Safari Kenya

Trip Start Jul 13, 2006
Trip End Jul 06, 2007

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Remember The Mutual of Omaha Wildlife Kingdom TV show with Marlin Perkins and I believe his name was Jim (the guy who wrestled crocodiles)... now it was our turn. Our most extravagant treat on this trip was to do a 12 day safari in Kenya. It was very exciting to spot all of the exotic animals and watch their behaviour. Incredibly as soon as we got into the safari van I noticed a piece of paper on the seat which was an itinerary for an around the world trip by another Calgary family who just happened to have the same guide.
Some of the highlights were being surrounded by 40 giraffes, close encounters with cheetah and watching 26 elephants wander across the valley. Quinn and I headed out for an early morning drive while the girls took a morning off. We were just about to start inventing some great sighting stories, because we hadn't seen much when we pulled up on a pride of 11 lions who were finishing off a wildebeast. The sound of crunching bone was amazing while one lion was eating. Another decided it was her turn to have some, but apparently there is quite an ettiquette to these things so all hell broke loose. There was a tremendous amount of roaring, gnashing of teeth and biting as the entire pride (except for the one who continued eating without interuption) turned on the offender. After that they took us to a buffet in the bush overlooking 34 hippo's where they had set up tables for us to eat breakfast. Another vehicle brought Deb and Chevy to eat. While we were tucking into our eggs the buffet table caught on fire when a cook was adding fuel to the stove. The cooks tried to put it out and then I noticed one cook running and his back was on fire. I got up and tried to put it out with my hands, but that didn't work so I grabbed him by the shoulders and wrestled him down onto his back. He started convulsing from the pain, but the flames were soon out. He was a little shocky, but fine. We joked after that we had better learn how to say STOP, DROP and ROLL in Swahili.
Things got really weird after that because the cook turned out to be the chief's son. They insisted I ride their elephant back to the lodge while the villagers laid palm fronds down on our path. The chief insisted I choose one of his 2 daughters. Actually, the last part isn't true... he had 3 daughters. (Actually in retrospect, I'm now thinking that everything after "things got really weird" may not be at all accurate, my recall was somewhat clouded by the surge of adrenaline at the time).
The other aspect of the safari that was fantastic was getting some insight into other cultures. We visited a Samburu and Maasai village. Their small, dark huts are built with cow dung which apparently helps to keep the mosquitoes away. 14 year old boys reach manhood with a circumsion ceremony in which they are not allowed to flinch or even curl their toes to show their courage. I'm thinking that may not be so easy.
We also visited some schools, in some classes the kids sat on the floor because they had no desks. Everywhere we went we saw donated books and schools built by Albertans. It's not unusual for kids here to ask for a pen, a sweet or some money, but at one school a kid asked me for water. The school had been without drinking water for 3 months. Our $50 donation was enough to pump water for a month. I was embarrased to go from there to our lodge where Quinn and I had a swimming pool to ourselves. What would that child have thought if he was to see us swimming in that sparkling water?
We booked our safari with Civilized Adventure, check out
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