Monday, 19 October 2009

I Wonder If I will See ...

I am about to embark on my fourth trip to Kenya since September 2007. The previous trips all lasted about a month as will this one. But during all these trips, I haven't seen a wild animal close up.

That's not quite true. on my first trip, I was driving from Nairobi to Kisii, via Nakuru, and while on the floor of the Rift Valley, a small herd of zebra weaved is way through the almost stationary traffic, passing immediately in front of us. There were also  a few baboons sitting on the rocks at the side of the road, watching us go by.

On my second trip, travelling from Kisii to Nairobi by matatu, I saw, in the distance, a herd of giraffe mingling with a herd of goats, tended by a very small (Maasai?) boy. He looked very small against the giraffe.

Other than that, I have seen lizards scampering across the walls of every home I have stayed in, the largest cockroaches in the world (probably), and a centipede as think as my little finger.

In Kisii, close to the  house, there are a lot of raptor birds who nest along the river. They are good to watch, but when they are the only wildlife to be seen for a couple of weeks, the novelty wears off.

While staying at the coast, I saw a hedgehog wandering around the compound in broad daylight. The kids were delighted until they realised that it could not be stroked!

So this time, will I actually see what Kenya is famous for? A lion, or rhino, perhaps a hippo, an elephant, or my personal favourite cat, a cheetah would be nice.

It would make a change from the goats, cattle, chickens and dogs that roam in, around and through every town and village.

When I was in South Africa, twenty years ago (OMG, was it that long ago?), I visited two game parks regularly, as well as the Sandton Lion Park and a reptile park, not too far from home. I made the most of my stay there. I was licked by a giraffe, charged at by a rhino, and hissed at by a puff adder.

(Note: I don't recommend the being charged at by a rhino experience. It was bigger than our car.)

So, I think it is about time I experienced some of the animals of Kenya that aren't found sharing my bedroom / compound / shoes / food, or that aren't destined to become my dinner one day.

We'll see.

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