“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Day 4 - Wednesday's hangover and hailstorm

Ok on account of the camp manager, Tanyth, staying up drinking with us until the early hours, we were woken up at 545am by Daniel bringing our coffee as usual - Tanyth had completely forgotten to cancel him to allow us a lie-in!!! in a very grumpy panic I suggested to Caroline that maybe Tanyth had also forgotten to tell George and we were both therefore worried that he would be by his truck waiting for us at 615 - this called for our first use of the in-tent emergency walkie talkie - which I'm guessing Sean wasn't too chuffed about, but we just had to check George had been told. Sorry Sean!
We went back to sleep til 715am and thankfully found our coffee still hot in its little flask. We then had the most perfect hangover breakfast in camp under the trees at 830am - baked beans on toast with cheese and marmite - those Masai chefs are so obliging. We said our sad goodbyes to the camp managers and staff and set off for our second destination: Kicheche "Bush camp", across open plains, passing a Maasai village and school, and arriving around 1130am to another cracking welcome from Darren and Emma, the permanent camp managers from Leicester who have been living in Kenya for over 10 years. Unfortunately it wasn't until an hour later that I realised George had driven off with my well-traveled and well-annotated wildlife guide drying on the roof of his truck - oops.
After the obligatory welcome drinks and rundown of the camp rules, we were shown to our tent - Tumbili (monkey), which lucky for us was the closest to the mess tent, and absolutely huge, not to mention stunning.
Come 4pm, we were introduced to our new guide, Charles, who was not Masai, but Kikuyu, and had a reputation as the best guide in camp - something we later came to learn was 100% fact. We also met our two new truck mates, Jennifer and Samantha, from New York. If I remember correctly, Jennifer is some kind of teacher and Samantha a professional dog trainer. Both a little bit mad, but both great game drive companions despite not being fellow photographers. They seemed more than happy to spend time observing the same animals for hours instead of moving on after 10 minutes - they thankfully were a long way from the typical "list-tickers" most non-photographers are when on safari.
Our first game drive with them from Bush camp started with an incredible storm... a hail storm in fact. Bizarre. But one during which I spent a long and very frustrating time trying to capture a male lion shaking his soaking wet mane. After a number of failed attempts and then an unknown error message appearing on the camera I finally got the best chance I was going to get; - poised in position with the lens poking through a small gap in the plastic side windows, the rain lashing down, and backache from crouching in the truck for almost 2 hours in the same position, the lion
shook, and I shot - at exactly the same moment the female who was lying in front of him decided it was time to stretch her legs.... BLOODY HELL! better luck next time.
As the rain slowed, we left the mating lions and went for "sundowners" with wildebeeste and more lions elsewhere then drove back watching the lightning crack across the sky. When we returned to camp, the weather had proved destructive as we learned some of the tent poles had been bent and the power had been out for hours. A paraffin lamp had been placed outside our tent and dinner was to be served at 8pm as usual. Shortly after arriving back in our tent for bucket showers, the power temporarily came on thanks to some clever redirection of the generator. So so tired, hungry, and still slightly hungover, that we almost fell asleep at the dinner table.  We were both in bed and sleeping by 10pm.

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