After our Global Village build was complete, I took a couple of days for siteseeing (since I didn’t know when I would be in Kenya again). I stayed at Ololo Lodge in the national park in Nairobi. Staying in the park was great – early morning and late afternoon game drives with no other cars around were a rare treat. And I was lucky enough to be by myself on all my drives – no other passengers. (I got totally spoiled). And one morning this lovely girl lay down on the road in front us, so we had to just stay where we were and enjoy.
On one of our drives, Sylvester and I came across these two teenagers. We had them all to ourselves in the quiet as they grazed. I kept expecting to be inundated with other sightseers but no one found us. We just sat there with them for about 40 minutes. It was incredibly peaceful but it also made me sad to think that if we don’t do something soon, people won’t have the opportunity for very much longer. And that would be a shame.
As we drove back, we ran into the rangers that are tasked with staying in the park overnight and keeping watch over the rhinos and protecting them from poachers. It is an incredibly dangerous job, and they don’t make nearly enough. But the people who do it think it’s important. And I’m glad they do.
I have mentioned that Ololo Lodge is inside Nairobi National Park, and it’s hard to convey how incredible the views are except to share that this was my table for breakfast and lunch. I even had a monkey visitor. (He wanted to see what was in the bottles on the table.) Aside from the fantastic food (much of it grown on site in their own gardens), the view included buffalo, baboons, giraffes, and even a couple of lions in the evening. I wish I could have stayed longer, and it is definitely on my list to return to.
One of the best parts about staying at Ololo Lodge inside Narirobi National Park was being able to stay in the park a little later since we didn’t have to make our way back to the main gate at the end of the day. On our afternoon drive, Sylvester and I had finally given up hope. “No lions today,” he said, turning back toward the lodge. Just as it turned to twilight, we saw two lioness stretching and getting ready for their evening work of hunting. And the zebras knew it too as they headed for the road to get a smoother path to escape.
Our driver and guide in Kenya, Saidi, is also a bird watcher. We both had our binoculars and he had his guide book. (I didn’t realize before that bringing your own binoculars marks you as a bird person, but now I know). We were driving through Ruma National Park and suddenly Saidi hit the brakes to point out the Crowned Cranes to me. We’d seen a bunch feeding a day earlier, but much further back from the road, and these were much closer. I waited until they were close enough to get them both in the picture together and got this shot. Then he said almost to himself, “Now where did those giraffes go?” That’s when I thought everyone else in the jeep was going to kill us both.