|Mythical Africa - where elephant and zebra, lion, gazelle and cheetahs play!|
What is the attraction of "going away" for a honeymoon? What do we look for - is it luxury or solitude, a place where no one knows our name? What do we expect to find there, similarities or differences, something to take us forward, or one day look back on? To find yourself amid strangers? Or to find yourself and the person you have recently committed to? Thirty years ago, just married, we chose Kenya. It was my first real vacation in a few years, but for the groom, it was the opportunity to share an adventure in Africa where he grew up. Via France and Italy, we entered Kenya: a new place for me, a coming home for him.
|Ranji as a teenager, in a Masai village|
Mini-safari: On Tuesday (October 12, 1982), we left Nairobi at 9 am. Adrienne's car loaded with camping equipment, tent and toiletries. Coffee, milk, bread, sugar, salt, gas, matches, batteries, sweets, from my scant diary of that day. Stopped in Narok - a town in transition from old Maasai cattle collective to modern village. Many tourists. Arrived Keekorok at 1pm, over un-tarmacked roads. Lunch was a cold buffet. Animals seen: deer, giraffe, elephant, lion, zebra and ostrich.
|One of the many deer species in Kenya|
|Wildebeest on migration|
|Family groups traverse the Mara plains.|
|Sleeping lions the colour of the grass|
|Simba keeps watch|
Peeping out of the tent next morning - with a plan to sprint the hundred yards to where the car was parked - we saw water buffalo and beautiful sunshine. Coffee on an open fire is the best. No bathroom but the bush, we headed back to Keekorok to wash in their restrooms. Lunch at the Keekorok canteen was goat, cabbage and potato - a formula for farts.
|Waking up on Sand River, Masai Mara|
From Keekorok, we took a heading to Mara Serena. Driving fast on a very boggy road did nothing good for the car. Animals seen: rabbit, warthog, hippopotamus, hyena, jackal, baboon. Mara Serena looks out over the plains from a hill; but there was no room for us. Kichwa Tembo (which means head of an elephant) had no room. We were sent on to Mara Sara where the lodge was empty but closed. We could however camp on the bank of the Mara river within the compound.
By the next day, the knocking of the shock on the left rear end could not be ignored. A noisy ride to Kichwa Tembo found a bush mechanic. By mid-morning we were on the road to Lolgorien over the Oloololo escarpment where giraffes and gazelles darted across the rocky road. At times, it felt like the car was picking its way from rock to rock; not surprised at the flat tyre at the top of the scarp. After lunch in Migori, it was on to Rongo where we picked up a policeman heading to Homa Bay.
|Rest stop at Homa Bay|
|Masai Mara sculpture|
Saturday on the Ngong Hills was cold and breezy. And this haiku: the great rift valley of Africa, drift, rift, divide, deep rift, river ...
From the Kenyan plateau, we headed to the coast, the ancient port of Mombasa and magical offshore island of Lamu.
It's a little amazing in hindsight that we could have set out on life's adventure with so little planning and no reservations.
|Early morning on the bank of the Mara River - no bathing, but stories of a hippo that bit a man in two|