Tag Archives: adventure travel

The Great Walk of Africa Day 9

What you don’t know won’t kill ya. Apparently that’s not the way in the bush. 

This morning I felt like Emily Blunt in the The Quiet Place movie.  The predators are out there….  There’s no Jaws movie music Da dant da dant da dant.  Not only have we taken the oath of silence so have the predators.  It’s a quiet killing grounds in Tsavo. The only things making noise are the harmless birds.  HA!!! The stuff I think about…..

Lots of game sightings today – zebras – elephants – gazelles…

Click to enlarge photos…

It was a peaceful day with no heart pumping events.

Until we were about to cross the Galana River back to camp. Toiko and Washii started into the water when a crocodile’s tail took a swing at their ankles. Both jumped back to the shore quicker than a Kenyan runner. Toiko minus a sandal. He returned to camp shoeless. Poor guy.  It will be a long time before the guys stop teasing him about this one.

The surface beneath our feet is a bit of a conundrum – harsh, dry, and barren like the surface of the moon and closer to the shore there’s beautiful fine white sand. There are a few springs of greenery sprouting.  Otherwise, food seems either non-existent or inedible.  How any animal forages and lives in this area is baffling

Look who tried to wander into camp. Yes. That’s Bill at our tent.

Hello Bill – do you see the elephant?

On our evening game drive we drove up to a male and female pair lounging in the sun.  Jokes about the manly lion ensued… To prove his virility the male jumped on the female. Big her in the shoulder and did his thing. Who’s king of the jungle now?

Tomorrow is our last day of walking and it will be a full day. We leave at our usual 7 am departure time and will not be returning until 6 pm…..

Hard to blog when the internet is sketchy….

Days 2, 3 and 4.

It’s remarkable to see how efficient the camp crew is.  Right after our evening showers the crew promptly dismantles them.  At breakfast time the tents are broken down. Last to go are the toilets and while we walk, the the rest of camp.

click on photos to enlarge…

It’s great fun arriving at a new location each day.

Now early evening game drives have been added to the agenda so showers end in the dark and headlamps guide our course.

One night we stopped to climb a humongous rock with unparalleled views only to find wine and beer waiting for us at the top.

Cocktails by the river are the perfect way to wind down the day.Acacia, baobab and doum palm trees dot the landscape.

At night the baboons like to jump around in the palms making it sound like a big rain storm.

Most likely it’s the acacia tree you think of in the quintessential Kenyan sunset photo with a tree and giraffes. They are often referred as an umbrella tree. However the long thorny bushes that we have been battling are another variety.  Weaver nests decorate many like ornaments.  We were told that female weaver birds chose the male bird who makes the best nest.  The males are known to build many nests to perfect their technique.

The baobab tree is called the upside down tree because their branches look like roots and the tree of life because 80% of their trunks are made of water. Bushmen use it as a source of water during droughts. They are huge and can live up to 1,500 years.

Also dotting the horizon are the might termite hills. This one is approximately 80 years. Part of the process in making a termite hill is to slowly devour a tree.

One could sit forever and watch elephant herds.  There is one matriarch who rules the family.  She is protective and mean when provoked.  Her responsibilities are huge.  She is responsible for the herd even down to whom is the best male suitor for the females. The bulls kowtow to her as well knowing she has the authority to kick bulls out of the herd.

Elephants can only see up to 40 feet away and use their trunks to smell danger.

Often times we’d see a lone female with a baby.  A sign that the baby can’t keep up with the herd and the protective mama breaks away. The odds of their survival greatly diminishes.

Herds of animals run past us – gazelles, zebras, dik diks and many more that remain nameless in my poor tiny brain.

 

 

First day walking the Great Walk of Africa

Our day starts with Jambo Jambo – the 6:00 am wake up call spoken by the man who fills our bowls with hot water every morning.

Hot coffee, tea and breakfast are waiting in the mess camp.Departure time is 7:00 am.

While we walk our campsite is completely broken down and set-up at a new location. Our laundry is washed as well.

Walking rules: Single file with no large gaps between us and don’t make a sound. The person who is at the front of the line is to rotate to the back every half hour or so. Don’t be kind to the people behind you by holding a branch to allow others to pass. Just move through it.

* click on photos to enlarge

Guarding us is Iain and five skilled Samburu bush men (wearing sandals made of tires), with weapons, as follows:

Iain – Rigby Ruger 416
Washii (he and Lajori switch places every other day) – spear and machete
Tioko – Rigby Ruger 416
We’re in between
Ekutan – Bruno 458
Lajori – spear machete
Lokori – Bruno 458

The red laterite-rich soil is uneven beneath our feet. The ground is stamped with hippos, elephants, lions and giraffes (many more) tracks.  Dung is everywhere.

I know it’s called “the bush” but better terminology might be “the thicket”,  “the brush” or “the bramble”.   It’s thick and unforgiving.After a half hour of moving branches and thick brambles out of my way I channeled Mohammad Ali and started dodging, weaving and ducking to avoid being pierced by long thorns.  It became quite fun and just when I started getting cocky I’d get slapped square in the face by a catapulted branch. Oh, to be humbled…

We had a challenging river gorge portion of the walk. Lots of rocks and sand with a steep drop to the river. A crocodiles refuge. It was challenging and rewarding and none of us fell in.

Iain had warned us about charging hippos and how dangerous they are. Our first big sighting of hippos were ahead in the river. I figured we saw them in the distance and that was good given their danger level. That’s not Iain’s attitude. We needed to see them up close and personal.  As long as we remained silent they wouldn’t know we were there. It was spectacular and scary.  Hippos forage at night. During the day they submerge themselves in the river to avoid the sun which burns their sensitive skin.  Often times you can’t see them in the water and then suddenly they pop up like a bobber after a fish has eaten your bait. Weighing about 3,000 pounds they can run remarkably fast. Certainly faster than humans.

Every hour or so there is a rest stop and potty break.  Out of caution we only go to the bathroom in the direction we came from and only a few feet away.

We stumbled upon a zebra carcass that Iain suspects was killed in the last week.  Notice how they left the legs untouched.

It was an invigorating day and animal sightings were plentiful. The mandatory vow of silence was not only for our safety but good for the soul.  Time passed quickly.

We finished walking around 12:30 pm. Just in time for a fabulous lunch.  Tea time at 4:00, hot showers at 5:30 followed by campfire cocktails and dinner.

Off to bed.  Rinse and repeat.