Warriors in a wild world

KENYA: Wildlife, white beaches and won­der­ful peo­ple – all ex­pe­ri­enced by Sheron Boyle and her fam­ily on their sa­fari hol­i­day.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Travel -

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

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