Setting the tone right from the start
Delightfully trigger-happy with the shutter buttons, we drove to House in the Wild with a smile on our faces and Norman’s underpants on his head, setting a new trend in sunhat wear. After a very warm welcome from the lovely staff, our rooms were divvied out, with Alan and I consigned to a twin snoring chamber. Just as well for the rest of the group, who were spread around the rooms in the grounds away from the inevitable cacophony. The accommodation comprises a number of permanent huts with either fixed doors, or tented fronts. I loved the rustic bathroom and shower in our room: an outdoor shower under the stars with hot water was a delightful luxury after a warm day out on the plains. All beds have mosquito nets and duvets for the cool nights. There are a bunch more photos of House in the Wild here.
This is a probably a good point to say that I don’t really do heat very well. But that’s ok in Kenya, as I’ll explain. I was born in New Guinea where I really should be used to tropical humid heat, but I’ve never been good at that sort of climate. I went to Costa Rica a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the wildlife, but the humidity just about did me in. The good thing about Kenya is that, even though it’s more or less on the Equator, the altitude of the plateau makes the temperatures in the mid 20s celsius. Halleluja! Rather like we’d love to get on a regular basis in the UK for our summers. Dream on Kaleel…
Anyway, back to the safari. Once we’d settled in to our rooms and had some lunch under the shade of the trees next to the river, we headed out on our first proper game drive. There was the usual cast of thousands including gazelles, antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, ostriches and giraffes, but what made the end of the drive so special was to come across a lioness and her three cubs chilling out before an evening hunt. When we arrived at the pile of lions they were sleepy and relaxed. As dusk settled in, they became noticeably more alert: the cubs played with each other and started tearing around after each other. One even jumped on the lioness’ head! Eventually, their mother started to move off into the dark to hunt, calling after them to follow and they disappeared into the gloom.
As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, in the distance a procession of silhouetted giraffes sauntered across the horizon as we had sun-downers: beers and soft drinks whilst watching the sun sink onto the horizon. The chatter round the evening’s camp fire was excitable to say the least. Here are a few shots from that magical first evening.
Come and join us on 2016’s Kenya photo safari!
Part 2 of the blog is here.