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I Dreamed Of Africa

The night noises had started to become familiar to us, and we slept much better on our second evening. Day Three started early yet again (and Bobby was more single-minded than ever, still determined to find the cats). By this point, I was completely spoiled to being awakened with delicious Kenyan coffee delivered straight to my bedside. It would be awesome if this tradition had continued here at home, but, alas, it did not. 😉
Nic and his crew managed to spot a leopard (ha! I crack myself up!), but by the time we got over there, she was gone. Bobby was none too pleased, but we still managed to press on. We headed over to the Samburu National Reserve, aka “Giraffic Park”, and met up with the friendliest elephants you’ll ever see.
One of the ladies passed so close that we could literally reach out and touch her. We shot some incredible video of a group of elephants just hanging out, and there was one that wasn’t too keen on letting us drive through; she kind of parked herself on the road for a minute before finally moving on to munch. We took our morning break on the banks of a bone-dry riverbed, and soon, the other Rover drove up and joined us. Now, at this point, I feel like I should explain something. There are (obviously) no bathrooms in the middle of the desert scrub, and our game drives typically lasted around 5 hours. Thankfully, our ever-thoughtful guides supply rolls of toilet paper in the Rover, but when nature calls, you just have to find a suitable bush. Thus far, I had managed to avoid this. I’m not prissy by any stretch of the imagination, but peeing in the middle of the African bush was certainly not high on my bucket list. Having said that, when you gotta go, you gotta go, so with said bush located, and with Kevin keeping an eye out for snakes (hello? Black mamba territory), I finally sucked it up. I know you’re so glad I shared that tidbit.
Business all taken care of, we enjoyed the last bit of cool morning while we watched monkeys play in the trees and the boys acting like monkeys by the Rovers.The Boys
When the sun started to bake us again, we climbed back in our trucks and headed the rest of the way through the reserve. We saw lots of gazelles, more antelope, several zebra and quite a few mini-busses all along the road. ZebraThe dust was kicking up again, and by the time we made it to the main gate of the park we were sufficiently filthy. We drove through Archers Post (a village), and were treated to our first glimpse into Samburu life. We saw lots of boma, a school, a church, and a few shops. Believe me when I tell you that it’s not anything at all like you imagine. Out of respect for the people, we did not take pictures, but it is definitely something that I’ll remember. Because it was overwhelmingly dusty, Bobby and Nic had a little treat up their sleeves. They brought us to a freshwater spring, and in we went. Well, kind of. The conversation went like this:

Nic and Bobby: “Kevin will do it”.
Kevin jumps in.
Dad: “If Kevin does it, I’m obligated to go, too”
Dad jumps in.
Katie: “If Dad goes, I go”
In goes Kate.
Dana and Me: “We’ll watch”.
Of COURSE we ended up jumping in! Dana executed a stunning cannonball, and we splashed around drinking Tuskers while a few local boys looked on and laughed at us.The Swimming Hole

The water was astonishingly clear, but there was an abundance of slick green algae along the bottom. It was great, however, to rinse at least a couple of layers of the dust off of us. Refreshed, we loaded up and headed back to camp, where Dana and I put together a pretty good facsimile of a bushwhacker. We then made the mistake of peeking at the menu to see what was in store for us for lunch. Let’s just say it was a good thing Kevin had taken his heart meds, because I think the shock might have been too much for him otherwise. Yes, that’s right….Way over on the far side of the world, removed from everything familiar, we had TACOS. Dana made margaritas, and while the Americans thought they were tasty, Bobby and Nic looked like they had swallowed rocket fuel, and I’m pretty sure they slept it off in the afternoon.

We set out on our evening game drive, intent on stopping by a dead elephant we had spotted earlier. The game wardens had already been in and taken the tusks, but the elephant was still pretty freshly dead. The hyenas had not yet had their way, so the circling vultures were having very little luck pecking through the tough hide. A few were watching and waiting patiently in the trees, but it didn’t look like they were going to be making a meal of the elephant any time soon.Vulture
We were treated to a parade of elephants on their way down to the river for a bath, and we watched in astonishment as they just. Kept. COMING. There were twenty-four in all, and what a sight to see: Mommies and babies making their ways down the bank and kneeling in the river, splashing around and generally having a good time. We sat and watched them for a good 15 minutes, and we shot video of the whole event. We didn’t really want to move on, but Bobby was twitchy again.
Our drive this night was short, and with no lion sightings to speak of, we headed back to Booze Hill for one last sundowner in Samburuland. To torment Bobby (which was quickly becoming a favorite past-time), Kevin played “Wondering Where the Lions Are”, which almost drove him over the edge. Meanwhile, Lepeta and Robert were fascinated by my iPod; it was the first time Robert had seen one, and I cued up “Madagascar” and let him watch. Even though he spoke no English, he *loved* watching the movie, and he was still watching when we climbed back into the Rovers and headed back to camp.Robert and the iPod
It was hard to believe it was our last day in Buffalo Springs; harder still to imagine that there were bigger things in store for us. We had acclimated to Kenya in a way we never thought possible; something about her spoke to us on an elemental level, we felt an almost primal pull, and she sparked a recognition deep in our souls. Northern Kenya is a hard and beautiful place, and it was an excellent starting point for our adventure. We had fallen in love with Africa in a matter of days, and, that evening, watching the vultures take flight in the distance (having given up on their elephant), we felt ourselves melt into her, and she quietly welcomed us home. Vultures at Sunset

One Response to “I Dreamed Of Africa”

  1. Kevin Donahue Says:

    The most touching thing on this day were the tracks of elephants around the dead elly. Elephants are incredibly emotional animals and they had all come by to pay their respects. It was just an incredibly moving thing to experience.

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