We next went to see a portion of the game reserve where Morani lives. He is a tame black rhino. He was rescued at 6 months when his mother was killed by a poacher. He'd been raised at the animal orphanage. Their attempts at putting him back in to the wild were not successful. He liked people too much. Then he was castrated in a fight with another rhino, so he was brought back to Sweetwaters permanently. Now he's a major tourist attraction. We get to stand right next to him and touch his tough hide.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a weavers and spinners project in Nanyuki. This is a project for women to give them a trade, preparing yarn, including dying, and then weaving rugs and sweaters. It was a fascinating tour. Leah got the sweater she'd been hoping to purchase. We all got to pose at the equator sign.

Back at the hotel for a late lunch. Then shopping at the gift shop. Leah and I then settled into our living room until 4 when we went for a tour of the animal orphanage next to the hotel. There we saw some animals we hadn't seen in the wild, including a white rhino and a duiker plus some monkeys and bongos. Many were very friendly and we were able to hand feed them. Then back to relaxing in front of our fire until dinner time. After dinner, we'll have to pack up in preparation for the flight to Nairobi in the morning...and the last days of our trip.
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