Warriors in a wild world
KENYA: Wildlife, white beaches and wonderful people – all experienced by Sheron Boyle and her family on their safari holiday.
E chose a Kenyan safari and beach holiday simply because my twin teenage sons love animals and, having been left some money by their late grandparents, we knew they would have got pleasure out of the boys enjoying such an adventure.
However, we didn’t realise that they were going to come face-to-face with wildlife even before I could say Daktari! Settling into our Kenya Airlines flight to Nairobi, my sons were tucking into their meal when Joseph held up the plastic container holding a side salad. “Look, Mum, a dead slug.” In fairness to the airline, they promptly apologised and offered $100 to spend on the return flight duty free.
And so that was the first of many surprises – shocking and exhilarating on our 12-day safari and beach holiday, which began on a strip of shrub land with zebra and water buffalo casually roaming alongside.
Disembarking the small plane we’d taken from Nairoba to the Masai Mara we were met by Nixon, our guide for a three-day stay at Kilima Camp, who bundled our cases into the four wheel drive Jeep which I came to dub the Bone Rattler Express.
The camp is based 1,500ft above sea level and has a stunning outlook. The Mara River winds through acres of savannah and as far as the eye can see are the sweeping Great Rift plains of Kenya’s most famous national park.
Early that evening we ventured on our first safari. It was a delight to watch my 13-year-old sons gaze in fascination as we came within 12ft of a lion and lioness rolling about in the grass, ignoring us with royal disdain as befits the animal world’s regal rulers.
I was advised to wrap up for safari trips but I couldn’t get my head round how it could be cold in Kenya. However, while we were near the Equator and it was hot in the day, by early evening the winds whipped up and it was as cool as an autumn evening in the UK.
Early starts and hours in the fresh warm air meant we were all ready for bed by 9pm and after delicious three-course meals we were led back to our spacious tents by a spear-carrying Masai guard.
The safari highlight was to witness the crossing of the wildebeest in their annual migration. As we drove along, Nixon eloquently said, “Look at them lined up – like a long pencil line.” And he was right – as far as my eye could see was a long line of wildebeest, queuing neatly in pairs.
We pulled onto the Mara River bank and luckily only had to wait about 20 minutes before the noise of 1,000 wildebeest hooves and their braying became increasingly loud. Suddenly, they ran down the bank and, amid the dust, they swam for their lives across the Mara. Except one didn’t make it – and we watched transfixed as a crocodile stealthily swam up and successfully snaffled its lunch.
I felt as if I was in a David Attenborough documentary. Time seemed to stand still, especially as we sat in the shade of an acacia tree and ate our packed lunch.
One of the best days of the holiday was when we took a nature tour with warrior Joshua, 26. He showed us the “tooth brush tree” where his tribespeople break off the branch, hone it to a point and clean their teeth with it. It does a great job as they all
We watched transfixed as a crocodile swam up and
snaffled its lunch.
seem to have faultless, pearly white molars – or that maybe just because they don’t eat junk food or drink fizzy pop as the nearest shop is a mere eight hour drive away!
Leaves from another tree are used to wipe across foreheads to get rid of headaches. Joshua showed my sons how to use a bow and arrow, explained how he is a warrior