Samburu and Buffalo Springs
- Hot showers: 0, which is actually
good due to heat
Carnivores (spotted): 2
Rolls of film used: 3, 2 of spotted carnivores
Monkey-infested trees: 2
CHUI! CHUI! CHUI! (or, to be strictly accurate, CHUI! CHUI!)
After two days of Western luxury and indulgence, the realities of living in a developing country were brought home abruptly this morning. Our marvelous guide, Peter, was informed that his house burned to the ground destroying all his possessions. No insurance, no fire station, no water main. Nothing was saved. With tears and affection, we send him home to Nairobi. What can you possibly say?
Adding to the chaos is the Vice-Presidential party, which was leaving in a motorcade of Benzes and intimidating-looking guards. While we would have loved some photos of the hotel, it didn't quite seem worth annoying the entourage. We stop in Nanyuki to visit a bank and a chemist, as we will be far from such civilized amenities as a Barclay's branch for the rest of our trip. Michael spots a marvelous storefront sign: "FAX. Email. Surgery." What a choice.
It is a hot day, as the clouds have finally cleared. We head for the northeast of Kenya, toward Somalia. This is more like a true desert, dry and hot and sandy. We arrive at our next campsite in the early afternoon. The camp is on a riverbank, a lovely if busy spot. Goats and camels are herded to the water to drink all day long, their bells clanging in the still air. Vervets in the trees chatter and threaten to make off with whatever they find outside a tent.
Our afternoon game drive is very eventful, highlighted by the appearance of an actual leopard! We came upon a large female leopard lounging on a tree branch not 50 yards from a lodge. She seemed lethargic, but I strongly suspect a sundown raid was being planned. A pair of professional photographers were staking her out with lenses larger than the actual leopard. We take delighted and no doubt horribly amateurish photos of a very bored leopard. The pros ignore us as we waste film. As we drive away, we spot a second leopard running across the path and into the bush. We decide to drive around this little patch of scrub, hoping to flush it out. Finally we spot it sitting in the midst of the grass, watching a very nervous dikdik. We waited for a while, hoping for a bit of action, but it obviously wasn't yet dinnertime. This did result in my very favorite photo from the trip, which now hangs on my office wall and makes interviewing candidates nervous. The leopard does look rather fierce.